Tag Archives: Fleetwood Mac

10 Best Before They Die Concerts Of 2018: Neko Case Is #1

Suicidal Tendencies live in Toronto.

Suicidal Tendencies live in Toronto.

Those closest to me know I’ve been on a years long quest to see live performances from a meticulously curated list of musical legends and personal favourites “before they die.”

Said list, which has a 100 active acts on it at all times and is prioritized based on 1) how much I love an act, 2) how soon I think they’re going to die, and 3) how rarely they tour, has guided me on numerous adventures and (mis)adventures over the years. Mostly, though, it has allowed me to witness a lot of music greats doing musically great things.

For the first time ever, I’ve compiled my 10 best Before They Dies of the year. Here they are:

10) Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra @ Scotiabank Arena, August 18, 2018 (#52 on list)

Lynne isn’t exactly a dynamic frontman, but the band was excellent, the stage and light show was a trip and the music was undeniable, even though the setlist was surprisingly front-loaded. I had an alternating mix of “Showdown” and “Evil Woman” in my head for weeks after this. Always a good sign.

9) The Horrors @ Horseshoe Tavern, June 19, 2018 (#76 on the list)

One of the key things I’ve learned about The List over the years is that when an act from overseas is in town, you do your damnedest to make sure you go see them. Technically, there wasn’t all that much to “see” at The Horrors’ show — they’re mostly a bunch of Edward Scissorhand silhouettes swaying in low light obscured by fog machine smoke — but that made what was heard all the better. Live, there’s added nuance to the band’s lysergic goth rock, revealing itself in a bold synth line here, a guitar squelch there and in a vibe that makes you feel you’re experiencing masters of their craft.

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The Horrors!

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8) Fleetwood Mac @ Scotiabank Arena, November 5, 2018 (unrated)

I didn’t know I needed the Mac in my life. This, because as a Stevie Nicks devotee who had already seen Nicks solo and witnessed her sing “Rhiannon” I naively thought I had already experienced the best of the Mac. I was wrong. The best of the Mac might be when the band decided to reclaim their blues roots and perform the Peter Green-written “Black Magic Woman” with Nicks in full, glorious witch-rock mode. It’s an amazingly macabre look that I didn’t know Fleetwood Mac had in them and I’m completely turned around on them because of it.

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The Fleetwood party and dance band.

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7) Nick Cave @ Scotiabank Arena, October 28, 2018 (#93 on the list)

I get the Nick Cave devotion now. I mean, as a concept I’ve always thought Cave was cool, but his records never moved me all that deeply and the film he wrote (The Proposition) had probably affected me more than any song he’d ever sung. Seeing Cave live, though, is a far different experience. It’s like a Springsteen rock ‘n’ roll communion, except for sort of people who own complete Leonard Cohen poetry collections. Live, Cave’s an intuitive, showy, sleazy, Vegas-y, hearty and genuine showman who’s personal connection to his audience is amazing to behold. Also, the bold noise The Bad Seeds make feels like they’re subverting the whole idea of “arena” rock, which is delicious in its way.

6) Destroyer @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, January 22, 2018 (#103 on the list)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what it was — an eight-piece jazz/prog/lounge art freakout that featured Dan Bejar flanked by a saxophonist and trumpeter who took turns adding their own wig outs throughout the set. The set list was mainly the new album ken and Kaputt so I was pretty keen because those are the two best Destroyer albums. It was all around a totally rewarding night.

5) Frank Turner @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, September 20, 2018 (unrated)

There are a lot of acts out there trying to pull off the Springsteen working man rock thing. Unfortunately, most of them only rate as photocopies of photocopies of The Boss. Turner’s not like that. He’s got his own rock-punk posi-gospel thing going down and, paradoxically, because of that Turner’s show is probably the closest to a Springsteen-like musical sermon I’ve seen from the younger generation.

4) The Pursuit of Happiness @ Supermarket, October 4, 2018 (unrated)

In the last few years I’ve managed to catch a number of ’80s Can-Rock heroes (Northern Pikes, Crash Vegas, Slow) I had never listed because I never realistically thought there’d ever be a chance to see any of them ever play again. When TPOH got back together to play a show to support the reissue of their perfect Love Junk album I put on the rare (for me) industry hustle to get into the small club show. It worked and I got to witness some of my all-time favourites (“Consciousness Raising As A Social Tool,” “I’m An Adult Now,” “Beautiful White”).

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Consciousness raising as a social tool.

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3) Suicidal Tendencies @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, July 25, 2018 (#34 on the list)

This was supposed to be a fun nostalgia trip where I could celebrate listening to “Institutionalized” and “Possessed To Skate” some three decades ago, but it ended up being far more than that. It turns out I had internalized many of these thrash-punk-metal songs far more than I had ever realized. I hadn’t listened to songs like “You Can’t Bring Me Down” in almost 30 years, but the righteous rage behind them came right back.

2) John Mellencamp @ Meridian Centre, St. Catharines, October 7, 2018 (#6 on the list)

Pursuing this list over the years has given me a special kind of clarity about what I’m willing and not willing to do in order to see a desired show. Things like cost, whether it’s a seated or standing venue, the weather, and whether I’ve got other social obligations are just some of the factors that go into a decision-making stew to cross-reference against The List. For John Mellencamp I was willing to ruin Thanksgiving. Well, not my Thanksgiving, so much as my attendance at my in-law Thanksgiving, which I skipped in order to see the man formerly known as Cougar. And it was worth it. I cried like five times and was pretty choked a half-dozen others. All those songs I loved from the Scarecrow album still hit and still have all the gravitas of back when I first discovered them — “Minutes To Memories” was heavy, “Small Town” fucking killed… it was all hits with heart. Also, the new songs were soooo woke. It was probably the first and only time an audience of old white people from St. Catharines would ever be confronted with a song about Black Lives Matter and were forced to consider it. Same with issues like immigration and racism. Basically, Cougar came into this backwoods city and preached. Also, it’s remarkable now that I can see it more clearly how much the politics of a record like Scarecrow shaped my world/political/moral values some decades later. Shows like this are why The List exists.

1) Neko Case @ Danforth Music Hall, September 24, 2018 (#25 on the list)

Technically, I’ve seen Neko Case a number of times already, although all of those times have been as a member of The New Pornographers. Which is weird because I enjoy her solo work far more than the Pornos. That said, when I finally got to see Case on my birthday this year I wasn’t expecting to have it affect me as deeply as it did. What’s clear is that Neko is a glorious, unique voice and no matter what she was singing (this night’s setlist skipped handfuls of my personal faves) she has the ability to turn each song into magic. “Maybe Sparrow,” “Margaret vs Pauline,” “Deep Red Bells,” “Look For Me I’ll Be Around”… I just have to look at that list and I not only can remember how wonderful they were, I can almost feel them again. If that’s not a sign of having experienced something beyond, I don’t know what is.

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Stevie Nicks ‘In Your Dreams’: Fleetwood Mac Singer’s Doc Almost Foiled Due to Vanity

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

Toward the end of In Your Dreams, Stevie Nicks and Dave Stewart’s documentary about the making of their album of the same name which opened at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox last night, Stewart muses about the magic that he experienced in that year of writing and recording with the rock ‘n’ roll legend and his hopes that a piece of that comes across in the film.

“I hope it brought you a little closer to Stevie’s heart,” he says in his closing narration.

The film certainly lives up to Stewart’s expectations. The result of the producer and former Eurythmics member’s almost obsessive need to film and document everything in his life, In Your Dreams takes viewers deep into the year-long creative process behind Nicks’s 2011 album — her first solo release in over a decade — and just as deep into the heart of its co-writer and co-director.

With his omnipresent camera essentially becoming part of the gang, Stewart documents almost every detail of what happened from the time that Nicks asked him to produce her new album to the assembly of her band and crew (including superstar producer Glen Ballard and her Fleetwood Mac bandmates Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham) to the videos the crew made to accompany each song on the disc.

Obviously comfortable with her creative partner, Nicks opens up about almost everything. Her family, her early music history, her sometimes rocky history with Buckingham, and her current inspirations are all covered. She even waxes poetically on her love of the Twilight films, which were the inspiration for the song “Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream).”

“I was taken with this movie because what happened to Bella absolutely happened to me,” she says about Bella’s post-Edward heartbreak in New Moon.

The result of this intimate and open atmosphere is a documentary that actually does make you feel like you’re part of the action, as cliched as that phrase may be. And, as it turns out, the film was only really the opening act for people who attended one of the two screenings and Stevie Nicks Q&As last night. In the flesh, the rock star was even more personable and charming.

Clad in one of her trademark flowing outfits, Nicks amiably sauntered on stage after the screening, settled into her seat and started regaling the sold out crowd with a story about the genesis of the In Your Dreams film, and how her own personal insecurities almost destroyed the project before it even began.

Stewart, she explained, original brought up the idea of filming the whole process when he first agreed to produce the album for her. Nicks wasn’t big on the idea, as it stood in the way of all of dreams of recording and home and dressing as a complete slob.

“That means serious hair, makeup and clothes,” she said, in mock horror.

In the end, though, it was Running Down a Dream, the 2007 Tom Petty documentary, that convinced her to give the camera a shot.

“I remember the footage from Tom Petty’s very, very long four-hour documentary, which I personally loved, every minute of it,” she said. “But there was a part on the Traveling Wilburys that was so brilliant and it really showed the five of those guys like they were in the James Gang or something. And we got to see them for a half-hour really be who they were and just looking so handsome and playing this amazing music and then, within minutes, it seemed, two of them died. And if they hadn’t have done that, what a shame that would have been.”

This got her reevaluating her own priorities.

“What a shame it would be if you, Miss Vanity, said no to this because you don’t want to spend a half an hour doing makeup and picking a uniform,” she continued. “What if we come up with something that’s really great and we don’t film it? And then how are you going to feel a year after that? You’re going to go, ‘Wow, now you really can admit to the vanity of women because you lost out on something really brilliant.’ So I said ok.”

Soon, she said, her appearance wasn’t even on her mind.

“It’s amazing how easy the process becomes because of the people involved.”

Taking questions from the crowd, Nicks indulged the audience in questions about making the classic Fleetwood Mac album Rumours (“It wasn’t a very pleasant experience,” she quipped before embarking on a more philosophical reflection on the romance and the drama behind those days), and opening up about the death of her mother.

She also talked about how the promotion of In Your Dreams really forced her to adapt to the new realities of the music business. For someone who came of age in a wildly different music industry, it hasn’t always been an easy transition.

“The music business has turned to stone,” she said. “I can’t expect anyone to help me.”

She also pointed out that record companies just don’t have enough money to invest in bands for the long term anymore, using Fleetwood Mac’s post-Rumours career as an example.

“If it had been now and we had done Rumours and had that success and then we did Tusk, the double record from Africa? Warner Brothers would have said ‘Get out and take your African tusks with you!’ It’s such a different age now.”

Nicks credits her fans and their support or allowing her to tirelessly tour and promote In Your Dreams and help her make it the modern day music business success that it is. As such, she pointedly thanked those in attendance for their part in it.

“I’m not going to worry about record sales anymore and I’m not going to worry about what people think,” she said.

“Because what really matters is what I think, because if I’m thinking good and I’m thinking happy, then what I do is going to turn around and make you feel good. So we just bounce off of each other. I throw the dreams out there and you throw them back at me. And that’s how we make this together. This is not anything that is done by one person. It happens because we’re a team. And you’re my team. You are. I mean that.”

This story was originally published April 16, 2013 on Spinner.

 

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Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood Gets Photographic

Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac

Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac have recently welcomed Christine McVie back to their touring lineup. Titular head Mick Fleetwood has been making news for something different, however — his photographs.

The musician has apparently been taking photos for years and has been showing them off at galleries while on the Mac’s current tour.

Sarah spoke to him about it for Huffington Post Music Canada.

To read the story go here.

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Stevie Nicks’ ‘In Your Dreams’ Documentary Tracks Fleetwood Mac Singer Gone Solo

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

UPDATE: Because Spinner is RIP this full story can now be found here.

Fleetwood Mac recently performed in Toronto and by all accounts put on a pretty heartening show.

While she was in town Mac singer Stevie Nicks had a sideline agenda of sorts, heading down to the TIFF Lightbox theatre for a screening of her documentary In Your Dreams and a related Q&A.

Sarah was there and wrote about the whole thing for Spinner.

You can read about it by clicking here.

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Arkells Inspired By Fleetwood Mac

Arkells

Arkells

You guys remember the Arkells from that wicked song “Oh, The Boss Is Coming,” right?

Well, they’ve got a new album out called Michigan Left and it’s not so much about the working man Constantines rock of their past as it’s about them diggin’ the music of the ’80s. Specifically people like Fleetwood Mac.

Aaron talked to the Arkells about this for Spinner and you can read the resulting article by clicking here.

 

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