April 9th, 2013 11:51am

A Time Within A Time

Fleetwood Mac @ Madison Square Garden 4/8/2013
Second Hand News / The Chain / Dreams / Sad Angel / Rhiannon / Not That Funny / Tusk / Sisters of the Moon / Sara / Big Love / Landslide / Never Going Back Again / Without You / Gypsy / Eyes of the World / Gold Dust Woman / I’m So Afraid / Stand Back / Go Your Own Way // World Turning / Don’t Stop /// Silver Springs / Say Goodbye

1. It’s hard not to notice that Stevie Nicks’ voice has deteriorated a lot with age, but Lindsey Buckingham’s voice has maybe actually improved. Stevie has the natural star power, so she doesn’t have to work the audience as much as Lindsey, who seems far more eager to please. He’s a hammy guy with a huge amount of energy, and he throws everything he’s got into every song.

2. Lindsey is a fascinating figure to me because he subverts so many expectations of male rock stars – he isn’t macho, he isn’t androgynous, he isn’t aloof, he isn’t glamorous, he isn’t some walking riddle. He doesn’t map on to any archetype, though he’s got some things in common with contemporaries like Jackson Browne and James Taylor. He’s an obvious control freak who has written some of the most passive-aggressive music I have ever encountered, and that may sound like a diss, but it’s not. Lindsey’s songs are powerful because he’s always trying to negotiate his way through romantic problems because he’s such a big believer in LOVE, and respects his partner too much to not make everything a dialogue.

Fleetwood Mac “Say Goodbye”

3. Fleetwood Mac are all about selling you on their story. The newer or more obscure songs in this set were introduced in the context of Stevie and Lindsey’s grand romance, which ended nearly 40 years ago. This has been a big part of their show for years, and it’s sorta fascinating to watch them play out these very rehearsed sentimental moments sprinkled through the set. The one that rang most true was at the end, as Lindsey introduced the Say You Will song “Say Goodbye” as a number about finding closure with Stevie after many, many years. It’s a pensive acoustic ballad, more like his recent solo work than classic Mac, and while the sentiment is very direct, its emotions are as tangled as its busy arpeggiated notes. Most people break up and move on. But imagine having to form an even closer connection after your relationship is through, and your past relationship being crucial to your greatest artistic successes together. And that success keeps you together, and that success makes you constantly revisit these moments from the past. Lindsey Buckingham has been married for years, but he knows damn well that when he’s gone, that relationship will get at best second billing to his epic drama with Stevie. It’s a strange thing to reckon with.

4. Also, so much Tusk! I was so happy with that Tusk section of the setlist. And “Second Hand News” and “Dreams” and “Eyes of the World,” and the new song “Sad Angel” was really good too, sorta like “I Don’t Want to Know.” I wish I could have enjoyed “Landslide” more, but it’s hard when you’re surrounded by tone deaf grandpas groaning the words loudly out of time.

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