Fleetwood Mac Live (1980)


 
Disc One 1. Monday Morning 2. Say You Love Me 3. Dreams 4. Oh Well 5. Over & Over 6. Sara 7. Not That Funny 8. Never Going Back Again 9. Landslide Disc Two 1. Fireflies 2. Over My Head 3. Rhiannon 4. Don't Let Me Down Again 5. One More Night 6. Go Your Own Way 7. Don't Stop 8. I'm So Afraid 9. The Farmer's Daughter

 

Part of the enjoyment for myself when listening to a live album is when that album manages to somehow replicate an actual concert. Because of time limitations, especially in the "album" days, a whole concert quite often is not actually featured on a live album, even in the double album format. With careful care, however, a couple of songs can be filtered off and a great sounding disc can still be produced. Even if mounds of overdubs are required, it never bothered me if it, well, "sounded" live.

Perhaps "careful consideration" is the key phrase in this case. In Mick Fleetwood's biography, he states that he was the only one in the band keen to put out a live album, and he sounds like he regretted the decision. It's a bit sad, since many of the songs here sound very good, but since the entire package doesn't quite have the care of a proper album, the whole album tends to be one of the most forgotten pieces in the Mac catalog. And rightly so.

The album starts of wonderfully, the band is announced to thunderous applause and they kick into the concert opener Monday Morning which is what a song on a live album should sound like - fierce, energetic, a bit different from the original, but faithful enough to its studio counterpar to where everyone familiar with the song can easily identify with it. They follow up with some of the more well known stuff, Say You Love Me and Dreams, but the real treat of the whole package is when they cover the old Peter Green written classic Oh Well. A bit of a surprise since the "current" Mac never seems to acknowledge the existence of the "old" Mac. Buckingham does an outstanding job covering this classic - both in his guitar work and his vocals.

The rest of the album only delights in places, and the weaknesses outnumber the strengths. Some of the songs are a bit questionable. I never thought Over & Over was that great of a song, especially live, since it has always seemed a much quieter piece. The nine minute version of Not That Funny is a bit too much as well, but I'm sure there are millions of Mac fans that will think differently, and you really can't please everyone, so no need to split hairs. Then, as Stevie Nicks is introducing Landslide, she's so hoarse she can barely even speak the introduction. Not a good sign of what's to come.

The second disc is where things really fall apart. Not really in terms of quality, but in the effort of masking this as a "live" album. There are two new studio tracks that are "scattered" in the mix (wouldn't it have made more sense to have them together at the end? After the live experience has been concluded?), McVie's One More Night and Nicks' Fireflies are both good, but sound horribly out of place. By the time they get to one of the strongest tracks featured Go Your Own Way, they rip through it in great fashion, say goodnight and leave the stage. Yet there are three more songs listed on the album. So, you're thinking "encore", right? Well, not exactly. They then follow with a live rehearsal of Don't Stop. Rehearsal??? What was the point?? Did they not have any quality actual live recordings in front of an audience? It's really a mood breaker. The next song has them "back" in front of an audience, the now famous I'm So Afraid that has become a well welcome staple in Fleetwood Mac live shows. Unfortunately, they then go another 180 degrees and do another "rehearsal" song in a Beach Boys cover of The Farmer's Daughter. The treatment is great, but like a lot of everything else, very out of place.

Considering they were one of the hottest tickets around in the last five years, they (or maybe that should be "we") deserved a lot better than this.

Back To Main Page
Go To Next Review