You get Sarah Rowland to take the music section to a Fleetwood Mac fan club meeting, and we reward you with a Payback Time T-shirt, two recently released major-label CDs, and two tickets to a Live Nation club show taking place in Vancouver within the next four weeks. Here’s this week’s winning whine.
Dear Payback Time: I’m not sure in which universe our rock heroes don’t grow older (perhaps Mick Jagger’s), but as Fleetwood Mac so clearly demonstrated to anyone paying attention, age is just a number. For God’s sake, Mick Fleetwood could be my grandfather, and he still plays with the crazed intensity of Animal from The Muppet Show. From Mick’s flawless 10-minute drum solo to John McVie’s solid and unwavering bass lines, and, most pronounced Lindsey Buckingham’s epic and transcendent manipulation of his guitar, the band proved that no amount of cocaine or internal drama could deaden its capabilities as a masterful live rock band. Stevie Nicks may have been the weakest link that night, but when one of the greatest voices in rock ’n’ roll isn’t at the top of her game, she’s still an absolute treasure to listen to.
If Sarah Rowland honestly watched that performance and still thinks it’s time for Fleetwood Mac to pack it in, her standards must be unreasonably high. I take pity on any band she reviews that doesn’t happen to be in the upper echelon of rock history—so 90 percent of all future reviews?
> Terry Stewart
Sarah Rowland replies: Dearest Terry—I guess one woman’s solid, unwavering bassist is another woman’s sad pile of antisocial shit. John McVie stepped up for 15 bars of “The Chain” and then went back to goal-sucking in a darkened nook by Mick Fleetwood’s drum kit for almost the entire night.
And funny you should bring up Mick Jagger. Say what you want about the Stones miser, but at least when he gouges fans with ticket prices, he has the decency to kick up his cardio routine before hitting the road. Oh sure, we have to endure watching the former rock ’n’ roll sex symbol prance around in those ugly white tennis shoes that Gramps likes to wear on special occasions, but at least he makes an effort to move his Mr. Burns butt on-stage. And if the Boss were to come back and siphon money from his blue-collar fan base during a recession, you can bet he’d only do it with a fully functioning voice. And I’m sure that even Sting, tantric sex–loving new-age ponce that he is, mentally prepares for the rigours of the road by working extra hard on his Downward Dog.
All this, just so you don’t have to wear nostalgic blinders for the entire concert. So, you see, it is possible for aging classic-rock stars to exploit reunion cash grabs, suck you dry for all you’re worth, and still make an effort come showtime.
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