Saturday, December 26, 2009

Classic Clips: Fleetwood Mac, Tusk Tour 1979 “Angel”

Much of what makes bands so fascinating is that they are traveling families, and no matter what dysfunction stems from weeks, months and years on the road, their love of making music together is often the only stabilizing force that keeps the unit from imploding. Further, the chaos and tension among members can often breed fantastic, creative honesty. Fleetwood Mac is my favorite example, and probably the most documented in rock music, of the unifying power of music among a group of people who can no longer stand the sight of one another.

During the time Fleetwood Mac was making the Tusk album, the band was past the initial pain of dissolved relationships, and had moved right on to fury, spite, and jealousy. Tusk is my favorite Fleetwood Mac album because it is so raw; in it, you feel Lindsey’s bitter resentment, Stevie’s misplaced martyrdom, and Christine’s optimistic will to push through to a better place and time. Although I think Tusk has some of the career-best songs by all three songwriters, I always felt Tusk, as a complete album, was disjointed and did not flow well – like each song was constructed in total isolation. To Lindsey’s credit, despite his longstanding anger toward Stevie, he has always been the best producer for her songs – taking the skeletal poems and melodies she crafted and adding rich, layered complexity. As a musical team, they are magic.

Below is the greatest live clip I have ever found of Stevie and Lindsey. It is from a documentary of recording and touring for Tusk. The Tusk tour produced one of the most dysfunctional moments in Fleetwood Mac history (that is publicly known) when, during a show in New Zealand, Lindsey began mocking Stevie on stage as she sang; the incident ended in an all-out physical backstage brawl. But sorry - this is not that clip; this clip is from the same tour, filmed around 1979-80, but shows a lighter side of the band. This is a live performance of “Angel,” and demonstrates palpable joy in making music even through the darkest hours of a band in complete turmoil. Whatever wars were fought once Stevie and Lindsey stepped offstage, the latter half of this clip has them smiling, sharing the microphone, and dancing. It’s truly a classic!

-AZ

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  2. The comment by "Tom" was removed because it was promoting a website and was unrelated to the Fleetwood Mac post. -AZ

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