Can the band really work without Lindsey Buckingham? On this evidence: yes
Fleetwood Mac are the band that have famously fought; loved and hated and everything in between, with all that tension leading to some of the greatest music ever created.
But most onlookers were surprised when their legendary guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham abruptly departed the band earlier this year. Ever since the departure of Peter Green in 1970, which marked the end of their blues phase, Buckingham has been the main driver of the group, playing with them since 1975 (with a ten year gap between 1987 and 1997) and playing on their two most hits-laden albums - Rumours and Tango in the Night - co-producing the latter. More than this, given his former relationship with Nicks, fans always enjoyed the spark and chemistry between them on stage.
Nonetheless, with the fans enjoying just four years of the second classic lineup being reunited once more, off he departed, with Buckingham saying that it was not ‘my doing or my choice’ while Fleetwood alluded to conflicts in touring schedules, telling Rolling Stone: “Not to hedge around, but we arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall. This was not a happy situation for us in terms of the logistics of a functioning band. To that purpose, we made a decision that we could not go on with him. Majority rules in term of what we need to do as a band and go forward.”
So how do you replace the irreplaceable?
Well, with two, perhaps underrated, musical legends: Mike Campbell, formerly of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Crowded House’s Neil Finn. An interesting choice and one that, on paper, looked like it could work. But how would it play out in reality?
Well, fans finally got to find out for themselves as the new lineup took to the stage on The Ellen Show to play two classic tracks: ‘The Chain’ and ‘Gypsy’.
You can almost feel the nerves from Campbell - despite all of those years of experience - in the early stages of ‘The Chain’ as he misses a few notes, but he recovers well to play the famous outro solo nicely.
Finn, however, takes to it like a duck to water, his vocals fitting in perfectly with Nicks and McVie, while his guitar playing is supremely confident. He also clearly has some sort of early chemistry with Nicks, who just looks happy throughout the performance.
Check out their performance of signature track ‘The Chain’ below:
Playing their second song, ‘Gypsy’, the band sounds fantastic, with Nicks in fine fettle and the rest of the band coming together nicely.
The new lineup are on tour in North America from October through to April next year, so we can hopefully look forward to some UK dates sometime soon.
(Image: Fleetwood Mac)