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<p>(Herbert Worthington)</p>
(Herbert Worthington)

It’s not “Second Hand News,” Fleetwood Mac releases their first album in 20 years

Earlier this month, exactly 46 years and 10 days after the date it was recorded, Fleetwood Mac released a new live album. “Rumours (Live)” is a full concert performed at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, CA on Aug. 29, 1977. 

The album opens with a beautiful rendition of Christine McVie’s “Say You Love Me,” and continues with Lindsey Buckingham’s “Monday Morning” and Stevie Nicks’s “Dreams.” Fleetwood Mac in this era was balancing three singers who all wrote and sang their own songs, so it only makes sense that the concert opened with each of them getting to perform something they wrote themselves. 

After those three, the band does something very interesting. They perform “Oh Well (Pt. 1)”, a song from the Peter Green era of Fleetwood Mac, and the only song to not be from either 1975’s “Fleetwood Mac” or 1977’s “Rumours.” While it is technically a Fleetwood Mac song, the band and its members are so completely different that, with Buckingham on vocals, it feels more like a cover. Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie are the only members to still be in the band from that era. And when it’s sandwiched between Nicks’s “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” you can really feel the difference in the music they were making in 1969 versus 1977. 

As the album continues on it has all the mid seventies Fleetwood Mac songs that fans know and love: “Gold Dust Woman,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Go Your Own Way,” and many more. While they are songs many people know, a lot of them have a much more raw and real sound compared to their studio counterparts. 

The true standout of this entire live record is definitely “Rhiannon.” Nicks’s vocals are completely unmatched and her passion is powerful, even through headphones. Fleetwood Mac, and Stevie Nicks especially, is a band I have always preferred to listen to live recordings of. This time period in the band’s history, being right after the creation and release of their iconic album “Rumours,”  is famously tumultuous and drama-filled, with all of the band members going through intense breakups, four out of the five of which were with fellow bandmates. Those emotions that they were all undoubtedly feeling shine though on this album in a way that they just can’t with studio recordings. 

Another memorable performance by Nicks on this album, and the only song from this concert to have been previously released, is “Gold Dust Woman.” While “Rhiannon” gets more intense with the band getting louder and Nicks’s singing coming almost to a scream, “Gold Dust Woman” actually gets softer, yet still feels more intense and almost haunting. Something about the song is just so ethereal, as if Nicks has been taken over by some otherworldly being, or even is an otherworldly being herself.

Nicks is not the only one to have amazing performances that really stick with me on this record. Christine McVie’s “You Make Loving Fun” is easily one of the best songs on the album, and definitely the most fun. In a concert full of breakup songs like “Dreams,” “Go Your Own Way,” and “The Chain,” McVie provides a breath of fresh air and sings a sweet, upbeat love song. 

Now to highlight another member of the band besides the three singers: Mick Fleetwood. His drum solo on “World Turning” is incredible. And he doesn’t just stay behind the kit, he comes to the front and plays what is called a talking drum. He holds the talking drum between his arm and body and squeezes it to create different pitches. His choice of instrument creates such a unique sound for his solo, one that I don’t really hear from other bands from that same time period or from current bands. 

Overall, Fleetwood Mac clearly gave an incredible performance to that California audience in 1977, and it is fantastic that we have such a high quality recording of it to enjoy almost 50 years later. Whether you’re a lifelong Fleetwood Mac fan or this is your first time ever hearing them, I think it is more than well worth a listen, or several. Somehow, even in such personally difficult times, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Lindsey Buckingham were able to create some of the most influential and lasting music of the seventies, and hearing it in this live form just proves that they weren't just musicians, but true rock stars.

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