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The Mac Is Back! Mick, Stevie, Christine Recapture Fleetwood Mac Magic on Ellen

Stevie Nicks was back in front for Fleetwood Mac’s performance on the Ellen show. (Photo: ScreenCap)

The re-constituted Fleetwood Mac appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show (their first-time ever on TV) performing “The Chain” and “Gypsy.” At first blush, with new additions Neil Finn and Mike Campbell replacing Lindsay Buckingham, they pretty much sounded the same. And that’s a good thing.

The British-American rock band formed in London in 1967, but didn’t come into its own until the 1970s.

Founders guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarist Jeremy Spencer, were joined by John McVie and his future wife Christine Perfect a few months the band’s formation.

Lindsey Buckingham was recruited by Mick to join the band in 1974 and insisted girlfriend Stevie Nicks be allowed to join with him. They were the final two pieces of what would become one of the biggest supergroups of the mid-70s.

In 1987, growing tensions in the group led to Buckingham’s acrimonious departure. Although the group later disbanded, the members have, on occasion, reunited for tours.

Now Fleetwood Mac is back again, with yet another line up.

Finn, from the much acclaimed group, Crowded House, sounded like a dead ringer for Buckingham and even looked a bit like him – tall and thin.

Campbell, from Tom Petty-fandom, was pretty stellar, too. He added a bit more to the usual Buckingham guitar licks. He also played two different guitars in “The Chain.”

But stalwarts Fleetwood, Christine McVie and Nicks recalled the band’s powerhouse days.

My favorite Buckingham story was when he left the Mac for the first time and they hired two guitarists to replace him; this time, it seems they hired three as there was an acoustic fellow in the background; as was another keyboardist.

I’d love to see them on tour; if only to see if they do the Crowded House-chesnut “Don’t Dream It’s Over” or any Petty-material. Nicks, if you recall, did record “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with Petty in 1981.

I like the Mac … always have. But, such a stink was made this time about Buckingham’s departure (or, firing), that the anticipation was amped up real high.

From these two numbers, it’s not all that different. Still it’s a tough spot for the Mac. History aside, classic rock radio plays the same signature numbers over and over from signature acts like Bob Seger, The Doobie Brothers and Pink Floyd.

That’s one reason why all the classic-legendary bands are on tour. Their fans come, but they want to hear the classic numbers, not anything new.

Here in New York, classic-rock Q-104.3 played the new single from former-Journey front man Steve Perry (“No Erasin’) a week ago. It was a huge surprise (deviating from their classic rock format). But I haven’t heard it since. It’s supposed to be a big hit, but who’s playing it?

BITS & PIECES

  • Paul McCartney’s new album Egypt Station (his 17th solo album and first in five years) is out and its one of his best ever. “Dominoes” is an instant classic here. Hell, it could have been on The Beatles White Album
  • Robert Miller’s new Project Grand Slam (profiled recently in these pages) album Trippin’ just hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Jazz Album charts. Congrats.
  • Duane Bett’s new video “Downtown Runaround” was shot at the Five O’Clock club in Sarasota and will be out shortly.
  • Just checked out Jean-Luc Ponty at NYC’s new venue SONY Hall. Operated by the same people who handled B. B. King’s (recently departed) and The Blue Note, it’s a terrific venue with stunning sound (courtesy of SONY) and not a bad seat in the house. Electric-violinist Ponty, who’s recorded with everyone from Elton John to Frank Zappa, was stellar.
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