Fleetwood Mac at Madison Square Garden: Backstage Pass

Lindsey-Buckingham-stevie-nicks_l Fleetwood Mac's Rumours was the very first album I heard as a kid that made me lust for music and obsessively watch the dust collect on the record needle as it picked sound up out of those waxed grooves. Therefore, I have loved this band forever. 

Last night, the famously tumultuous group, who have reformed (minus Christine McVie) for a greatest hits tour called "Unleashed," did just that at Madison Square Garden, and I was lucky enough to be tenth-row center on the floor.

I was mesmerized watching guitarist Lindsey Buckingham's fingers pick out notes on songs that everyone knows by heart ("Dreams," "Landslide," "Tusk," "Go Your Own Way") but also just crying my eyes out with gratitude watching this virtuoso working so hard right in front of me that I could see him wince in pain and grab his back to quell a spasm after every few songs (the dude is almost 60). 

Stevie, in contrast — all wrapped in her cocoon of black and maroon scarves — could just effortlessly mouth the words "Sara" or "Gypsy" into the mic and melt ice. She is the only person in the universe with that voice and I'm grateful she and Lindsey met up in High School back in 1965, as Stevie reminded the crowd while sharing an impassioned lesson in Fleetwood Mac history. Also? This band opened for Janis Joplin and played on the same stage as Jimi Hendrix in San Francisco.

Mick Fleetwood is still sporting those little dangling fabric balls on his trousers, a la the Rumours album cover, which made me wonder if he just wears them all the time (awkward meeting new people like that) and he pounded that drum kit all night like he was made out of Viagra.

I ended up backstage with Stevie Nicks (connections!) at the end of the show and petted her dogs, including an elderly Yorkie who barked at us as if we were in his dressing room and we should get out now. Scarves hung about the space, and I spied boxes of blonde hair color peeking out of a drawer in an equipment case that said "Stevie" in pink spray-painted letters. I was too shy to say hello but wish I had said thank you. So, thank you, Stevie!

What was the first record that started your love of music — you know, the one you played 1000 times until it broke and you had to get a new one? Was Rumours one of them?

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Comments (10 total) Add your comment
  • Martin Haro

    I saw them in Fort Lauderdale earlier this spring, and HEARTED the concert, especially “Silver Springs.” I’ve never looked forward to the end of a concert as much, but only because they close their amazing set with that song. Of course, after that I wanted to rinse and repeat.
    http://moviemartin.blogspot.com

  • AT

    Just my favorite band ever. Have seen a couple of tours, but unable to catch this one. Love them!

  • Ben

    While I love Fleetwood Mac and they are my favorite band of all time, the first album to have this effect on me was Heart’s self-titled album, the one with “What About Love” and “These Dreams.” Sad, but true, and I still love Heart.

  • Casey

    The first thing I thought when reading the first sentence of this article was “Me too!” My first recollections of listening to an entire album is Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” and the Beatles American release “Meet the Beatles” around the age of 4. “Rumours” was the first album (on cassette!) that I bought myself, you know to upgrade. Well that and the fact that I wore the old record out by the age of 8. I also remember being pretty keen on Foreigner as well for which I have no shame. My baby boomer parents had eclectic taste but I remember playing those two albums of theirs the most.

  • Heather

    YES !!! it was 1978 – I was in the eighth grade and “Rumours” was the first album I ever bought with my own money….I WORE IT OUT !!!!….replaced it with a cassette a few years later – and then with a CD once that wore out !!…I have been waiting and wating for them to come to Saskatchewan – and my wish came true and I saw them in Saskatoon on June 5th – – best concert I have EVER been to… and so worth the 30 year wait !!!!…to watch them on stage – to hear them – is like being transported back in a time machine….ROCK ON FLEETWOOD MAC….and THANK YOU for the music !!!

  • John

    What was the point of mentioning the blonde hair dye?

  • Roger Weeden

    I think I was in the 9th grade and I know I was in my parents car/ I heard this really cool song with a surreal melody… a voice that I fell for. Some story about a weird lady or something.. “she is like a cat in the dark..” I was hooked instantly. I heard that this band was going to be on The Midnight Special with host Helen Reddy. I stayed up late and was “hypnotized”.. the band was very cool and the blonde girl in black was beautiful and still, dressed like a witch or something. Shortly after, I realized that my parents had an album with a really cool cover and that girl again. I thought her name was Lindsey at first. I listened and could not believe how I connected I was. Like I said. I “fell” for them… bought posters and music.. even the bands name was cool.. Fleetwood Mac. I listened to Rumours over and over and over, wearing out the grooves. I was an instant fan.. the band was playing nearby and the rucous was filmed on the 11:00 news! I wanted to know who this lady,Rhiannon

  • Nanette

    OK – probably older than anyone that wrote in. First heard “Rhiannon” 33 years ago and thought, “who is that?”, been hooked ever since. Have what my family calls a “shrine” to Stevie, FM, which is now consumed by The Beatles, Tom Petty, George Harrison. Believe it or not, my husband, when my boyfriend, brought over a Fleetwood Mac album, Bare Trees (1973), before Stevie & Lindsey joined, Christine’s voice was awesome and she is sorely missed. So, how aobut that for being a true fan?

  • Nanette

    Oh, yeah – seen them about 10 times in concert/Stevie/FM. Had to pass this tour. Live close to N.O., but watched via Youtube watching videos of the tour. Hopefully, Stevie will tour again, she is awesome solo, and you get all the FM songs because she wrote them!

  • EILEEN DESIMONE

    FIRST HEARD FM 34 YEARS AGO AT THE NY PLANETARIUM IN MY THE SONG WAS RHIANNON I FELL IN LOVE WITH STEVIE’S VOICE AND THE BAND. I HAVE BEEN TO EVERY CONCERT THEY EVER PLAYED IN NY AND NJ. I HAVE ONLY 1 WISH BEFORE I DIE AND THIS TO MEET STEVIE NICKS HER MUSIC HAS HELPED ME IN THE LOWEST AND HIGHTEST POINTS OF MY LIFE AND I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL TO FM FOR HER. A MOST LOYAL FAN FOREVER AND EVER.

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