THE LEFSETZ LETTER: Fleetwood Mac At The Forum

As they should be.


Once upon a time our bands graduated to the arenas where the basketball teams played, now we've got our OWN PLACE!


That's right, music lives at the Forum. And if you've never been, get in your automobile and make a pilgrimage to where there's no scoreboard, no sports paraphernalia, only music. Where you can partake of the elixir that once was.


That's right.


There may be screens, but this is positively a pre-MTV experience. Back when it was all about the music.


And it was all about the music last night.


It brought tears to my eyes. A hole has been filled. As Mick Fleetwood indicated, the circle is now complete. With Christine McVie back in the band the ship is righted, the Lindsey/Stevie show has a counterweight, and the balance is such that your baby boomer heart will thump and you'll remember what once was and hopefully will yet be.


Bob Lefsetz, Santa Monica-based industry legend, is the author of the e-mail newsletter, "The Lefsetz Letter". Famous for being beholden to no one, and speaking the truth, Lefsetz addresses the issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.

His intense brilliance captivates readers from Steven Tyler to Rick Nielsen to Bryan Adams to Quincy Jones to music business honchos like Michael Rapino, Randy Phillips, Don Ienner, Cliff Burnstein, Irving Azoff and Tom Freston.

Never boring, always entertaining, Mr. Lefsetz's insights are fueled by his stint as an entertainment business attorney, majordomo of Sanctuary Music's American division and consultancies to major labels.

Bob has been a weekly contributor to CelebrityAccess and Encore since 2001, and we plan many more years of partnership with him. While we here at CelebrityAccess and Encore do not necessarily agree with all of Bob's opinions, we are proud to help share them with you.


"Listen to the wind blow
Watch the sun rise"


Opening cut side two. We all bought the second album of this configuration of the band without being implored to do so but because we had to, the same way a kid today lines up for an iPhone.


That's right, we're sitting in the darkened arena and the band is singing about an unbreakable chain with Christine doing harmonies for the first time in sixteen years and Mick pounds the skins and John holds down the bass and Lindsey picks the notes and Stevie emphatically sings and you just cannot believe that this is happening. It's not quite the Beatles coming together, but it's close.


It was like hell freezing over and the Eagles reuniting but at a point in time where you could see the end in sight.


That's right, even children get older, and I'm getting older too.


How did this happen?


In a world that's trying to push us aside, one in which so little makes sense, where we don't know the people in "People," as the tunes washed over us we were comfortable in our own skin. Because if Stevie Nicks can admit her age, we can admit ours.


She told a long story. Of being born in 1948. It was astounding. This info is all over the web, but no one born before the sixties will say so. But Stevie told of meeting the one year younger Lindsey in San Francisco at age 17, forming a band, and slugging it out for TEN YEARS before she and he became who you know them as now.


They paid their dues. Which is why they're so damn good.


OVER MY HEAD


"You can take me to paradise
And then again you can be cold as ice"


This was the one. We knew "Station Man," we knew who the band was, but when this hit the airwaves we smiled, we became infatuated, the album infected the populace, we had a new favorite, based completely upon the music, image was secondary, there was so little info back then, all we had was what came over the speakers, unless we went to see them live, and when I saw them that summer at Anaheim Stadium opening for Loggins & Messina and Christine sang this from behind her electric piano a memory was forged that I cannot forget.


YOU MAKE LOVING FUN


That's what my girlfriend told me.


It's these little moments of honesty that stick with you, that make up a life. Back when you're still exploring, when you're not looking for Ms. Right Now but Ms. At All, when you still fumble, when you're still insecure, but when your blood is frothing and connecting is the most important thing in the world to you. Actually, it still is.


DREAMS


"Listen carefully to the sound of the loneliness"


No one sings about this anymore, no one reflects upon the human condition, life is one big party with everybody connected and no one unhappy.


Hogwash.


Life is about alienation, about feeling DISCONNECTED! You're looking for a rock to hold on to, and in the seventies it was music. That's right, the SEVENTIES, they get a bad rep, but they were just as important as the sixties, when everybody knew how to play, you had twenty four tracks to record with and enough sound reinforcement equipment to render your sound live.


And we did all our listening at home. Music was not portable, the Walkman was years off. We'd sit in our bedrooms with our stereos, everyone had one, with our few albums and spin them throughout over and over again believing if we could just meet the people who made the music our lives would be complete. And that's what it felt like last night, like the people on stage were gods, descended from the heavens, and if you could just tell Christine and Stevie your story they'd nod and understand. You went to the gig to get ever closer, to the sound that was keeping you alive.


I'M SO AFRAID


Guitar heroes. Before anybody could be a deejay, do you hear me Paris Hilton, guys stayed inside instead of playing sports and practiced and practiced until not only could they lay down the English licks but come up with some of their own.


If he wasn't already in the R&RHOF with this band, Lindsey Buckingham would be entitled to membership based upon his performance last night, whereupon he wrung notes from his axe that we knew by heart that didn't sound quite like anybody else's, because the essence of greatness is forging your own way, not hiring the gun of the moment to replicate what everybody else does. That's right, if the under thirty generation were exposed to Lindsey's picking Guitar Center's revenues would skyrocket, because not only are you mesmerized you can't stop wondering how he does it and wonder if you can too.


WORLD TURNING


Another Lindsey extravaganza…


"Everybody's trying to say I'm wrong"


Just go on the internet, naysayers abound, raise your head and they'll try to make you conform to their vision, whereupon they forget you and go on to stalk other prey. To be an individual in 2014 is harder than ever, let your freak flag fly and you're derided.


"Maybe I'm wrong but who's to say I'm right"


Got that? Not the extreme confidence of the techies who never look inward, who never question themselves, who only plow forward. And unlike digits, life is complicated, chiaroscuro, anybody who says they've got the answers is lying or deluded. And what we needed was the fury of sound in our ears to keep us hewing to our own path. We sang these songs to ourselves to help us through, we still do.


DON'T STOP


Bill Clinton's theme song.


I'm not sure if tomorrow will be better than before, but I'm sure as hell that yesterday's gone. How can that be? I can handle losing my hair, that's exterior, but why do I have all these aches and pains? Why has society decreed that I no longer count? Why is "old" a pejorative?


I know that what I used to think was important is not. That our nation is inundated with hype, it's one big enterprise based on making you feel inadequate as it sells you stuff you don't want and don't need. Cars are an appliance, the movies are irrelevant and you start to realize it's only about yourself and your own experiences, everything peripheral fades away, what remains is a few good meals, and a bunch of conversation, life is not what's in your wallet but what goes in your eyes and ears.


Tomorrow is here every damn day.


And I'm thrilled to wake up and see it.


SONGBIRD


It was Christine's evening. It was only fitting they rolled out her piano and she finished the evening with this.


Imagine walking over a hill and seeing your high school class intact. Older, wiser, but still here.


That never happens anymore. The sick and the dying make it impossible. And if Malcolm Young can get dementia, that means you can too. You feel invulnerable, but that's positively false. They'll get you in the end. And all your survivors will have is their memories, of you and so much more.


We don't have pics. We'd meet someone and recognize them the next time by the image in our brain. We weren't always in touch. And we made a pilgrimage to the show to experience the one constant, the music.


We know these songs by heart. These expressions of joy, trial and tribulation that mirrored our own experiences. We may not have been in a band, but we broke up, ran into our exes, tried to figure out how to soldier on. But now our parents die. The world changes. And we can't make sense of it all.


But then you go to the Forum to see Fleetwood Mac and you're stunned. That they can still do it, that they still want to do it, and everybody is here, everybody feels just like you.


Fleetwood Mac was unique. Not only because they had a long history before they broke through, were a blues band that morphed into something completely different, but because of the yin and yang, the women counterbalancing the men. Stevie and Christine inspired because they weren't trying to be boys, they were positively women demonstrating that was enough.


And we loved them for it.


And it was palpable last night.


As Christine tickled the ivories, illustrating once again that music is a skill, that must be developed, that we marvel at.


As Stevie told the tale of her dream coming true, imploring us to follow ours.


As Lindsey admitted he was once closed off and is now open. Personal development, we've all gone through it. The youngsters think they know everything, we know no one can.


And the two constants, John and Mick, held down the bottom, pumped the blood through the system, looking worse for wear, but able to do so as efficiently as ever.


Shall we all live long and prosper.


Well, at least longer and happier.


I know I'm happier after last night.

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