5 Songs We’d Love to See Fleetwood Mac Play at Their Tour Opener
No tusks about it, losing Lindsey Buckingham would be a crippling blow to any band.
But Fleetwood Mac have built a career out of shedding guitarists, from Bob Welch to Dave Mason – so, in a sense, it was business as usual when the group booked a massive tour without their longtime frontman.
Questions still linger about the revamped Mac, which features Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House's Neil Finn alongside the remaining Rumours-era crew. Will they blacklist all Buckingham material? If so, how they fill the gaps? (We won't even approach the subject of a new album, which they've teased as a possibility.)
Their North American tour launches tonight in Tulsa, Okla., so let's take a closer look at their set list dilemmas and figure out five perfect tracks.
This rabid Peter Green-penned rocker appears to be a lock: The band reportedly rehearsed it for the tour (among 60 or so total tunes), with Campbell handling the vocal, because Finn found it "too bluesy." Without Buckingham in the lineup, it makes sense to re-approach the band's earliest days – and since the group has played it onstage more than 600 times, "Oh Well" is one of the few Green-era cuts that Stevie Nicks die-hards could pick out of a late-'60s lineup.
If the revamped Fleetwood Mac want to be taken seriously, they should take any opportunity to differentiate themselves and avoid becoming a traveling greatest-hits box set. And if they're already paying tribute to Peter Green, the sextet should tip their collective hat (or perhaps just John McVie's ubiquitous baseball cap) to their former singer-guitarist Bob Welch, who fronted the group during its most underrated period of the early '70s. A slice of jazzy soft-rock from 1973's Mystery to Me, "Hypnotized" would offer Finn an silky counterpoint to Campbell's gruffer "Oh Well." Plus, it would be a classy move to salute the late Welch, whom the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame curiously snubbed from the band's 1998 induction.
"Over & Over"
When Christine McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 2014, ending a 16-year hiatus from the lineup, fans were satisfied just hearing her belt signature hits like "You Make Loving Fun" and "Say You Love Me." Now it's time to dig deeper. "Over & Over," the atmospheric opener from 1979's Tusk, is a logical next move: It's a perfect vocal harmony showcase for their four singers, and Campbell could surely cook up an original take on the song's droning, wave-like slide-guitars. Plus, it's been too long anyway – this one's been collecting dust since the 1980 Tusk tour.
"Sisters of the Moon"
The stormy "Sisters of the Moon" is a creative peak in the Stevie Nicks songbook, and Fleetwood Mac know it. They've kept the epic fan favorite in semi-regular live rotation since Tusk – including numerous spots during their 2015 tour. With their new twin-guitar lineup, this one's a natural pick: Finn can ring out those thunderclap chords, allowing Campbell to go wild on the solo.
"Crystal" would surely shimmer like a "clear water fountain." The hypnotic art-folk ballad first appeared on Buckingham Nicks' self-titled 1973 album before Fleetwood Mac reworked it two years later as an organ-laced deep cut on their self-titled LP. It's a Nicks original, but Buckingham sang lead on both versions – perhaps now, 42 years after it was last performed live, is the logical time for her to reclaim it.