“That was a beautiful and circular moment…” Lindsey Buckingham talking about Christine McVie coming back to the world of Fleetwood Mac in 2014 – after a 15 break from the band – and then the two of them working on a new album together. That album, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, was released to much acclaim last month. Now touring together as a duo and playing a fairly even mix of old and new, the pair put on an amazing performance at Ironstone Amphitheatre at Ironstone Vineyards on Friday night. Of all of the dozens of shows I’ve personally seen at the venue, this one might be my all-time favorite.
Who: Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie
Supporting: The Wallflowers
Venue: Ironstone Amphitheatre at Ironstone Vineyards
Where: Murphys, California
Promoter: Richter Entertainment Group
When: July 21, 2017
Seating: (house photographer)
Richter Entertainment Group’s Summer Concert Season at Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys is about halfway done at this point, with concerts spread out across June, July, August and September. The venue has already hosted Toby Keith, Boston, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, John Mellencamp, The Moody Blues, and Jason Mraz, with matchbox twenty, Counting Crows, Steve Miller Band, Peter Frampton, Willie Nelson, Kenny G, and George Benson yet to come.
Richter Entertainment Group assembles an eclectic mix of musical artists, styles and genres every year, all benefiting from the state-of-the-art concert facility with top quality sound and lighting to placed each artist in the spotlight to showcase their music.
The amphitheatre features traditional assigned seating in the section directly in front of the stage, with a vast area behind that is designated general admission and allows patrons to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets with an opportunity to find the best spot from which to enjoy the show.
The greater setting of Ironstone Vineyards is stunning a beautiful – one of the rare concert venues where you can show up hours early and just take in the scenery, do some wine tasting, as well as have a stellar meal.
Learn all the details about this year’s concert line-up and where to buy tickets on the official REG website at www.richtergroup.net.
Photos throughout the article are split between me and my wife, Shelley (her photos are watermarked with our Pixel Dust Moments photography business logo)…
- Jakob Dylan (vocals, guitar)
- Steve Mathis (bass)
- Lynn Williams (drums)
- Jimmy Wallace (keyboards)
The Wallflowers was formed in 1989 by childhood friends singer-songwriter Jakob Dylan and guitarist Tobi Miller. Jakob Dylan remains the lone original member. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1992. They released a total of five albums before going on a hiatus to pursue other projects in 2006, with Bringing Down the Horse in 1996 being their most popular.
The band reunited in 2012 and put out their sixth album, Glad All Over.
The band won two Grammy awards in 1998 – for “Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” and “Best Rock Song” for their song “One Headlight”.
Jakob Dylan is the sole remaining original from the band, and his appearance on stage on Friday night really lit up the crowd, with many standing and cheering as the band built up momentum up through the end of their set.
Below are some photos of The Wallflowers performing on stage (scroll downward and photos will begin to appear – click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):
Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie
Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie are of course famously members of the most popular line-up in the history of Fleetwood Mac.
Fleetwood Mac have been touring frequently in the past several years, and Christine McVie returned to the stage with them in their “On With The Show” tour in 2014 (see past Rock Subculture review). As a result of this reunion, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie joined together this year to record their first album as a duo. They released their album – Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie – last month, and it features ten original songs. Mick Fleetwood and John McVie collaborated with them in the studio as well.
You can learn all about the new album on their official site at www.buckinghammcvie.com.
Fleetwood Mac, in it’s mid-70s forward incarnation, is the band that should have never been. Originally a 60s-era British blues band, the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had to have been fate, as there is no other real plausible explanation.
As wonderfully revealed in Dave Grohl’s Sound City documentary, it was nothing short of a bizarre accident that Keith Olsen (Sound City’s engineer) played Mick Fleetwood a track from Buckingham Nicks – “Frozen Love” – which was recorded at the retrospectively famous recording studio… and that Lindsey Buckingham just happened to be in the studio working at that moment. With Fleetwood Mac looking for a new guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham and then girlfriend and recording partner Stevie Nicks were a package deal, and music history was made.
The newly restructured band recorded their eponymous album together, which reached #1 in the U.S. and sold over 5 million copies. The follow-up, 1977’s Rumours, bowed countless hits, was awarded a Grammy for Album of the Year, and has sold nearly 50 million copies worldwide, making it the third highest-selling album of all time. The biggest tracks were “Go Your Own Way”, “Don’t Stop”, “Dreams”, “The Chain”, “Gold Dust Woman”, and “You Make Loving Fun”.
Tusk, the 1979 double album follow-up, was more experimental and long, clocking in with 20 tracks, and included more hits (“Tusk”, “Think About Me”, and “Sara”).
Though not as commercial or critically successful, 1982’s Mirage was a favorite of mine… at the dawn of the MTV era, I remember the video for “Hold Me” being in heavy rotation for a short period, at least. Of course, “Gypsy” remains one of their biggest hits.
1987’s Tango in the Night was the last album with the core line-up of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks. Again, another album with fantastic songs like “Little Lies”, “Big Love”, “Everywhere”, and “Seven Wonders”. Afterwards, Lindsey Buckingham left the band and was replaced with other guitarists for the decade that followed. Stevie Nicks also left the band in 1991, and the line-up did not perform together again until requested to do so by then President Bill Cliniton for his 1993 Inauguration Ball.
The band had a proper reunion in 1997 to record a live concert for the live album The Dance. In 1988 They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Christine McVie then retired from the band and touring with Fleetwood Mac until 2014.
I have seen Fleetwood Mac a few times (with and without Christine McVie) as well as one of Lindsey Buckingham’s incredible solo shows a few years ago. This special show is certainly one that I will never forget. Even with the absence of the other members of Fleetwood Mac, it served to highlight and augment the gifts of Lindsey and Christine, and highlight the special signatures each bring to the Fleetwood Mac songs. But the new music was just as spectacular, and showcased the duo in new light.
The show started as an acoustic set with just Christine and Lindsey on stage as they played through two Lindsey Buckingham songs and two Fleetwood Mac songs. Both bring so much raw yet focused energy and passion to life with their performances. This mini set really showcased their vocals and delivery.
Afterwards, they moved into the balance of the show with their full touring band, who were remarkable in their own right. I was especially impressed with the work on the drums. Just incredible.
The lighting for this show was spectacular – the best stage lighting I’ve seen this year – no contest. They were well lit with nice color and contrast and mood that fit each song. Huge props to the lighting technician(s)/designer(s).
Following a section of new material, they went through three Fleetwood Mac covers with “Hold Me”, “Little Lies”, and “Tusk”.
I was thrilled with “Hold Me”, as it was one of my favorites as a kid (and maybe isn’t among the top choices of most fans) and it sounded amazing. My one quibble with the original studio recording was that it didn’t seem to know how to end, and they seemed to solve that old puzzle with their live performance of the song.
One of the more interesting songs performed was “Little Lies”, which is known for blending the vocals of Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks in the chorus. The backing band filled in for Nicks in the main sections of the song, and they elected to leave Nicks’ chorus out in the performance, which actually worked wonderfully in a weird way. Not an approach I would have thought of but I think it had an interesting effect.
I was honestly never a big fan of “Tusk”, but it actually sounded really great with this rendition of it at Ironstone.
At one point in the show, Lindsey shared some thoughts about the two of them and how they came together to make the new album:
One of the things that really blew our minds when Christine and I got in the studio, was that on paper this was a great idea that we had, but I think we both wondered, once we got together and started the process, would we be able to pick up the thread? Would we still have the tools that we had, the dynamic that we had, the chemistry that we had? All that time before? And, as it turned out, all of that – the dynamic, the chemistry – the whole creative process for the two of us was somehow better than ever.
So I thought about that and tried to figure out why that was be the case, because it seemed to me that probably the opposite would be more likely. And the theory that I came up with is that when you look at people – most people – who have been doing what we have been doing for as long as we have been doing it… many, many artists begin to sort of chase the brand, if you will, perhaps doing very much what is expected of them, and stop feeling like there’s so much of an appropriate need to take risks and to define oneself as an artist who keeps moving forward by taking risks.
If you look at Christine’s journey during those 15 years and my journey as well, they were very different but there was one thing in common. Now she had left the band to really just make a clean break from the life that she had been living for many years before that and went on a journey of self-realization, of self learning and really confounded everyone’s expectations; did it on here own terms. You know, it’s hills and valleys. And if you look at my situation, even though I did not leave Fleetwood Mac, really, I was able to really concentrate for much of that time on solo work, which was much smaller scale, which was where you continue to be able to take risks and to define yourself as an artist. So I think we both had this thread of really doing things on very much our own terms, so when we came back together, it really showed I think in the synergy we were able to find.
Christine and Lindsey seem to have remarkable chemistry together, as well as a great deal of respect and admiration. With some of the songs in which Christine took the lead, Lindsey would literally step back in an effort to let her shine (you don’t see this a lot in rock and roll).
Hopefully this isn’t a one off effort with recording new material and touring it, as the duo compliment one another really well.
As I mentioned, this was probably my all-time favorite show at Ironstone, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others feel the same way.
- Trouble (Lindsey Buckingham cover)
- Wish You Were Here (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Never Going Back Again (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Shut Us Down (Lindsey Buckingham cover)
- Sleeping Around the Corner
- Feel About You
- In My World
- Too Far Gone
- Hold Me (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Little Lies (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Tusk (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Love Is Here to Stay
- Red Sun
- You Make Loving Fun (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- I’m So Afraid (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover)
- Lay Down for Free
- Game of Pretend
Below are some photos of Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie performing on stage (scroll downward and photos will begin to appear – click any image to open a virtual lightroom with higher resolution versions of each photo):