Fleetwood Mac stops in Boston tonight, and like most shows for the last fifteen years, vocalist/keyboardist/writer Christine McVie won’t be joining vocalist/writer Stevie Nicks, vocalist/guitarist/writer Lindsey Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. This four-piece is performing McVie’s “Don’t Stop,” because how couldn’t they, but here are a few of her other songs they sadly won’t be playing.
“You Make Loving Fun”
In contrast to much of the group’s most famous album, there’s no intra-band gossip or thinly veiled shots at other members in this song – it’s just a fun little thing with a light disco-ish beat, which stomps just enough that you could dance to it if you wanted. A funky Wurlitzer (or sound-alike) plays the main riff, though it backs off during the chorus when a sea of harmonies comes in, and the message changes a bit, from “you’re good at doing it” to “you’re actually the only one I want to do it with.” (Although supposedly the song’s about McVie’s fling with the band’s lighting director, which, uh, didn’t last.)
Even if McVie was on this tour, the band still probably wouldn’t play this, as it’s not well-known enough to spend five live minutes on. And that’s a shame, because it’s a fantastic sultry-yet-melancholy rainy day song. Even if there’s not actually a light rain outside your window, Mick Fleetwood’s shimmery cymbal work will make you imagine there is. Apart from that, the song’s built on a very subdued electric piano, woodblock, and a “sha-la-la” nonsense backing vocal that comes in just for the choruses.
Buckingham joins McVie in sort of a duet, and the song is packed with the kind of quirky noises (strangely-pitched background vocals, something that might be a whip, etc.) more associated with his solo career than with Fleetwood Mac proper. All the instruments play short little plucky bits – the only notes that are sustained for any length of time are the vocal harmonies on the chorus (if you’re noticing a pattern, it’s because every Fleetwood Mac song, by any writer, has a chorus full of lush harmonies). The result of all this is a cheap but charming thing that’ll stick in your head for a while.
Fleetwood Mac will probably put on a solid show, although tickets may well be sold out at this point, and seem a little pricey anyway. But buy their back catalog* and enjoy hearing them at a time when their music was new to them, and when the whole range of talents from all five members of their classic lineup were on display. There’s a reason that lineup is called classic.*If you’ve already got a few of the band’s albums, try some of their solo work: McVie’s self-titled album, Buckingham’s Out of the Cradle, and/or Nicks’ Bella Donna.