Apr 052013

I found many things “right” about this 1976 Fleetwood Mac performance of “Rhiannon,” which was passed along by a friend. I also found a few things annoyingly “wrong.” I’m curious to know where you stand on matters of right and wrong in this clip. Thank you.


  22 Responses to “What’s Right, What’s Wrong With This 1976 Performance by Fleetwood Mac?”

  1. – Stevie’s not wearing white
    – McVie’s Shorts
    – I find Stevie’s witch routine to be very tiresome so showing her noodle-dancing while Christine is playing is rude
    – All of the “special effects”: Burning fire, Split screens, Negative film images

  2. mockcarr

    The band’s obvious support of many hairdressers is commendable.
    What the hell kind of name is Rhiannon, and why would you choose to sing such a name so often?
    John McVie’s claw technique on bass.
    McVie’s shorts and OPEN baseball shirt revealing what must be dyed chest hair, since I assume the aforementioned hairdressers likely were involved in it.
    Right-allowing Christine a solo even with that mellow keyboard tone.
    Wrong-her not rising above that keyboard tone to do something actually worthy of not singing during it
    Right-that large, 70’s, lovin’ halo o’ perm that Buckingham supports.
    Wrong-white Les Paul and trite rock moves during solo.
    Right-Fleetwood remained his ugly self who’s only noticed because he keeps his mouth open most of the time.
    Wrong-Fleetwood did not have a bug fly into his mouth or similar mishap resulting in any entertainment value from him whatsoever.
    Right-Stevie wasn’t so goofy that you didn’t care that she wasn’t pretty enough to overcome her incoherence
    Wrong-tried to get all bluesy when the actual thing that’s interesting about her voice is that warble which was utterly defeated in that attempt at over-emoting.

  3. jeangray

    That’s funny what you said about Stevie’s looks. My first impression was: now I remember why all the High School boys thought she was so hot. Obviously, we went to different High Schools.

  4. jeangray

    John McVie’s shorts.
    That backdrop.
    The Psychedelic effects that seem more appropriate for the early ’70’s.
    Mick Fleetwood’s facial expressions & mouth breathing. Have never enjoyed those. At least he didn’t play with his “balls.”
    The noodle dance, of course.
    John McVie’s chunking on the E. Is this where Adam Clayton got it from?

    Lindsey’s afro.
    Stevie’s fresh nubile-ness.
    Lindsey doesn’t use a pick.
    The almost Punk like fervor they get into towards the end. Too bad none of their albums sound like that.
    The joy that Mick seems to get out of Lindsey’s solo (I am aware that this contradicts my wrong statement about him).
    Christine’s could care less what you think vibe. Have always enjoyed that about her.
    Lindsey’s solo & cliché Rawk Star moves. Dude can blow!

  5. machinery

    So wrong — a gong.
    So right — Stevie is a stone cold fox. I have a weakness for this look evidenced by Mrs Machinery’s similar dead-on look years ago.

    It’s funny while getting super pissed at watching that Eagles doc I kept comparing them to Fleetwood Mac and thinking the f’n Eagles never did one thing as good as this. Separate post …

  6. I’m with you, Jean. Stevie (or Linda Rondstadt) circa 1976 are A-OK with me.

  7. mockcarr

    I’m not saying she isn’t pretty, just that she’s usually so weird and annoying in some fashion that you’d have just look at a still frame to appreciate it.

  8. Good stuff, so far. And thankfully no disagreements over John McVie’s shorts.

    The first thing that stood out for me was the breakneck pace of the song, proving once more (to me and, I’m sure, Andyr, at least) that faster is usually better.

  9. Funny, Mrs.Jade is a dead ringer for Christine McVie. Do we have the makings of a cover band on our collective hands?

  10. cliff sovinsanity

    I with you on the tempo. The original has a lifeless jazzy chug while this one sounds like something from Horses era Patti Smith.

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    LB’s use of Hiwatt stacks. EXCELLENT.
    LB’s hair — dude can almost hide behind it. Rock hair should be a statement, and LB is speaking truth to power with his ‘do.
    SN is actually — dare I say it? — *rockin’* in her delivery. Normally she gives me a major pain, but I’m down with this performance.
    MF is also rockin’, but then I would expect that of him.
    The general uptempo, free-form delivery of this song. It’s like they hadn’t learned yet how to simply mimic the tune to make sure it matched what everybody was hearing on the radio. They sound like a *band*.
    The “mature” counterpoint of CM, both in backup vox and keys. She plays an important role here.
    LM’s *attempt* to rock out in his solo. See “Wrong” section for more on this.
    LM’s quasi-kimono Look. I will stand up for the Rock Kimono every time.
    SN does indeed look kind of hot — at least until she starts dancing (see below).

    LM’s godawful lack of tone during the non-solo sections of the song.
    LM tries too hard in the solo section. The net result is a lead softie. You can hear him worrying about his hair, his kimono, his *everything* as he twee-twee-tweeees.
    JM’s shorts. Shorts are verboten in any case, but those truckstop tramp/daisy dukes are really a BAD idea.
    Oh, God, please no — SN, stop with the witchie-woman dancing!
    Round about 5:06, SN crosses the line from rockin’ into crazy chick over-emoting. I see too many talent-challenged teenage girls being wrongfully inspired to under-rock while over-singing by these antics.
    JM’s Alembic bass.
    LM’s white Les Paul. Come on… a WHITE Les Paul?!

  12. BigSteve

    No, I find upping the tempo very problematical. Granted the whole white witch thing is stupid, but without dreaminess the song is nothing. And the faster starting tempo means they have nowhere to go when they try to rave it up in the final third, and the whole mess turns into an arena rock cliche.

  13. BigSteve

    To me the white Les Paul is almost a sign of integrity. When you’re successful enough to have someone hand you a different guitar for every song, and you just say ‘this is my guitar, and this is what I play’ it’s admirable. Soon he would move to that weird custom guitar with the rotating pickup, and from there it’s a short leap to solo albums built on varispeed recording a thousand guitar parts.

  14. cherguevara

    Triangle is hung correctly – opening goes to the player’s left, which contrasts with Mick Fleetwood having his rack toms “backwards.”

  15. 2000 Man

    I have to say for once, Lyndsie Buckingham does everything right. Stevie looks and sounds great.

    When Stevie bites her lower lip, it’s sexy as hell. When Mick Fleetwood does it, at best he becomes Grampa Gump, at worst he’s one of Michonne’s decoy zombies.

    Their success came just in time for John McVie. One more near miss and he’d have had no pants at all.

  16. misterioso

    Good song which I have always liked: but as with almost any FM performance I have seen they don’t get within a country mile of being as good as on the record. (Which isn’t to say I think this is a *bad* performance, just that they were basically a studio group in this period as far as I am concerned.) I don’t like the faster tempo, I don’t like the lyrical changes, and it goes on too long. Obviously, McVie’s shorts are a problem, and Buckingham’s karate pimp look is out of hand.

  17. I was going to mention the Alembic bass but given the band, the time and the place, I opted to turn a blind eye.

  18. I agree with Big Steve. I’m a guy who defaults to faster tempos but this seemed too fast.

  19. trigmogigmo

    Bare tree backdrop
    Lindsey’s fro
    Mick’s drumming
    Lindsey’s solos — nothing fancy, just tasty.

    John’s shorts & shirt getup
    Lindsey’s beard. Well, all the rock beards. You can guess what I think of the recent onslaught of bands of guys with beards.
    Lindsey’s silk kimono & chest hair look
    The white Les Paul. Well, maybe as stage dress it contrasts with the dark blue karate pimp outfit. (Good description, misterioso!)
    John’s natural finish bass guitar
    Stevie’s twirling
    Near zero camera time for Christine

  20. (Actually, one of my nieces is named Rhiannon, and not after this song. Although to be fair, she doesn’t go by it.)

  21. amen, Brother Steve.

  22. diskojoe

    To me, John McVie is either:

    1. Getting ready to mow his lawn or
    2. About to ask for spare change

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