Rumours of Fleetwood Mac, the world’s number 1 tribute to Fleetwood Mac, were on stage at The Usher Hall Edinburgh tonight with their 2019 “Anniversary Tour” celebrating 50 years of music from Fleetwood Mac.
I always try to find time in my review schedule to review ROFM as, on top of true “love of the music” devotion to the details of the songs, the band also bring a large scale stage show with them on tour. Up until now I have always seen this band in Edinburgh in a venue that seats around 900 people, but tonight the venue was the classic space of The Usher Hall – a wonderful specially built concert hall (1914) with a seating capacity of over 2,000 – and it was full. As a band, ROFM do not travel lightly on tour and the large performance stage of this venue let that “show experience” really open up for the audience here.
Originally formed in London in 1967, Fleetwood Mac quickly became a major part of the British Blues scene of that period and their first three albums “Fleetwood Mac” (1968), “Mr Wonderful” (1968) and “Then Play On” (1969) are still “must have” items in many record collectors’ collections. This being a “50 years” musical celebration it was therefore appropriate that original founding band member Peter Green be given his rightful place in the band’s success story with some of his classic songs - "Black Magic Woman", "Oh Well", "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)” and of course “Need Your Love So Bad” (originally by Little Willie John). It was also nice that the FM circle of music was brought up to date with “Bleed To Love Her” by Lindsey Buckingham – a song on their last studio album “Say You Will”.
Fleetwood Mac fans often seem to be split into two – lovers of the Peter Green era or of the later songs on massive selling albums such as “Rumours” or “Tusk” and, whatever your preference (maybe you like both eras), this show has everything that you would expect to hear. All the huge hits – “Go Your own Way”, “Landslide”, “The Chain”, “Gypsy”, “Little Lies” and of course “Rhiannon” are in the set list. Also in this set list, the ever wonderful “Songbird” and it is always worth being reminded that this is a song written by Christine McVie, another fine example of just how deep and varied the musical talent pool of Fleetwood Mac was/is.
ROFM as a band can at times have a varying line-up, but tonight, our line up (and one of my favourites) was
Jess Harwood - Lead Vocals (Performing Stevie Nicks)
James Harrison - Lead Guitar/Vocals (Performing Lindsey Buckingham)
Emily Gervers - Keyboards/Lead Vocals (Performing Christine McVie)
Allan Cosgrove - Drums (Performing Mick Fleetwood)
Scott Poley - Guitars/Vocals (Rumours of Fleetwood Mac MD)
Etienne Girard - Bass (Performing John McVie)
Dave Goldberg - Keyboards/Vocals/Guitar (+Performing Peter Green Era)
As I said earlier, ROFM do not travel on tour lightly, and I suspect that any guitarists out there in the audience will have more than a touch of envy at the amount of different guitars this band play during a show to get that authentic sound just right for a song. On lead vocals, Jess Harwood and Emily Gervers get the feel of these classic songs just right, but each is still different enough vocally from their original counterparts to retain their own vocal identities.
Some people, I know, have their own views on any “tribute band”, but when the songs are performed at this performance level, and by people who have a genuine love for the music they are bringing to life on-stage, I never have any problems with “tribute bands”, and often I find myself re-discovering a band’s musical back catalogue as a result of being at such shows. Music is also a wonderful vehicle that allows people to travel back in time to favourite moments in their lives, and watching that pleasure on the faces of many of the people in the audience tonight, you realise that being able to give this gift to people for a few hours is something very special.
Review by Tom King