Holy Cow Palace*, Batman!


I’ve posted before about what is arguably the greatest break-up album of all time, but I’m a little stunned by the way Fleetwood Mac is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the musical superstorm known as Rumours.  (You can have a look at the deluxe box set Amazon is selling here.)

What’s flipping me out here is the amazing wealth of incredible music that came from these sessions that didn’t make it onto either Rumours or 1979’s follow-up, Tusk (I have always believed that Tusk should have been named Rumours II: Lindsey and Stevie Have It Out).  In addition to a disc of live tracks from the Rumours tour, there are two full discs of outtakes and demos.  The DVD documentary on the making of the album probably just adds further insight into the creative process of these five people in conflict and turmoil.  If you’re even the most casual fan of Fleetwood Mac, there is probably something in this set that will interest you.

I purchased one of the songs from itunes, a Stevie Nicks demo called “Planets of the Universe.” (I stopped at one because I very quickly realized that the digital version of this set would not be enough; I’m gonna shell out the $100 for the hard copy as soon as I can afford it.)  And listening to it helps me understand why it might have been left off the original album.  This is intense stuff.  It’s beautiful and angry, just Stevie and her piano.  She’s pouring everything out in this song: fear, disappointment, grief, love, and rage.  You get a real sense of how co-dependent and dysfunctional her relationship with Lindsey must have been.  I’ve always wondered how the members of Fleetwood Mac felt hearing their personal lives blaring from every direction.  But the songs on Rumours are tame when compared to “Planets of the Universe” (even the searing “Gold Dust Woman” and “The Chain”).  I can’t even begin to imagine the pain Nicks would’ve felt hearing this song played every two hours on some Top Forty station.

I’m glad Fleetwood Mac has gained enough perspective on Rumours and the surrounding recordings to allow their fans to share in this music.  It’s one of the most amazing musical treats I’ve heard in a really long time.


*For anyone who doesn’t get the reference, the Cow Palace is a venue in San Francisco that Fleetwood Mac has played many times.