Does the world really need another helping of dated 1970s arena pop rock?
I caught Fleetwood Mac in concert at the then new Qwest Center in Omaha in the early-mid 2000s.
But let me this clear, I didn’t go because I wanted to see the band.
Far from it, I went because a gentleman by the name of Kevin Collison – a business reporter at the Star originally from Nebraska – had been pimping readers about how Kansas City was falling behind Omaha. And that KC needed a new downtown arena to make sure the hicks from the little cowtown didn’t pass up us hicks in the Big Cowtown.
Surely Kansas City would have none of that, Collison half preached, half threatened.
So up to Omaha I rode to the only thing halfway resembling a big concert there that didn’t entail country music.
The Qwest Center – now the CenturyLink Center – was fine, better than Kemper Arena certainly, with padded seats, decent sound and other more modern amenities. Plus it was conveniently located right off the main party, shopping and restaurant drag in downtown Omaha.
You could park, eat dinner and then walk to the show – speaking of which…
I’ve got to tell you, Fleetwood Mac was ultra boring in concert even then. The band’s hit “Don’t Stop” came out in 1977 – that’s 35 years ago – and it’s been 20 since Bill Clinton appropriated it for his first presidential run in 1992.
I was thinking about all that when I got an email from cantankerous entertainment industry attorney / sage Bob Lefsetz.
The subject line: “Fleetwood Mac on the road”
“What if they toured and no one cared?” Lefsetz began. “They’ve gone back to the well so many times, burned out so many markets, that to think they’re just gonna put tickets up for sale and sell out is to believe the Democrats and Republicans are gonna settle their financial disagreements by the end of the day.”
Clever, and probably true. To Lefsetz thinking this tour is basically a consumer ripoff.
“They charge too much and deliver the same old thing – but without Christine McVie it’s a cash grab and the only people who can’t see it are the rich too blind to know the tickets they’re overpaying for will not make them look good when they show up the next day and say they were in attendance,” Lefsetz adds. “Yup, that’s what sells the expensive ducats. Pricks who just want to say they were there. Who come late, talk through the show and leave early. Who probably weren’t even fans in the seventies. At least the Stones had a hook. The fiftieth anniversary.”
Fleetwood Mac as its fans once knew them is o-v-e-r, “and the fact that the band doesn’t realize this amazes me,” Lefsetz adds . “The Who are doing terrible numbers. Not even filling half an arena in some cases. We got it. You need the money. You’re missing half the band and we’ve seen you ad infinitum.”
Lefsetz bottom line on Fleetwood Mac and other dinosaur classic rockers:
“I’m not saying the Mac doesn’t have a right to go on the road.
“But I am saying that when you put money in front of music, we get to point out the emperor has no clothes, that you’re living in the wrong decade, that you’re representative of everything that’s wrong with our country, where concerts are not life-changing events but financial affairs wherein you pay your multiple mortgages and the only people who get a good seat are the ones who employ subterfuge or overpay or both.
“We thought classic rock would rule until the end. But what we find out is these greedy people end up exposing their mercenary ways and become positively creepy, turning us off.
“Thank god the records are perfect. They can’t be changed.”
No wonder Fleetwood Mac put tix on sale before Christmas, nearly five months before the concert.