In the '70s and '80s, few rock bands were as powerful - or as popular - as Fleetwood Mac. The long-running British-based combo started off as a blues-based group in the '60s, but in 1975 crystallized their most famous line-up: founders Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass) and McVie's then-wife Christine (vocals/keyboards) welcomed singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks - themselves a couple at the time - to the fold.
You probably know most of what happens next: romantic break-ups, infighting, drugs, and - against all odds - a string of smash hit albums including 1977's Rumours, one of the most popular LPs in history. The classic quintet is what fans still come back to today; although they've not stayed that way ever since (currently Buckingham is out of the band), they remain a high watermark for classic rock.
In 2021, Rhino Records released a deluxe version of the band's 1980 Live release, featuring the original double album on two CDs and two LPs, plus a bonus 7" of demos and an extra CD of tracks from the band's live tours (the same sets where the original album was sourced from, plus more). The label wanted us to tell the Classic Rockers faithful that it's on sale for Memorial Day weekend: 15% off, and free shipping on all orders over $50 - just like this one. And in that spirit, we're also showing off some of our favorite tracks from that bonus disc, if you weren't already convinced of how much you need to check this out!
Of all the 15 bonus cuts on the Live box, it might be "The Chain" that's most surprising to not have made the original album. (Maybe that's present hindsight speaking: though never a single, it's become one of Rumours' most-enduring cuts.) This version, cut during the tour to support 1979's Tusk, features powerful vocals from Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie - not a perfect replica of their tight harmonies in-studio, but a surefire display of their fiery command of the world's biggest arenas.
"The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown)"
The original Live album drew almost entirely from tracks the Mac laid down as a quintet - the only concession to longtime fans being a rendition of the Peter Green-penned guitar jam "Oh Well." The Live bonus disc has another one of Green's contributions to the classic rock canon (and his last for the band): a version of the psychedelic "The Green Manalishi (with the Two-Pronged Crown)," committed to tape during the band's Rumours tour. As ever, the song is a sturdy showcase for its singer and guitarist - in this case, the one and only Buckingham - and while it's not the most in-your-face track on the record, sonically, it's a nice salute to the band's storied past.
The studio version of "Tusk" was a fever dream of sorts, augmented by bursts of chords from the University of Southern California's marching band. While this live version features no such brass, it does have a more breakneck tempo, punctuated by some drum theatrics by Fleetwood. You'll want to catch your breath after this version, too.
One of the nice bonuses about the Live bonus disc is it includes a few tracks that were recorded after the album was originally released - that is, from 1982's tour in support of Mirage, the quintet's last tour for some 15 years. One of the highlights from this period is a lively rendition of the Christine McVie-penned hit "Hold Me," in which she, Buckingham and Nicks take control of the track, shifting the familiar rhythm of the vocally-layered chorus for a more stripped-down - but still richly harmonic - approach.