- Khiltscher/Wikimedia Commons
- That hat is totally metal.
Fleetwood Mac plays Allstate Arena on Valentine’s Day, a shrewd coincidence considering that a lot of the band’s most famous music is about the myopic despair and damaged behavior that ensues after a relationship goes sour. Anyone who still doesn’t “get” Fleetwood Mac likely has them pegged as shallow, wispy soft-rock narcissists. Well, OK, they are shallow, wispy soft-rock narcissists—but they’re also a band that slyly challenged presumptions at every turn, playing metal-disco (“World Turning”), sophisticated folk (“Never Going Back Again”), mystical female blues ballads (“Gold Dust Woman”), punk (“The Ledge”), Beach Boys-style pop (“That’s All for Everyone”), and prog (“Tusk”). Their live shows were a whole different matter, wherein the rambunctious blooz bashing of the McVie-Fleetwood rhythm session was corralled by Christine McVie’s silky keyboards and Lindsey Buckingham’s mercurial guitar playing.
On this video of the Mac playing an outdoor arena in 1976, you can see the band basically playing full-on metal on a rendition of “I’m So Afraid,” the closer of their self-titled album. There’s Fleetwood’s Tolkien-esque character crashing his kit with his gangly limbs, Stevie Nicks wearing a black shroud in the middle of the heat, and Buckingham tapping into his inner Marc Bolan with an enormous cauliflower-shaped hair helmet, heavy riffs, and a finger-shredding solo. Watch the heaviest performance of the Mac on tape, then try and catch the most perverse Valentine’s Day concert in years.