Stevie en Lindsey ( Oberhausen 2003) - eigendo...

The thing I find most puzzling about the O2 are the people who just go there for a night out as if it was some kind of attractive destination. The dome is ugly, cavernous, full of global franchises, designed to suck money out of you the minute you arrive. The seats are uncomfortable, the view pretty terrible, and the prospect of getting out and onto a tube train at the end of an event is an angst-inducing bucket of stress.

My phone reception died on arrival (I’m not on O2, natch), so I was unable to tweet my joy as we waited for the gig to start. The ticket prices were excessive, so we were inevitably surrounded by braying Tories in red trousers (well, one, which is enough to make you feel surrounded). As usual, people’s need to constantly be drinking at gigs vexed me, as did their habit of arriving in their seats at the last possible moment – and then leaving for the bar/toilet at regular intervals. The first mass rush to the bar/toilet happened about two songs into the Fleetwood Mac set. This was when Lindsay Buckingham introduced a new song (Sad Angel?), which was actually quite good. It’s obvious that the more you drink (at, what? £5 a glass?), the more you’ll need to go to the toilet, especially if you’re well over 50.

I don’t get it.

I’m about 60/40 on the Mac. My oldest daughter was the one who was desperate to see them, so we went on the basis that nobody’s getting a big birthday present this year. When Fleetwood Mac are good, they’re very, very good, but there were a number of longeurs when it all got a bit noodly for my taste. To be fair, Tom Petty and Springsteen can be guilty of noodlism, too, so it’s a problem not confined to the Mac. And I’ve seen whole Dylan gigs that were all noodle.

Lindsay Buckingham is an oddly intense individual: in an industry of oddballs, he still seems odd. On the other hand, he is a fucking fantastic guitar player. Stevie Nicks is the Bob Dylan of women*. The whole “bring your girlfriend” thing is a laugh, but she was the reason at least half of the audience was there. Women love Stevie, and so do I. Mick Fleetwood is a heavy-handed drummer, but in combination with John McVie, forms part of a phenomenal rhythm section. There’s nothing quite like a Fleetwood Mac groove.

Because it was a school night, I insisted we left before the encore. I know this is anathema, but as much as I love music, I hate the tradition of gigs finishing late. If you want to play three hours, fucking turn up on stage at seven o’clock and give people a less stressful journey. We left at around 10:30 and it took us 2 hours to get home. The O2 is a long way from anywhere. We had a late night at school the following evening, too, so I’m currently running on fumes.

Anyway: the ones they played that I like, they were brilliant. The ones they played that I found boring, I found boring. Christine didn’t turn up, and there was only one song in the encore set that I would have liked to have seen (“Don’t Stop”, natch). The view, from about halfway back on the floor, was shite. My wife, 30cm shorter than me, basically couldn’t see anything. Next time, I’ll avoid the floor seats.

If there is a next time. As I tweeted afterwards, I think I got my £40-worth. Unfortunately, the tickets were £80 each. Plus booking fee. Plus postage. Plus the train journey. Plus the meal. All in all, I’ve booked family holidays that were cheaper.


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