Going their own way

Dayton Philharmonic performs Landslide: Music of Fleetwood Mac

By Tim Walker

Photo: Dayton Philharmonic’s Rockin’ Orchestra presents Landslide: The Music of Fleetwood Mac at the Schuster Nov. 4

Fleetwood Mac. The very name itself conjures up decades of musical memories, images of top hats, swirling scarves, and marching bands, as well as rumors of fighting, break-ups, drugs, tears, and backstage madness—the wretched excess of the 1970s. But it is the music, those wonderful, magical, classic songs, that has tied it all together and kept fans enthralled for decades. “Rhiannon.” “Don’t Stop.” “Go Your Own Way.” “Tusk.” “Gold Dust Woman.” “Dreams.”

On Friday, Nov. 4, the Dayton Philharmonic pays tribute to the band when it presents Landslide: The Music of Fleetwood Mac as the latest offering in its Rockin’ Orchestra series, sponsored by Dayton Freight. The one-time-only performance will feature conductor Patrick Reynolds leading the Philharmonic along with a group of talented rock musicians as they perform a concert of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular hits. The Rockin’ Orchestra series, which began with the 2013-14 season, has presented some amazing evenings of music, featuring tributes to artists such as Journey, Paul McCartney, and the Rolling Stones, and the upcoming Landslide performance promises to be no different.

“I’ve loved Fleetwood Mac all of my life,” Jennifer Jo Oberle says.

Oberle is a professional bassist, vocalist, composer, arranger, and songwriter based in Los Angeles. Her touring and recording credits include Five for Fighting, Vertical Horizon, and Denny Laine. She will perform with the Dayton Philharmonic for the first time during the show, and she also wrote all of the music charts for the evening’s performance. Her love for the material and the band is obvious.

Rumours was one of the first records I bought as a child,” she continues. “Back in those days, I actually looked forward to having a cold because it made me sound more like Stevie Nicks! My love for the band, its members, and its unique history only evolved through time. It seemed like a natural progression to have been asked to create the orchestral arrangements for the show, since I was already planning to do it on my own eventually.”

Blues guitarist Peter Green formed the original Fleetwood Mac in London in 1967, and drummer Mick Fleetwood was a charter member. Bassist John McVie joined a bit later—the band had taken its name from their last names. McVie’s wife, Christine, would join and add her piano and vocal magic to the lineup after Green’s departure in 1969, and after a few more lineup changes, Americans Lindsey Buckingham and the ethereal Stevie Nicks, a couple at the time, joined in late 1974. This version of the band would prove to be the most enduring, and the most popular, with the 1977 album Rumours going on to sell more than 45 million copies worldwide and becoming the sixth highest-selling album of all time in the United States. The album, filled with songs that detailed the breakups of the band members’ romantic relationships, yielded four hit singles and is one of the most popular rock albums ever released.

When asked if she has a particular favorite song from the band, Oberle says, “Like most iconic band collections, it’s tough to choose favorites because as a listener, I hear the songs not only as singular works, but also as an evolution of the collective. There have also been times where I’ve preferred one songwriter over the other. I would probably have a different answer for you depending on the day.  My favorite album has always been Tusk—it just seemed like such a uniquely revealing record to me. Each member had some incredible moments of vulnerability.  There are moments of anger from Lindsey, heartbreak from Stevie, closure from Christine, and utter chaos from Mick. If I were to choose a favorite song to perform, at this moment I would say ‘The Chain.’  We in the band all have very unique voices that work very well with each other. The blend is magical.”

“The way it works is really kind of exciting,” Reynolds says. “These are packaged shows, and the bands that cover the charts, that’s the coolest thing—they are absolute pros, on top of their game. I always think that young musicians who want to be professional performers should come hang out at the rehearsals for these concerts because these guys come in, and the audience sees it as all fun and entertainment, but the truth is they’re just hard-line professional musicians. And they just lay it down.”

“I don’t know if you realize this,” Reynolds continues. “But we just have one rehearsal. We usually rehearse the day of the concert, and we don’t meet the musicians in advance. I’ll have about a half-hour meeting with them, that’s usually a sort of ‘OK, who starts this one?’ ‘Who counts this one off?’ It’s just a very brief get-to-know-you session, and it’s a good example of how musicians ‘get’ each other. Even though the classical musicians come from a different tradition from the rock musicians, we get together for this short amount of time, and all of those musical instincts just kind of click.”

The Dayton Philharmonic presents Landslide: The Music of Fleetwood Mac Friday, Nov. 4 at the Schuster Center, 1 W. Second St. in downtown Dayton. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $29 to $81. For tickets and more information, please visit  TicketCenterStage.com and DaytonPerformingArts.org.


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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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