The acceptance speeches: “It’s been an incredible journey getting here”
After receiving the Outstanding Contribution To Music BRIT Award, drummer Mick Fleetwood thanked founding member and former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green for starting the band. “I better make a good speech, ’cause I’m dressed like Hamlet,” Fleetwood joked, before continuing, “A short one in terms of what this means to this band, Fleetwood Mac, that was formed way back in 1967 by Mr Peter Green; and thank you, Peter. It’s been an incredible journey getting here – ups and downs. And most of all I think the lesson we’ve learned is that the love for music is something that’s got us through a great deal of turmoil from time to time. And we’re here, we’re alive and well, but most of all really happy, so God bless and thank you.”
Christine McVie followed Fleetwood with a short and heartfelt speech of her own: “We’re usually quite happy to let Mick do all the talking, but I just wanted to thank the BRIT Awards and Great Britain for this great honour, and were so thrilled, we’re speechless. Thank you so much.”
Finally, Stevie Nicks underlined the importance of the award to the band: “And I just wanna say thank you for inviting us to England and thank you for giving us this award. It really matters to us. You’re so special, thank you so much.”
The performance: Go Your Own Way, Don’t Stop
After receiving the award, the road-honed Fleetwood Mac launched into a punky, tempestuous Go Your Own Way, singer Lindsey Buckingham delivering the lyric with a passion that suggested the song’s subject matter – his 1976 breakup with Stevie Nicks – felt as fresh as ever. Almost immediately, the audience were on their feet – a far cry from the staid atmosphere that can often hinder awards shows.
The gutsy, attitude-filled performance suggested that the reunited Fleetwood Mac were not particularly interested in coasting along on an easy victory lap. That was confirmed by a rollicking rendition of Christine McVie’s Don’t Stop, the three vocalists giving the lyrics “It’ll be better than before/Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone” extra emphasis before Buckingham’s thrilling guitar solo ups the energy levels even further.
Christine McVie leaves the group
Though the short set at the BRIT Awards was further proof that Fleetwood Mac could still deliver high-octane performances, and that audiences still adored the group, the high was short-lived. Soon after accepting the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution To Music, Christine McVie announced that she would be leaving the band, citing as her reason a fear of flying. McVie subsequently retreated from public life, and Fleetwood Mac went on a brief hiatus, broken when Buckingham initiated a reunion for 2003’s Say You Will, an album on which McVie earned a credit as a guest musician. And still, their story was far from over…
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