Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac’s breathtaking performance of ‘Landslide’ in 1978
The beautiful love song ‘Landslide’ ranks highly among an already impressive setlist for Fleetwood Mac. It’s a song that is certainly a part of the group’s iconography but can more correctly be charted back to one singer. With Stevie Nicks taking the microphone and singing her song from the very bottom of her heart, it’s always been a shining moment in the lasting group’s live show.
It seems that this fact dates back to the song’s very inception as below we bring you a rarely seen clip of Stevie Nicks performing ‘Landslide’ on the final night of their infamous ‘Rumours Tour’. It was a moment that nobody in the theatre would forget and one which typified why Stevie Nicks was such a vital piece of the band.
The track is, of course, a love song, though it’s not quite about what you might imagine. Far from an ode to her then-partner Lindsey Buckingham, the song is, in fact, a love letter to Nicks’ career and passion, arguably the only true love of her life—music. It’s a notion which adds an extra level of complexity to the track. A complexity charged even further when performed live.
The singer has always been delicate when bringing the song out, either with Fleetwood Mac or on her solo tours, as the track is one of those numbers that feels extra special to her audience and, we might guess, her too. Poignantly flecked with promise and hope, Nicks has always been careful to deliver the song in the right way and at the right time with the right tone.
She does so on this performance too. Brought to us by the Fleetwood Mac archivist extraordinaire Jeremy Doe, the grainy bootleg footage sees Nicks trill across the notes with the feathered-touch of a white dove all the while she delicately caresses her face with a rose, smiling at her adoring audience and understanding their connection to her work and, by proxy, her too.
Now, this is the Rumours tour, and well all know exactly how confrontational and chaotic the recording of that album was. The band’s interpersonal connections were quickly separating as John and Christie McVie and Buckingham and Nicks both split from one another during the writing and recording process. Mick Fleetwood also lost his marriage during the recording. Some were calling the LP cursed before it landed.
When you inflate this with the copious amounts of cocaine the band were consuming, it’s easy to surmise that this performance could be a little ragged. But, if there’s one thing that Fleetwood Mac can do, it is pulling a performance out of the bag. No matter their personal issues, the band were still consummate professionals. Nicks (though likely high as a kite) delivers a sumptuous performance of her trademark number and takes the audience along with her.
The video was shot on the final night of the World Tour following their huge success with Rumours and offered the band some respite from recording Tusk. As they blew their way across all hemispheres the band closed out the tour in Largo, Maryland with this ginormous performance.
Watch below as Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac deliver a beautiful ‘Landslide’ in 1978.