NEW YORK (AP) — Rock ‘n’ roll’s dysfunctional family, Fleetwood Mac, joined with artists paying tribute to their work to raise $7 million for down-on-their luck musicians at a benefit in Radio City Music Hall on Friday.
The annual MusiCares fundraiser, held each year just before the Grammys, like the awards show was in New York for the first time in 15 years. Fleetwood Mac, made whole again recently when Christine McVie rejoined after a 15-year hiatus, have mellowed and grown more appreciative of their career since their drug-taking, partner-swapping heyday.
“Not very far below the level of dysfunction is what really exists and what we’re feeling now more than ever in our career, which is love,” said member Lindsey Buckingham.
The band capped the benefit with a five-song mini-set, including the sprawling, experimental “Tusk” and Buckingham’s classic kiss-off, “Go Your Own Way.” Before that, they listened to artists like Lorde, HAIM, OneRepublic and Miley Cyrus perform their songs.
Former President Bill Clinton was on hand, joined by wife Hillary in the audience, to honor the band whose song “Don’t Stop” was the theme for Clinton’s 1992 campaign. He said the song was played for him more than “Hail to the Chief.”
“I owe them more than any of you do, and I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” he said.
Clinton and Fleetwood Mac have something else in common: They’ve both won two Grammys in their careers; Clinton’s was for spoken-word recordings.
Stevie Nicks barely held back tears in recalling the 2017 MusiCares honoree, Tom Petty, who died last fall. Petty’s daughter Adria was Fleetwood Mac’s guest on Friday. Nicks said she knew Petty was ill last year and should have cancelled the concert tour that ended a week before his death.
“My heart will never get over this,” she said.
Nicks said she was turning 70 in a few months and marveled that Fleetwood Mac now has several generations of fans. “We have 90-year-old fans,” she said. “They’re still out there. They just can’t make it to our shows.”
As the voluble Nicks went on, McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood danced a waltz behind her. “I should have been a teacher, don’t you think?” Nicks said.
She said the band took particular pleasure in hearing younger artists interpret their work, since it brought her back to the time she wrote the words. It was special, too, she noted, since Fleetwood Mac’s songs haven’t been covered that much.
Lorde was a show-stopper, stalking the stage and tossing her jacket aside as she sang Nicks’ “Silver Spring.” Other women — the three sisters in HAIM (“Gypsy”) and a sparkly-suited Cyrus (“Landslide”) — also tackled Nicks’ compositions.
The Latin artist Juanes stuck with English for his cover of “Hold Me.” Alison Krauss, joined by Jerry Douglas on dobro, did a slow and affecting take on McVie’s “Songbird.” Keith Urban had an energetic take on Buckingham’s “Second Hand News.”
Jared Leto, dressed all in white and backed by a choir, sang “Never Going Back Again” and remarked how his mother would constantly play the classic Mac album “Rumours” as he was growing up.
“I just want to say thank you to Fleetwood Mac for the inspiration, for the music, for changing my life and changing the lives of so many people here,” Leto said.
On the red carpet earlier, stars discussed the white roses they wore in support of the Times Up anti-sexual misconduct campaign.
“It’s something that is long, long overdue,” Mick Fleetwood said. “And I think the dust needs not to settle for quite a while. While this has really been understood, it’s not OK for that sort of behavior.”
Keith Urban said “turning all the talk into action is key.”
“It should be a movement, and not just a moment. … It can’t just be the colored wristband for this month, right?”