Lighting Strikes, Maybe Once, Maybe Twice … Fleetwood Mac’s “Mirage” Deluxe Box Set proves a timeless treasure

Every now again an album you once loved and haven’t listened to in ages comes creeping back into your life taking you on an emotional roller coaster ride through the past.

All of the highs and lows that are associated with the time that album arrived in your life come rushing back over you like a tidal wave of sound – sometimes leaving you warm and satisfied and other times just leaving you cold and wet.

Well, with Fleetwood Mac’s album “Mirage” I’ve been taking a very enjoyable warm ride back to 1982.

A year ago this September a new Deluxe Edition of “Mirage” was released that included three CDs filled with the remastered album plus outtakes and alternate versions from the sessions that produced the album plus a live show performed in Los Angeles from October 1982.

A fourth disc contains a DVD with a 5.1 Surround mix of the album along with a 24/96 HiRez stereo version for those folks who really enjoy hearing their music spread out around them or all polished up in pristine high quality sound.

A vinyl Lp of the album is also part of the package and adds a nice touch of vintage that makes this package a real treat – at least for me.

As for the album, it’s always been one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac albums.

I can see how at the time some critics viewed the album as a retreat back to the style of the mega successful 1977 “Rumours” album after the much more experimental 2 Lp “Tusk” album from 1979 but I’ve always found the album to be quite good especially Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks’ material.

Stevie Nicks in particular was at her vocal peak and could sing anything and infuse it with passion and on these sessions she sounds superb.

Two of her songs, the country tinged “That’s Alright” and the rockier “Straight Back”, are two of my personal favorites of her Fleetwood Mac material and it’s a treat to hear the vinyl album version of the latter song (on CD Disc 2) as it was replaced with a remixed version for the CD age.

The nice thing about this set is that with the addition of the outtake material from the sessions, this set takes on a more “Tusk”ish vibe especially Lindsay Buckingham’s material for it was Buckingham who was the architect of the “Tusk” album and the one most prone to being experimental.

Hearing his works in progress gives me a new appreciation for his material on this album which I’ve always felt could be a bit too quirky for me at times.

Maybe it’s the from the vantage of time or my own advancing age but I like Lindsay’s songs on this album much better now especially the rawer versions of this material on the outtakes disc.

You can now make a nice double album from the material on this new Deluxe Edition which could definitely now be seen as a step brother to the terrific “Tusk” which to this day is my favorite Fleetwood Mac album.

Some of the lovely Stevie Nicks songs like the outtakes “If You Were My Love”and “Smile at You” (later part of the “Say You Will” album) along with Lindsay Buckingham’s very Brian Wilson infused cover of “Cool Water” (which was the B-Side to “Gypsy”) and his “Goodbye Angel” really flesh these sessions out and make for a much more interesting collection of songs.

This album will forever be tied to my sophomore year in high school and one of my first part-time jobs (hanging letters for advertisement signs at a local shopping center) and the video for “Gypsy” which was a stable of the early days of MTV.

Ahhh, to be young again.

With this album I am young once more and through this new set the album takes on a much deeper and eclectic feel through the discarded songs left sitting in Fleetwood Mac’s vaults for all these years.

“And you will fly
Like some little wing
Straight back to the sun
The dream was never over
The dream has just begun”  – Stevie Nicks “Straight Back” from Mirage 

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