After a 16-year hiatus, Christine McVie was back playing keyboards for Fleetwood Mac as they opened their tour at Target Center on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.
Fleetwood Mac’s sold-out show Tuesday at the Target Center proved one thing that everyone already knew: There has been a Christine McVie-size hole in the band for the past 16 years. Not anymore, though, as Tuesday’s concert kicked off the first Mac tour to feature the entire “Rumours”-era lineup since 1998. Now 71, McVie has emerged from retirement looking and sounding like she hasn’t aged a day.
Drummer Mick Fleetwood said it best, with 17,000 fans cheering him on: “Our songbird is back!”
McVie’s return to the fold not only allowed the group to reintroduce “You Make Loving Fun,” “Everywhere” and “Little Lies” back into the set, her presence brought fresh energy and excitement to the entire proceedings. The band, sans McVie, played St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center in April 2013, but Tuesday night in Minneapolis, they felt like a different band altogether.
Early on, the set crackled with a certain nervous energy from the stage, especially during the rockers “The Chain” and “Second Hand News.” It was charming to see a bunch of old pros actually sweat a little bit while missing the occasional note or chugging ahead a little too fast. Soon after, though, the band locked into a groove together, with McVie’s vocals and keyboards adding an extra dimension throughout the show, which fell just short of 2 1/2 hours.
Each band member seemed to be operating at full speed, including rock-steady bassist John McVie, fresh from battling cancer last fall.
The oft-grumpy Lindsey Buckingham took the opportunity to focus on his blazing guitar work. “I’m So Afraid” ended with a solo that had middle-aged guys literally rushing up to the lip of the stage to cheer him on. Stevie Nicks turned in some of her finest Mac vocals in ages. She also took the opportunity to thank the cable drama “American Horror Story” after she wrapped “Seven Wonders.” (That song, and Nicks herself, played a key role in the show’s last season.
An acoustic set midway through the set offered a trio of songs that had the audience swooning, and occasionally tearing up: “Big Love,” “Landslide” and “Never Going Back Again.” The vibes were so good, it was even easy to forgive Professor Buckingham for telling us he now sees “Big Love” as “a meditation on the power and importance of change.”
The ageless McVie thanked the band and the crowd, cooing: “It’s a dream come true, a chance you don’t often get in life.” Everyone on stage shared that jovial mood, with Nicks, Buckingham and Fleetwood each taking time out to praise her, with wide grins that suggested they were serious.
Fleetwood Mac has already started work on a new album, which means this probably won’t be a one-off reunion.
As Buckingham himself said from the stage: “This is a band that continues to evolve through good times and adversity. This is just, I guess, the latest chapter. It’s a beautiful, profound, poetic new chapter now that this lady is back with us. And it’s a chapter that is going to go on for a while, a chapter that is going to yield much fruit. We are very, very excited.”
By Ross Raihala / Pioneer Press / Tuesday, September 30, 2014