Friday night’s Fleetwood Mac show proves long-lived band are as good as they ever were.
It’s easier to go back if you never really left in the first place.
Appearing as one of the last bastions of the classic rock era, the otherworldly lineup that created one of the great records in rock-and-roll history is back and fully intact.
Unlike the last Fleetwood Mac visit to Calgary just under two years ago, the classic MK II incarnation of singer-keyboardist Christine McVie, bassist (and ex-husband John McVie), singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, (ex-wife and) singer Stevie Nicks, and drummer and band namesake, Mick Fleetwood, delivered a familiar and welcome 24-song hit-heavy setlist to a delirious sold-out gathering of boomers and beyond at the Scotiabank Saddledome last night.
On a frigid early winter’s night, and from the opening strains of The Chain (which featured some outstanding fretwork courtesy of Buckingham) and You Make Loving Fun, it became abundantly clear just what kind of night would be in store.
The latter was a Christine vocal lead which received long, loud applause from the second she opened her mouth. ‘Welcome back, Christine,” Nicks smiled at the song’s conclusion. “She’s not telling us where she’s been for the past 16 years!”
It was only the front-end of what has always promised to be a timeless walk down rock-and-roll memory lane with an act as storied for its inter-band romantic dalliances as its classic material. And that’s no knock on the muse that made Fleetwood Mac relatable to, well, anyone who has ever loved or lost another human being. Yes, that would be all of us.
On a modest, but well lit and extra large stage, the incomparable Nicks took the lead for Dreams (a song she penned for that landmark ’77 album, Rumours), before Buckingham shone vocally and musically on Second Hand News.
While many long-time fans may have experienced this before, younger fans and the uninitiated had a look of disbelief while singing and swaying to Rhiannon (another Nicks trademark) and Everywhere, which again featured McVie in her full return to glory . . . heck, even better than you remembered from a band you may have been born into.
The chemistry, tension and otherworldly talent of these five individuals feeding off each other seemed uncanny in the mid-70s, and it remains unchanged nearly four decades later. Each is captivating in their own right — and for different reasons. But together, man, it is still something magical . . . indescribable, even.
While the applause that the returning McVie received was warm and sincere, and it’s clear that Nicks still thrills fans when she sweeps across the stage, it’s Buckingham that was and is the glue. He led his band of merry men and women through I Know I’m Not Wrong, the experimental title track from ‘79s Tusk, Sisters Of The Moon, Say You Love Me and, especially, Big Love.
The group collectively poured it on with Seven Wonders (another McVie vocal highlight), Landslide, Gypsy, Little Lies, Gold Dust Woman (Nicks’ tour de force during a Friday evening filled with highlights) and main set closer, Go Your Own Way.
On a night which many in attendance wished would never end, the group sent the crowd to the exits with World Turning, Silver Springs and a stunning version of Don’t Stop which had every man, woman, boy and girl singing, clapping and dancing.
Maybe Fleetwood Mac will be back again one day . . . but could it possibly be this great?
Attendance – 13,500 (SOLD-OUT)
4 stars (out of five)
Gerry Krochak / Calgary Sun / Friday, November 14, 2014