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Article Buckingham McVie Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Buckingham & McVie go their own way

One of the laws of the universe is that galaxies cluster and are bound together by gravity.

They rarely escape from each other, and such is the case in the unlikely, but thoroughly lovely, gravitational attraction between Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie.

The legendary Fleetwood Mac members — McVie rejoined the once-volatile fold in 2014 after a 15-year hiatus — brought their acclaimed Buckingham/McVie tour to the Majestic Theatre on Tuesday. They are on the road promoting a new duo album.

Both were in incredibly good voice – Buckingham much more powerful and emotional than on record; McVie as velvety voiced and wistful as ever — and their pairing is a reminder of what they brought to Fleetwood Mac in its heyday.

Buckingham is all about kinetic passion and exquisite precision. McVie adds simmering soul and something of a genteel British hippie vibe.

Some 1,500 fans took it all in.

The show opened with the two walking onstage and performing a slowed down, acoustic version of Buckingham’s “Trouble.”

Buckingham finger-picked the familiar hook. At times, like the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn used to do, he managed rhythm and melody simultaneously.

McVie, standing behind her keyboard rig, added the faintest hint of synth behind the muscular vocal. Then it was her turn on Fleetwood Mac’s “Wish You Were Here.”

The two were setting the stage to introduce the new material. But Buckingham was not going quietly into the night, easing the crowd into the show. His take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” achieved a new level of defiance.

It garnered the first standing ovation of the night.

The first new song, the chiming “Sleeping Around the Corner,” was song number five in the set and was performed with four additional musicians.
Buckingham talked about the duo’s album.

“It’s not something we saw coming,” he explained, describing it as an unlikely but “very happy occurrence.”

Obviously, it’s impossible not to conjure Fleetwood Mac with the new songs. It’s in the bounce, the arrangement and the Buckingham sheen.

But other elements sneak in. There is a poppy Talking Heads/Blondie/R.E.M vibe to “Feel Around You,” and “In My World” recalls, at times, Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” with a little Hall & Oates.

McVie stepped out from behind her keyboards to shake maracas and belt out the blues rocker “Too Far Gone.”

The two kept the energy up with “Hold Me,” a reminder of how their vocal blend was a touchstone of mid- and late ’70s pop.

“Little Lies” and a raucous take on “Tusk,” with McVie on keyboard accordion, found Buckingham singing as if under a spell.

The new “Love Is Here to Stay” made the case that the duo’s pairing was, as Buckingham put it, a karmic gift.

These are adult love songs of the highest order, and evidence that the project was collaboration of music and emotion.

Buckingham and McVie prove that it’s possible to follow one’s muse, take a chance and make some great pop and folk-pop music. That they’re also able to gift-wrap it with monster hits like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Go Your Own Way” is part of the magic and history of their universe.

Hector Saldana is curator of the Texas Music Collection at The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.

Hector Saldana / My San Antonio / Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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Article Buckingham McVie Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie revive Fleetwood Mac magic, minus the drama

Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie revive Fleetwood Mac magic, minus the drama, at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater.

Here’s the beautiful thing about a concert by Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, as opposed to a concert by Fleetwood Mac: There’s no drama. There is no forced theatricality, no overwrought play-acting, no nostalgic dance to dance for the graying, paying Boomers in the crowd.

Instead what you get is two old friends playing music – some of it old, some of it new, and all of it, more often than not, with a smile.

“This is not something we really saw coming,” Buckingham said during their Thursday at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. “It was kind of a surprise.”

Indeed it was, McVie’s return to Fleetwood Mac in 2014 after a 15-year-absence. Rejoining the band rekindled McVie’s creative spirit, and she and Buckingham – two of the Mac’s primary songwriters, along with Stevie Nicks – paired off for this year’s album Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, and a smaller-venue tour as a duo. Call it Halfwood Mac – not the full experience, but pleasantly different and fulfilling.

Buckingham, 68, and McVie, 74, opened with four acoustic duets, him on guitar and her on keys, an intimate staging that showed off the husky humanity in their voices. There was Buckingham’s delicate solo number “Trouble”; Fleetwood Mac’s rarely played 1982 track “Wish You Were Here,” the newer Buckingham single “Shut Us Down” and the iconic Rumours single “Never Going Back Again,” with Buckingham’s voice flaring from a whisper to a snarl in an instant. Together they harmonized with the ease of old partners, every so often you’d catch one grinning or clapping for the other.

Certainly, Buckingham’s showiest tendencies at times overwhelmed the stage – “I’m So Afraid,” for example, which ballooned and bloated into a monstrous, bluesy shredfest, with the singer kicking, vamping and screaming until he was left hunched and panting at the end. But when it works, it definitely works. “Tusk,” that furious, tribal freight train of an anthem, got people dancing in the aisles down front, so much so that an accordion-rocking McVie shimmied over to dance with them.

McVie’s voice bore a touch of rust from her years off the road, but she wore it honestly on “Little Lies,” “Everywhere” and “You Make Loving Fun,” gamely enlivening their sweet, springy spirit. And it fared better on songs from the new album. Two of the album’s best – the sock-hoppy “Feel About You” and gentle, California-coastal “Red Sun” – sounded like classic McVie.

“Exchanging ideas across the ocean,” Buckingham said of the demos that led to their dual album, “we knew right away that there was something, that there was a spark.”

Watching McVie and Buckingham play together, it seemed like that spark hadn’t dimmed. Buckingham sidled up to McVie on the spry and springy “You Make Loving Fun,” and she gave him a happy little pat on the back. He did so again on “Go Your Own Way,” leaning into her until they embraced in a brotherly-sisterly hug.

This tour may be the only time Buckingham and McVie play their new duets live, but when Fleetwood Mac reconvenes for what could be its farewell tour in 2018, they should bring that camaraderie with them. All the drama gets old after a while. Just a few good songs and a few genuine songs between old friends, well, that could be a beautiful thing.

Jay Cridlin / Tampa Bay Times / Friday, November 10, 2017

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Article Buckingham McVie Concert Reviews

Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie feature plenty of Mac

Review: In Clearwater Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie’s attack features plenty of Mac at Ruth Eckerd Hall (w/photos + setlist). They’re both every bit as charming as ever, too.

The impact of a popular, beloved rock and roll band is felt when its solo members have the pull to draw large crowds to see them perform alone, and the mighty Fleetwood Mac is no exception. Whetting the appetite of dedicated Mac fans while the band is on what appears to be an indeterminable hiatus is the fine, sleek, pop-driven collaborative album that two of its key members released earlier this year, Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie. In light of the record’s unpredicted creation and success, this duo embarked on a limited run of tour dates to support the record and, luckily, Clearwater’s exquisite Ruth Eckerd Hall was included as a tour stop and hosted the pair (alongside its magnificent backing band) on Thursday night.

Kicking things off early, after an abbreviated set from up and coming California rock outfit Wilderado, Buckingham and McVie quietly walked out together onto the expansive, dark stage to begin their performance. Both clad in black, the pair emerged and quietly jumped into a hushed version of Lindsey’s solo hit from 1981, “Trouble.” With the aid of the acoustic guitar he’d strapped on and some subdued keyboard work from Christine, the poppy, rockabilly-inspired tune took on a darker, more somber edge but sounded magnificent. Buckingham is an ace guitarist and an emotive singer (which he’d more than prove for the duration of the 100-minute set) and he made that more than known right from the get-go. Utilizing the duo-only format for the first four songs of the set found the pair touching on some classics from its Mac days as well as on another Buckingham solo track. The focus was on the two headliners for the night’s prologue and McVie certainly made her presence known with her lovely, delicate reading of “Wish You Were Here,” the ballad that closes Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album, Mirage.

Before shifting gears into full-band mode, Buckingham spoke at length of how this duo project came together and how wonderful it was to have Christine McVie back in the spotlight after her extended decade-and-a-half break from music and a live concert stage, a statement that drew wild applause. And, with that, the full ensemble consisting of hard-hitting drummer Jimmy Paxson, and three guitarists rounded out the sound and added flourish to the performance. Diving head first into selections from their collaborative album, Lindsey and Christine instantly served up the two opening selections from the album, the catchy “Sleeping Around The Corner” and “Feel About You” back-to-back while sharing lead vocal duties and harmonizing together. A superb mix and the hall’s impeccable sound made the songs really come alive and, although some in attendance seemed unfamiliar with the material, the new stuff seemed to go over well.

But the audience really showed its appreciation when the long-missed McVie came from around her bank of keyboards to the front of the stage to show off her still sweet and soothing vocal abilities for the upbeat “Too Far Gone” on which she shook a pair of maracas while crooning. Though her vocals are a little aged and not quite able to reach the highest notes she used to hit, McVie, now 74, is still a gifted player and performer, and she can still belt out a hit song like few other veteran singer/songwriters can. And speaking of hits, the fierce reactions for the Mac mini-set that followed sure served to engage the nearly sold-out hall. The pair’s vocal harmonies were in fine shape for its reading of the pop classic “Hold Me.” A fever pitch was hit when the band tore into a ferocious version of quirky 1979 rocker “Tusk.” McVie strapped on an accordion and Buckingham nearly stole the show with his almost psychotic, desperate delivery of the song’s opening lines which helped to accentuate its deep, dark paranoia. His maniacal laughs throughout and his frantic pacing while playing made this the first of many show-stopping moments.

McVie ran into some vocal troubles during her solo spotlight on early Mac classic “You Make Loving Fun,” but quickly recovered and made the song a truly memorable part of the program. Another Buckingham jaw-dropping moment came on his extended, super-charged version of “I’m So Afraid,” a track from the first Fleetwood Mac album he appeared on in 1975. Showing off his indescribable skill and prowess as one of the most gifted and unique guitarists to ever play. and under a flood of beaming red lights, Lindsey entered other-worldliness with his passionate and possessed reading of the claustrophobic rocker.

A moment of heartfelt levity came during an inspired rendition of another Fleetwood Mac classic, the cutting, callous sentiment enveloped in a guise of a catchy pop song, “Go Your Own Way.” Buckingham worked his way to behind Christine’s keyboards and lovingly wrapped his arm around her shoulder and the two shared what appeared to be a sentimental smile which could have served as a nod to the collective fine job they’ve done of carrying on their musical legacy with this, their newest project.

A three-song encore included thorough, detailed individual band member introductions courtesy of Buckingham and closed with “Game Of Pretend,” one of McVie’s best ballads from the pair’s recent album and, arguably, her finest and most delicate and gorgeous vocal performance of the night. The hushed, shimmering beauty of the tune reminded everyone in the hall of the pop elegance she’s still capable of conjuring and how sorely missed she’s been missed from a live concert stage. It made for a fitting close to an enjoyable night filled with familiar classics, some surprises, and a hint of the fine material this talented pair of artists can still produce.

See more photos from the set below. Listen to a playlist featuring songs Buckingham & McVie played here. Read an interview with McVie here.

Setlist

  1. Trouble
  2. Wish You Were Here
  3. Never Going Back Again
  4. Shut Us Down
  5. Sleeping Around The Corner
  6. Feel About You
  7. In My World
  8. Too Far Gone
  9. Hold Me
  10. Little Lies
  11. Tusk
  12. Love Is Here To Stay
  13. Red Sun
  14. You Make Loving Fun
  15. I’m So Afraid
  16. Go Your Own Way
  17. Everywhere (encore)
  18. Lay Down For Free (encore)
  19. Game of Pretend (encore)

Gabe Echazabal and Tracy May / Creative Loafing Tampa Bay / Friday, November 10, 2017

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Article Buckingham McVie Concert Review Concert Reviews

Buckingham-McVie show they’re head, heart of Fleetwood Mac.

Stevie Nicks may be the face of Fleetwood Mac, and likely its most recognizable voice.

But Lindsey Buckingham is clearly the band’s head — author of many of its biggest hits, player of its distinctive guitar, master behind its sound with his production.

And Christine McVie may be its heart — the warm, welcoming vocal counter to Nicks’ emotional gypsy.

So you would expect that even though Buckingham and McVie’s current duo tour is to support their new self-titled, Top 20 album, they would carry many of Fleetwood Mac’s attributes into concert with them.

And indeed they did Friday at Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, on the last date of the tour’s first leg — to the point of playing almost as many Fleetwood Mac songs (nine) in the 19-song, hour-and-40-minute set than they did the new songs (10).

The songs weren’t always Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits, but they displayed the pair’s contributions to the band.

And the concert also showed how distinctive Buckingham and McVie are as solo artists.

That talent was on display immediately as the concert opened with Buckingham doing a slow, studied and acoustic version of his solo debut single hit, “Trouble” before being joined by McVie singing the deep Fleetwood Mac cut “Wish You Were Here,” warm and lovely.

Then Buckingham did the Fleetwood Mac song “Never Going Back Again” as a pained lament that was simply stunning. And he followed with an also-acoustic but angry and aggressive version of his “Shut Us Down.” His guitar work was as impressive as his voice.

For the rest of the show, the duo had a four-person band.

Saying she wanted to do older material “from the second century,” McVie kicked into Fleetwood Mac’s wonderful “Hold Me,” sounding more mature and mellow than the original arrangement — as if it had been seasoned over time.

“Little Lies” was still a great song, but McVie seemed to struggle with her higher range. Buckingham made up for it by growling on the chorus and playing great lead guitar. “Tusk” was as pretentious as ever, but darned if it still doesn’t have the power to make you move.

The middle of the set showed McVie at her Fleetwood Mac best, on “Hold Me,” the intense fleeing-love song hit from “Mirage.” And while it was McVie’s song, it also show how much Buckingham contributed with simply his high counter-voice.

Then “Little Lies” again showed how much the combination of McVie and Buckingham’s voices mean to Fleetwood Mac.

The Fleetwood Mac song that suffered most was McVie-voiced “You Make Loving Fun,” which felt weighted down by age, as McVie again fell short vocally.

The songs from the new disc were surprisingly strong. As Buckingham said, clearly the pair still can capture that band magic.

Early in the set, the chiming “Sleeping Around the Corner” sounded like Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac, both musically and vocally. Same for “Feel About You,” except for additional muscle. Buckingham’s masterful melody work was evident. The disc’s first single, “In My World,” was more the kind of song McVie did for the group.

The harder “Too Far Gone” sounded impressive, with heavy percussion and Buckingham’s searing guitar, but was a bit too obvious.

Later in the set, “Love is Here to Stay” was very much a Buckingham tune — lovely guitar and voice over a swirling melody, it’s an unusually hopeful love song. But the wistful, left-love “Red Sun” also was too obvious — saved only by Buckingham’s echo-y guitar.

It was something of a disappointment that McVie didn’t sing perhaps her best Fleetwood Mac song, “Over My Head.” The duo instead offered its B-side, “I’m So Afraid” — which made for a fine Buckingham guitar centerpiece (and his playing got a standing ovation from the near-sellout crowd). But the song was leadened under its own weight.

The duo made up for it by closing the main set with Buckingham’s kiss-off song “Go Your Own Way” — which still carries a beautifully bitterly sting after all these years, and was even stronger and meaner now.

And McVie got her chance, opening the encore with the beautifully bubbling “Everywhere,” which she sang great.

In an odd move, Buckingham-McVie closed with two new songs. “Lay Down for Free” sounded a lot like “Hold Me” — in a good way, clearly from Buckingham’s head. And the closing “Game of Pretend” was very much the kind of song to which McVie gave warmth — and heart — in Fleetwood Mac.

Sands Bethlehem Event Center
August 11, 2017

John J. Moser | The Morning Call | August 11, 2017

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2015 On With The Show Tour - Europe Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at Manchester Arena

Fleetwood Mac fans finally got to see the classic Rumours-era line-up reunited last night as Christine McVie joined ex-husband John McVie and bandmates Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on stage at Manchester Arena.

The singer – who is the songwriter and voice behind some of the band’s most enduring hits, including “Don’t Stop,” “Little Lies” and “You Make Loving Fun” – is back on the road with the band for the first time in 16 years for their On With The Show tour.

Fans were delighted to see her return – as was Stevie Nicks, who echoed the audience’s excitement as she squealed: “Our girl is BACK!”

None of the group showed any sign of the mystery illness that forced them to cancel their first show in Manchester last month as they played an unrelenting two and a half hour set.

Now all in their mid to late 60s except Christine, who is 71, they worked the stage with the energy of a group half their age, particularly Lindsey, whose virtuoso guitar playing stole the show.

There was no sign either of the turbulence that nearly tore the band apart during the making of Rumours, with ex-lovers Stevie and Lindsey sweetly clasping hands before dueting on a gorgeous stripped-back version of “Landslide” (we think we even saw Stevie wipe away a tear), while Christine and John appeared just as happy to be sharing a stage again.

“Our Songbird, you might say, has returned,” as Mick put it fondly – and there could only be one way to close the show as Christine sat down alone at a piano to sing her beautiful ballad.

The finale was the highlight of the show for many fans who had waited for years to hear her sing it again, but it was by no means the only standout moment.

From opener “The Chain” to the rousing singalong that accompanied “Go Your Own Way” and Mick’s manic drum solo, it was a five-star performance from start to finish. Even the weather seemed to agree, with fans leaving the arena to a “Dreams”-worthy chorus of thunder and rain outside.

Here is what fans thought about last night’s show:

https://twitter.com/ste_routledge/status/616377313253552128

https://twitter.com/MrIanEllison/status/616526526968950784

https://twitter.com/jade_hamilton91/status/616568611046559744

Emily Heward / Manchester Evening News / Thursday, July 2, 2015

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2015 On With The Show Tour - Europe Concert Reviews

Review: Fleetwood Mac @First Direct Arena, Leeds

A wild-eyed genius named Mick Fleetwood says it better than I ever could as Fleetwood Mac exit the stage – “The Mac is BACK!”

A blistering two hour and 20 minute set from the classic (yes, that word is ENTIRELY appropriate) Rumours-era line-up elicits one of the most passionate responses I have seen from an audience in my life.

A four-song opening shot from said record that made them famous the world over was always going to put us on the right foot.

“The Chain,” all close harmonies and blues guitar gives way to one of the most memorable of bass lines and Leeds is all theirs. “You Make Loving Fun,” “Dreams” and “Second Hand News” are all delivered as they should be, note perfect and intense.

The rock solid, bomb-proof rhythm section of Mr Fleetwood and his self-professed dearest friend John McVie form the bedrock of tonight’s show.

Highlights come from their front people throughout however.

Returning from a 17 year hiatus from music, Christine McVie still has the voice of an angel, as evidenced by set-closer “Songbird” and “Everywhere.”

Lindsay Buckingham storms around the stage like a man a quarter of his age, his distinctive finger-picking guitar style as ferocious and precise and it ever was. His solo-rendition of “Big Love” was a thing of majesty,

Best of all is centre-stage throughout. Stevie Nicks, 67, still mops the floor with any other front woman out there. During “Gold Dust Woman” she does not just command the stage but dominate it,

The highlight for this humble reviewer is “Landslide,” performed by the couple Buckingham and Nicks, whose well-documented fallings-out inspired so much of their greatest art, is tear-jerking. Stevie owns the spotlight, a magisterial performance.

Despite Mick’s bullish claim we will most-likely never see these five together again. But tonight’s gig capped a truly unique and inspirational career and cemented their legacy as one of the most special and unique rock n roll bands of all time.

The Mac is back? The Mac never left us and never will.

Mark Casci / Yorkshire Evening Post (UK) / Thursday, July 1, 2015

See more videos from this show!

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2015 On With The Show Tour - Europe Concert Reviews

REVIEW: A man who hates gigs reviews Fleetwood Mac at the O2

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Someone has got me a ticket to see Fleetwood Mac, you say? I love Fleetwood Mac. But hang on, I hate gigs. Love Fleetwood Mac. Hate gigs. Love Fleetwood Mac. Hate gigs. Oh well, let’s just get on with it then.

The O2 would be a sterile venue to host a conference of anti-bacterial spray manufacturers, let alone a concert of one of the world’s great rock bands, and the clientele were suitably hard to pin down. It was strange to go to a gig with no discernable tribes, unless fans of a carvery on a Sunday constitutes a tribe. It was like being on a Ryanair flight with 20,000 people.

Why do I hate gigs? Even when I was a teenager and went to a gig a week, I hated gigs. For starters, I experience enochlophobia (look it up). More importantly, I have always been so precious about music that it always seemed a particular perverse cruelty to have my experiences ruined by inevitable meatheads, who would always (and I mean, always) end up standing or sitting next to, behind, or in front of me. Since I refuse to enjoy myself, God punishes me by surrounding me with people who do.

And lo, George the meathead magnet strikes again. Behind me were five friends, who informed me that they had come all the way from Bristol to see their favourite band – and then talked through every song. It was all going exactly as I had expected. It was a shame that the sound at the O2 is so muffled and rough. It really is a music venue for people who don’t like music. I would have preferred a bit more volume and clarity, not only to drown out my paralytic-clown neighbours, but because I really wanted to listen to the band.

Fleetwood Mac are both brilliant and loveable, which is some combination. I overheard one woman saying, “I’m going to cry when they come on, I can feel it.” They opened with “The Chain”, a surefire way to get everyone on board, and its finale still resonates with intricate vocal layering that evokes the choir of an Orthodox church. From here they ran through their greatest hits, which was just fine by everyone, including me. It is worth noting that this is a band with three distinct but complementary songwriters of the highest calibre. There are very few other bands who can boast of such a musical arsenal and their songbook reflects this strength, rotating from the enthralling, edgy neurosis of Lindsey Buckingham to the dark femininity of Stevie Nicks followed by the pure light of Christine McVie’s perfect pop.

They have been buoyed by the return of Christine McVie, who restores the band to its classic Seventies and Eighties lineup (yes, I know it’s not the original lineup). Stevie Nicks appeared to be genuinely delighted to have McVie back and this love was echoed in the reaction of the audience to McVie’s songs, which got the loudest and warmest applause. McVie is an extraordinary woman. She looks like your mum’s best friend – Auntie Christine who works on the lingerie counter at M&S – but she has written some titanic songs: “You Make Loving Fun”, “Say That You Love Me”, “Little Lies”. She is consistently underappreciated.
Getty Images

Buckingham’s highlight (his guitar playing borders on superhuman at times) was his solo acoustic version of “Big Love”, a song which gets more unsettling, mysterious and enjoyable as it ages. He was clearly the hero of the one of my new friends, who was so drunk that in between informing those around him Buckingham was “a f***ing legend”, he forgot the legend’s name and began shouting “Lesley! Lesley!”

My enjoyment of the subtle, emotionally wrought harmonies of “Rhiannon” was impaired somewhat by the girl in the seat behind me yelling “Sit the f*** down” at her friends over and over and over again. She trumped this during Lesley, sorry Lindsey, Buckingham’s slowed-down version of “Never Going Back Again”, during which she loudly conceded, “I’m so drunk I can’t see,” as she kicked the back of chair like a toddler in economy class.

Buckingham made a speech about the band’s well-documented “ups and downs” and proclaimed a new “profound and prolific” era for the band. That was the herald for the dead hand of a new song, which, since no one knew or wanted to hear, meant hundreds of punters headed for the toilets and the bars. It was as if Fleetwood Mac had become their own support band nobody cared about. But I don’t think they noticed and it didn’t matter as the hits soon started rolling again.

Buckingham and Nicks sang “Happy Birthday” to Mick Fleetwood, whose enjoyment and drumming chops are clearly undimmed. He and John McVie – recovering from cancer – remain reassuringly indomitable and tight. As John McVie said of his musical spouse of 50 years to Mojo, “Mick will go on until they put him up against the wall and shoot him.”

And so, after most of Rumours, half of Tango In The Night  and the title song from Tusk (one of the highlights and the only occasion the visuals really helped the show – with a trippy rehash of the original “Tusk” video at Dodger Stadium in LA), we got to the money shot: “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop”. Nicks returned for the finale wearing a black top hat that reminded me a bit of the hitcher from The Mighty Boosh (which would have pleased Mac fan Noel Fielding) and the band proceeded to give the crowd what they wanted.

About a third of the audience stood up to dance. More still jiggled in their seats. I doubt if there have been that many people with so little natural rhythm gathered in one place since the world championship bowls final at Potters Leisure Resort in Hopton-on-Sea. McVie capped her triumphant evening with a grand piano and “Songbird”. My new chums were suitably moved. But it was hard not to be.

As I said before: Love Fleetwood Mac. Hate gigs. Deep down I knew the uncomfortable truth of this enterprise, which was that the meatheads were the unfortunate ones for having to sit behind me, rather than the other way round. “This has got to be one of the top three nights of my life, easy,” slurred one of them. God had spoken and it was my fault if I didn’t listen. Long live Fleetwood Mac and their fans.

George Chesterton / GQ UK / Thursday, June 25, 2015

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fresh, fun Fleetwood Mac dazzles Atlanta

Fleetwood Mac has never been considered a “fun” band.

Between the tempestuous relationships among its members and the differing opinions about musical direction over the decades, the collective of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham was never the cheeriest bunch.

Christine McVie (Photo: Robb Cohen)
Christine McVie (Photo: Robb Cohen)

But wow, did that drama make for some amazing music.

The band returned to the road in October after taking some off late last year for John McVie to combat cancer, and this time they had a secret weapon that has elevated Fleetwood Mac to a new level of vitality – Christine McVie.

Back with the gang after a 16-year gap, McVie, an unbelievable-looking 71, injected a palpable energy into the band, both by allowing them to further open their songbook and by providing Nicks with her perfect female vocal foil.

Lindsey Buckingham (Photo: Robb Cohen)
Lindsey Buckingham (Photo: Robb Cohen)

When was the last time you heard Nicks girlishly squeal, as she did when welcoming McVie with an enthusiastic, “She’s baaaaaack!”? For that matter, when was the last time Mac fans heard “You Make Loving Fun” and “Everywhere” played live (OK, it was 1997’s “The Dance” tour, but you get the point)?

From the moment part-time artist Fleetwood ushered in the band’s standard opener “The Chain” with his heartbeat bass drum, to more than 2 ½-hours later when McVie closed the show with her tingly “Songbird,” the show felt fresh and alive and yes…fun.

The sold-out crowd at Philips Arena Wednesday night erupted into cheers for McVie before the complete opening phrase of “You Make Loving Fun” – “Sweet wonderful you” – exited her mouth, setting the appreciative tone of the night.

John McVie (Photo: Robb Cohen)
John McVie (Photo: Robb Cohen)

Of course, the other major benefit of McVie’s return is her contributions as a vocalist. She added another layer of harmony to the silky “Dreams,” steered the sunshiny “Everywhere” and helped “Rihannon” breathe as Nicks donned a black shawl to drape over her jagged-edge black dress as she sang an invigorated version of the song.

While the female energy on stage resounded mightily, that isn’t to diminish the continued awesomeness of the band’s tortured musical genius, Buckingham.

Whether bouncing on the balls of his feet during “Second Hand News” or unleashing primal yells during “Tusk” – the band’s most polarizing song that was balanced by Fleetwood’s unrelenting beat and Christine McVie on accordion – the Twizzler-thin Buckingham was a riveting presence who sounded robust after shaking off some initial hoarseness.

Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham (Photo: Robb Cohen)
Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham (Photo: Robb Cohen)

And what a hoot that at 65, he still has groupies who basked in his aura at the front of the stage and even requested a couple of his onstage towels.

By giving fans a well-paced, 24-song set, Fleetwood Mac was able to liberate its extensive catalog and demonstrate the differing tones each member brings to the forefront.

McVie’s sweet pop tendencies soared on “Say You Love Me,” Buckingham tore off a finger-blistering solo during “Big Love” that almost sounded symphonic and Nicks twirled and grinned during her ethereal “Gypsy,” after sharing a lengthy – yet interesting – story about its origin.

For a certain generation of Fleetwood Mac fans, the moments between Buckingham and Nicks prompt the greatest pangs of wistfulness. The twosome didn’t disappoint as they stood alone on stage for “Landslide,” with Nicks’ warble sounding poetically perfect and Buckingham’s gentle guitar strains lovely as always; the pair then stayed together for a hushed duet on “Never Going Back Again.”

Stevie Nicks (Photo: Robb Cohen)
Stevie Nicks (Photo: Robb Cohen)

With the full band back onstage (not that Buckingham ever leaves it), the easy-going, hip-shaking “Little Lies” led to Nicks’ defining moment of the show. She absolutely smoldered with sensuality as she snaked through “Gold Dust Woman,” saturating the song with an intensity not heard from her in years (the band’s 2013 appearance at Philips featured some fantastic moments, but none compared to this).

Eternal fan favorites “Go Your Own Way” – featuring Nicks in her traditional black top hat – and “Don’t Stop,” their anthem of cheerful optimism, provided the show with a final jolt, as did Fleetwood’s fluid drum solo in the middle of “World Turning.”

It’s almost a relief to know that Fleetwood Mac will be back at Philips Arena in March, because who wouldn’t want to see one of – if not the – best concert of the year one more time?

Yep, yesterday’s gone indeed and a new Mac has been born.

Melissa Ruggieri / Atlanta Journal Constitution / Thursday, December 18, 2014

 

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Refueled Fleetwood Mac truck delivers again

Putting on a show to match the grandeur and longevity of Fleetwood Mac is a massive undertaking, but Stevie Nicks needed just a minute to personalize it for the crowd of mostly Coloradans in the sold-out Pepsi Center on Dec. 12, 2014.

[slideshow_deploy id=’33594′]

“I have like a whole tribe here because one side of my family is all from Colorado,” Nicks said to a roaring audience in Denver. It was about an hour into the 35th performance of this “On With The Show” tour that marks the return of songbird/keyboardist Christine McVie to the stage — and the band — for the first time in 16 years.

Stevie Nicks sings”My great-great grandmother came across the Rocky Mountains in one of the last Indian massacres,” Nicks (left) added. “Seriously. And she crawled in the trunk (of a wagon train) and stayed there. And she was the only survivor. Strong woman.”

Nicks, who dedicated her tender “Landslide” to the 100 or so friends and family members — “my entire tribe” — in attendance, thus making the Colorado connection feel even stronger, certainly shares the strength of her ancestors.

McVie, Nicks and the male members of this lineup — frontman Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (the pair for whom the band is named) — also possess those staunch survival instincts long after all coming together in 1975.

This stunning show was a perfect example of that willingness to sustain a coexistence, finally blessed with the valuable missing piece of the puzzle that turns an already priceless picture into a beautiful work of pop art.

The fact that a wild-eyed drummer and a couple of exes can keep that romantic spark an integral part of a crammed songbook long after the final flicker of hope in their relationships was extinguished makes such a transformative accomplishment even more endearing.

Fleetwood Mac had toured and made one studio album — 2003’s Say You Will — since Christine McVie’s departure in 1998 (the year of their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction), but had to feel a hole in their collective heart while passing the time trying to keep the band alive and staying involved with other projects.

The McQuintet — bolstered on this tour by three female backing vocalists and two male musicians — made up for all that lost time by covering much of the material that shaped them into what they still are today — a supersonic supergroup.

Once a formidable British blues project, the Buckingham-Nicks addition for the eponymous Fleetwood Mac album got the popularity ball rolling in 1975. And that record was well-represented on this set list by “Landslide,” “Rhiannon,” “Say You Love Me,” “Over My Head” and “I’m So Afraid,” followed by an energetic “World Turning” during the energetic first encore.

The latter song was driven by Fleetwood’s five-minute drum solo with eye-bulging whoops and hollers — “Are you with me?” — and a few riveting samples that proves the band remains relevant in the 21st century.

Even though the age of this fivesome totals 338 years, they acted nothing like old-timers during what these days is considered a marathon concert — more than two and a half hours — without an intermission.

Sure, most of them took needed breaks, and consistently solid but subdued bassist John McVie (Fleetwood called him the “backbone of Fleetwood Mac”) looked somewhat drained the year after undergoing cancer treatments.

But Buckingham’s manic vitality — and virtuosic, sleight-of-hand performance on acoustic and electric guitars — kept the showmanship and spirit at a high level. His work clothes this pleasant Friday evening were black leather jacket and blue jeans. They offset the exotic garb of a dressed-in-black Nicks, whose beguiling voice, bewitching glances and come-hiter hand gestures kept the audience under her spell.

In a distinguished tone, Fleetwood praised each of his band mates while presenting the group that needs no introduction during the first encore, including backing vocalists Sharon Celani, Stevvi Alexander and Lori Nicks (who’s divorced from Stevie’s brother), along with guitarist Neale Heywood and Brett Tuggle (keyboards, guitars).

The drummer who helped launch this band in 1967 with Peter Green also made sure his current axman — “one helluva guitar player” — got his due, saying of Buckingham, “I don’t know whether you, ladies and gents, have noticed that this gentleman on my left has not even left the stage if but for 30 seconds this evening.”
Lindsey Buckingham was the only member onstage during the acoustic “Big Love,” which was one of several songs — including a rollicking “Tusk” (with Christine on accordion) and the marvelously rearranged “Never Going Back Again” — that ended with him raising his guitar and throwing kisses to the crowd.

Of “Big Love,” the powerful number from 1987’s Tango in the Night that was a first-half highlight, he said, “I think it’s interesting because even though it’s not really one of the earliest songs, it represents a time, the making of the album was at a time when I was about ready to make a turn and make some changes, some adjustments in my life. … It began as kind of a contemplation on alienation, and I think it’s now, for me, become more of a meditation on the power and importance of change.”

Nicks (dedicating “Seven Wonders” to the creators of American Horror Story “for taking that song and all of Fleetwood Mac’s music to 60 million people” during last season’s Coven episodes) and Christine McVie (“Everywhere” and “Little Lies”) also dove into Tango in the Night territory. But what kept most of the 18,000 or so spectators on their feet throughout the 24-song show were nine of the 11 selections from the 1977 landmark Rumours album, starting off with “The Chain.”

That was followed in quick succession by “You Make Loving Fun” (with some hearty cheers for those so pleased to hear the woman whose birth name — Christine Anne Perfect — still seems appropriate), “Dreams” and “Second Hand News.” (Christine McVie performs at left.)

Nicks brought out the gold shawl and the age-defying dance moves for an 11-minute version of “Gold Dust Woman,” while “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop” attracted the most group sing-along participants.

Following “Go Your Own Way,” the fab five shared hugs and took a bow, Nicks holding a black top hat and the dapper Fleetwood a bright red one that matched the color of his stylish shoes. Returning for the first encore, Buckingham gave Nicks and Christine McVie soft, sweet kisses before he moved back into his rightful place as Guitar God.

It was almost like 1997 — the year of The Dance tour — all over again, when these same core band members returned to the stage after a long absence to play most of these same songs and made a magical evening in Denver happen — only then it was at McNichols Sports Arena.

How many bands can outlive arena-sized venues while — almost 40 years later — remaining basically intact and managing such masterful musicianship? Then dare to return to that same venue in another four months?

Only a year ago, Nicks was uncertain about the band’s future, keeping her fingers crossed that John McVie (right) would get healthy and that Christine was tiring of a life of leisure after making a couple of cameo appearances in Dublin and London.

“If Christine decides she wants to do it again, she will,” Nicks said during our interview on Dec. 3, 2013, for an article that appeared later that week. “If she looks deeply into it herself and says, ‘Oh my God, another five years with what I just saw them do, I can’t do it.’ You just don’t know. It’s totally up to her.”

After the final notes were played on Dec. 12, 2014, the loquacious Nicks grabbed the mic one final time to tell the crowd they were responsible — along with all the other Fleetwood Mac fans in the world — for making Christine’s return to the fold last January a reality.

“They say if you throw a wish like that up into the universe, that the universe conspires to make that happen; and honest to God … on that one day, the universe said OK, and sent a message down to Christine. …

“And we got our girl back.”

So count on McVie and the rest of Fleetwood Mac to come back in 2015, when they’ll perform throughout North America again — including an April 1 show in Denver (tickets went on sale Dec. 15) — before heading to Europe in May.

How far can they go this time? Among the numerous testimonials for Christine McVie during one of the final shows of 2014 came a most passionate prediction by Buckingham:

“In this particular moment now, in this particular moment, with the return of the beautiful Christine, with her return, I believe that we begin a profound, poetic and a prolific new chapter in the history of this band.”
With that, he tore into “I Know I’m Not Wrong,” punctuated by a searing solo and an eardrum-splitting scream of joy.

Loud and proud rang true, of course, but the lovely back-to-back Mac sentiments delivered by Nicks on “Silver Springs” and Christine McVie on “Songbird” (fittingly taking its place again as the show’s grand finale) are what ultimately will make them an everlasting symbol of endurance.

“Time casts a spell on you, but you won’t forget me” and “the songbirds keep singing” have never sounded better.

Set list: Dec. 12, 2014, at the Pepsi Center, Denver

1. “The Chain”
2. “You Make Loving Fun”
3. “Dreams”
4. “Second Hand News”
5. “Rhiannon”
6. “Everywhere”
7. “I Know I’m Not Wrong”
8. “Tusk”
9. “Sisters of the Moon”
10. “Say You Love Me”
11. “Seven Wonders”
12. “Big Love”
13. “Landslide”
14. “Never Going Back Again”
15. “Over My Head”
16. “Gypsy”
17. “Little Lies”
18. “Gold Dust Woman”
19. “I’m So Afraid”
20. “Go Your Own Way”

ENCORE

21. “World Turning”
22. “Don’t Stop”
23. “Silver Springs”

SECOND ENCORE

24. “Songbird”

All photos by Michael Bialas. Click here to see more photos of Fleetwood Mac at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

Michael Bialas / Huffington Post / Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac turns back time in nostalgic concert

With McVie in fine form, Fleetwood Mac turns back time in nostalgic concert.

Fleetwood Mac played to a sold-out adoring crowd at the Toyota Center on Monday night. Many in the audience saw the band on their 2013 World Tour in June. Our reviewer gave the concert a big thumbs-up, with a footnote that “Fleetwood Mac is not Fleetwood Mac without keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie.”

This time around, a youthful looking 71-year-old McVie joined the band, and her energy and high spirits elevated the concert to another level.

(Photo: Jane Howze)
(Photo: Jane Howze)

Every time McVie took the lead, the crowd roared — and the band itself seemed delighted to have their “beautiful Christine” back. With good reason. She soared in a powerful “Say That You Love Me” and “Over My Head” and provided spirited keyboards on “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

Playing for nearly three hours to a mostly older yet energetic crowd (this was not your Eagles audience who meekly followed orders to stay seated), Stevie Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham and McVie shared lead vocals. Opening with “The Chain” written by all five band members from the classic album Rumours, McVie then launched into “You Make Loving Fun.” Her lyrical and earthy alto made it clear that while Fleetwood Mac has held up amazingly well given their ages, McVie adds a richer and more nuanced sound.

(Photo: Jane Howze)
(Photo: Jane Howze)

Plus it allowed Nicks to harmonize and Buckingham to play his emotional guitar solos without having to be overly burdened with vocals.

Hits and cheering

With McVie back in the mix, the 24-song setlist shifted to songs recorded that they couldn’t perform without her in previous concerts. The hits and cheering never stopped.

Nicks’ version of “Rhiannon” in a lower key with a slightly different arrangement didn’t suit my taste. I’m not sure if the arrangement was because of her difficulty in hitting the high notes or was a way to mix it up. As she did at the last Houston concert, Nicks dedicated “Landslide” to a woman in the audience named Rhiannon who had survived a seemingly insurmountable health challenge.

(Photo: Jane Howze)
(Photo: Jane Howze)

After Nicks sang “Seven Wonders,” she gave a shout out to American Horror Story: Coven, in which she made a cameo and featured the song earlier this year.

Buckingham, the youngster in the group at age 65, was the only band member who didn’t leave the stage. Before launching into “Big Love,” he joked with someone in the front row that “you were not born when we wrote this song.”

Nicks was her usual hippie self with scarves, high heeled boots and flowing clothing reminiscent of the ’70s with a long (too long) anecdote about her early days of shopping in a store frequented by Grace Slick and Janice Joplin called The Velvet Underground. She urged young audience members to pursue their dreams and then launched into to an extended “Gypsy.” With “Gold Dust Woman” she donned a gold shawl and twirled as John McVie (Christine’s ex) and Buckingham showed their respective keyboard and guitar prowess. The song conjured up an almost psychedelic experience.

(Photo: Jane Howze)
(Photo: Jane Howze)

Other highlights included Buckingham on “I’m So Afraid” which brought an extended standing ovation after his show-stopping guitar solo and an energized “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”

The best surprise of the night was the second encore when a baby grand piano was rolled out for Christine McVie’s vulnerable and delicate “Songbird,” with Buckingham quietly backing her on guitar.

After the band took their final bow, Mick Fleetwood and Nicks returned (wearing a Christmas decoration on her head) to once again thank the fans, express happiness for having “young” Christine back in the band and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and, as Fleetwood said, “be kind to one another.”

(Photo: Jane Howze)
(Photo: Jane Howze)

For those who “can’t stop thinking about tomorrow,” Fleetwood Mac will be back in Houston March 3, 2015 for another concert.

Jane Howze / Culture Map / Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac thrills fans at Toyota Center

Fleetwood Mac thrills Fleetwood Mac fans new and old at Toyota Center for two-plus hours.

Fleetwood Mac
Toyota Center
December 15, 2014

The Mac Attack is Back! And with the Songbird back in the nest, the Chain has been reforged, and seems stronger than ever.

Okay, that may be a little heavy on the symbols and metaphors. But it’s hard to overestimate the importance the Fleetwood Mac’s return to its classic mid-’70s to mid-’80s lineup of Lindsey Buckingham (vocals/guitar), Stevie Nicks (vocals), namesake rhythm section Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass), and returning vocalist/keyboardist Christine McVie.

So many references were made by other band members onstage to McVie’s unlikely and never-thought-possible comeback after 16 years (she had retired to her English castle, vowing never to make music again), that no one would have blamed her for blushing, even nearly 40 dates into this reunion tour.

Lindsey Buckingham: the higher the hair, the closer to God? (Photo: Jack Gorman)
Lindsey Buckingham: the higher the hair, the closer to God? (Photo: Jack Gorman)

Every classic-rock band of any importance or longevity has gone through lineup changes — including Fleetwood Mac, whose origins stretch back to 1967 as a straight-up, all-English blues band. But there just seems something so…right about this lineup reconstituting. Take out any one of the five, and it’s just not the same.

And for more than 2.5 hours, Fleetwood Mac put on a vibrant, strident, joyous show that was no robotic walk through the Greatest Hits. And they had the sold-out Toyota Center shaking, with even most of those on the floor standing up for the bulk of the set.

Opening appropriately with the band-of-brothers-and-sister anthem “The Chain” to a rapturous welcome, the band played a seemingly never-ending string of favorites. The included a whopping nine of the 11 tracks from their career apex Rumours, and that album’s haunting B-side “Silver Springs.”

The Mac's other members weren't shy about welcoming Christine McVie back into the fold. (Photo: Jack Gorman)
The Mac’s other members weren’t shy about welcoming Christine McVie back into the fold. (Photo: Jack Gorman)

They also found set list space for a couple of deeper cuts from the more experimental 1979 double album Tusk (“I Know I’m Not Wrong,” “Sisters of the Moon”), possibly to the exclusion of bigger hits “Sara” and “Hold Me” from the set list. Other highlights included a slinky “Dreams,” buoyant “Say You Love Me,” and hard-charging “I’m So Afraid.” The band was augmented by three backup singers and two keyboardists/guitarists, tucked up on risers at the back of the stage.

Nicks dedicated a lush “Landslide” — performed by just her and Buckingham on guitar accompaniment — to a real-life Rhiannon in the audience who had/was facing some unexplained life challenge. She was likely not the only audience member either named for or conceived by that Tale of a Welsh Witch.

A handful of numbers were rejiggered from their album arrangements to great effect. Buckingham’s “Big Love” went from a more pop tune (with the orgiastic “oohs” and “aahs” of the chorus) into a howling, guitar-drenched cry of pain. Its author told the crowd that the track’s meaning for him had changed since its 1987 appearance on Tango in the Night.

“This song was about contemplation in alienation…and now it’s a meditation on the importance of change” he told the audience and — pointing to one close by younger member — “written before you were even born.”

Nicks’ cocaine elegy “Gold Dust Woman” turned into a far heavier, extended jam. It featured one of Nicks’ trademark stage twirls, all long blonde hair, scarves, and glittering shawl batwings. And while she pulled out her trademark stage moves more sparingly (being a 66-year-old in high heels and all), the audience went apeshit every time she turned.

This was no robotic walk through the greatest hits. (Photo: Jack Gorman)
This was no robotic walk through the greatest hits. (Photo: Jack Gorman)

She also turned out to be the night’s most chatty storyteller, introducing “Gypsy” with a mini-history lesson of her and Buckingham’s adventures first as teenagers in high school, then band partners in L.A. and San Francisco in the late ’70s, where the duo opened for acts like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Chicago.

For all the romantic soap opera that has been the band’s history with its members being together, separated, divorced, and changing partners, it’s clear this particular pair still have an unshakeable bond between them that’s neither forced nor fake.

All five had a sinewy energy about them belling their chronological ages, especially the super lean Christine McVie (who Nicks said has been “working out with a trainer every day since February”) and stage-stalking Buckingham, both in skinny jeans.

There were, as expected, some concessions to age among the band’s three singers. Christine McVie’s voice is a bit sharper, sometimes removed from its warmer tones; Nicks’ is a bit more gravelly, and Buckingham worked to make his upper register.

But these are all minor observances, and in fact, actually add to the songs, making them more lived-in and reflective of history.

When Nicks offered the wistful line “But time makes you bolder/ Even children get older/ And I’m getting older too” on “Landslide” (written in 1973!), it clearly struck a chord with both band and audience. And the vocals could have actually been turned up a bit higher in the mix throughout the show.

A slowed-down “Never Going Back Again” brought some more regret into the lyrics. And even Buckingham’s well-worn kiss-off “Go Your Own Way” had a visceral power live that belied its FM-radio overplaying. [Note: this paragraph has been edited after publication.]

The evening came to a close with a rousing “Don’t Stop,” though one can’t help by mentally picture a certain political power couple with the track playing now, and an elegant, heartbreaking “Silver Springs.” Then, fittingly, Christine McVie returned to a grand piano to play the strains of “Songbird.”

In it, the avian of the title “knows the score.” And the score – brought home with Nicks and Fleetwood’s touchingly personal post-song address to the audience about the current reformation – is that the band has started a new chapter in its ever-unfolding book.

The quintet are already working on new material for an upcoming studio album, and a second Houston date has been added for March 3 of next year. Get your tickets…now.

Personal Bias: Longtime fan, and not just of this lineup. And I credit seeing a Mac show in Austin in the late ’80s (sans Buckingham, but with Rick Vito and Billy Burnette) with starting me on a music-journalism path.

The Crowd: Wider-range of ages than most classic-rock shows, from twentysomethings to sixtysomethings. A handful of shawled Stevie wannabes; Lots of couples.

Overheard in the Crowd: “I hope they do ‘Sara,’ but they probably won’t. It’s not a song really meant for concerts.”

Random Notebook Dump: Lindsey’s high, brillo hair is looking more Art Garfunkelesque all the time.

SET LIST

The Chain
You Make Loving Fun
Dreams
Second Hand News
Rhiannon
Everywhere
I Know I’m Not Wrong
Tusk
Sisters of the Moon
Say You Love Me
Seven Wonders
Big Love
Landslide
Never Going Back Again
Over My Head
Gypsy
Little Lies
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way

ENCORE
World Turning (w/Fleetwood drum solo)
Don’t Stop
Silver Springs

ENCORE 2
Songbird

Bob Ruggiero / Houston Press / Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Toyota Center crowd has lovin’ fun with FMac

Never underestimate the power of the Mac.

Three songs into Monday night’s set at Toyota Center, Stevie Nicks promised the crowd she would “get this party started!” Until then, Fleetwood Mac had been pleasing and mostly polite: anthem-ic kickoff “The Chain,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Dreams” shifted to a lower key.

But something kicked into gear with “Second Hand News.” Lindsey Buckingham ripped into the song, all wild eyes and stomping feet. It reverberated through the sold-out crowd and energized Nicks’ take on “Rhiannon.” The party had indeed started.

Christine McVie, who rejoined the band after a 15-year absence, was still soulful and sweet on “Everywhere,” which benefited from a punchy arrangement.

“Now she’s been here, and it’s almost 40 shows. And now I think she’s gonna stay,” Nicks quipped. The band returns in March for another Toyota Center show.

The enduring allure of Fleetwood Mac has been the story behind the music. The core unit Buckingham, Nicks, John McVie, Christine McVie and Mick Fleetwood – has continued to thrive both in spite and because of its tempestuous history.

Buckingham played up the sentiment, saying the band’s success is its ability “to continue to prevail through the good times and the bad.” He called Christine McVie’s reappearance “the beginning of a poetic, a profound and a beautiful new chapter.”

For now, though, it was about the music.

Nicks introduced “Gypsy” with a lengthy story about meeting Buckingham, shopping for rock-star clothes and opening shows for Jimi Hendrix, Santana and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

“Are you listening over there?” she asked him.

And, yes, something sweet and magical still happens when Nicks’ croons about getting older and snow-covered hills during “Landslide.” The entire venue seemed to sigh in unison.

Joey Guerra / Houston Chronicle / Tuesday, December 15, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac takes Dallas crowd on fun ride

Fully-staffed Fleetwood Mac takes adoring Dallas crowd on a roller-coaster ride at American Airlines show.

Fleetwood Mac comprises former lovers, ex spouses, longtime friends and a tumultuous biography. Like any musical group that has survived decades of ups and downs, the members must constantly work at it to recapture their old chemistry.

That workmanlike spirit helped to define the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band’s sold-out show on Sunday night at American Airlines Center. Rejoined by vital vocalist and keyboardist Christine McVie after her 16-year-touring hiatus, the Mac leaned in admirably through a two-hour-plus performance that veered from soul-soothing to serviceable and back again.

Understandably, much fanfare was made of McVie’s return: Her warm, familiar vocals provided several highlights, from the smoky seduction of “You Make Loving Fun” to the melodic bliss of ’80s smashes “Everywhere” and “Little Lies.” Despite her solid performance, McVie was never one to bask in the spotlight.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, however, were more than happy to soak up the love of the audience on Sunday. With McVie on keys, her ex-husband, John, on bass and Mick Fleetwood behind his drums for most of the evening, it was up to the group’s two relative “newbies” to do the crowd work.

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac (Jason Janik)
Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac (Jason Janik)

Buckingham kept the folks up front entertained by harnessing a twenty-something’s energy, frequently screaming out lyrical lines and jumping into rock-god postures. Nicks was simply herself — a twirling and swaying mystical sage armed with raspy power pipes and a streamer-clad tambourine.

When the band took the stage to kick things off with “The Chain,” the entire arena leapt to its feet and folks around me were pointing out Nicks to each other (“There she is!”). The three vocalists, embellished by a set of backup singers, took a full verse and chorus to fully find their harmonic sweet spot.

Nicks continued to get better and better throughout the night, at first avoiding the highest notes on “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” but later reaching the mountaintops on “Gypsy” and the spine-tingling classic, “Gold Dust Woman.” She and Buckingham shined during what was essentially an intermission for the rest of the band — a three-song mini-set consisting of “Big Love,” “Landslide” and “Never Going Back Again.” All spotlighted Buckingham’s acoustic finger-picking skills, while the middle song benefited from Nicks’ refreshingly unsentimental vocal delivery.

As other legacy bands are wont to do, Fleetwood Mac’s players introduced a few of their songs by recalling elements of the band’s backstory. Nicks charmed while explaining the origins of the first line of “Gypsy.” Buckingham spoke to how certain tunes’ meanings have changed for him over the years. McVie got the biggest laugh of the evening while introducing “Over My Head”: “This goes back to the days when John and I were still married. Remember that, John?”

Thirty or so dates into their current tour, now might be a good time for the Mac to consider making a few edits. For instance, unnecessary drum and guitar solos during “I’m So Afraid” significantly slowed down the pace toward the end of the show, a point when most acts would try to speed it up. And then came another odd drum solo during the encore set. Fleetwood shut his eyes, played a variety of rhythms and screamed at the crowd like a madman — it seemed indulgent, even if it might have given folks one more chance to hit the beer stands.

My few complaints probably won’t register with diehard fans of Fleetwood Mac. Anyone who delights in the band’s unique blend of creative voices would have been thrilled to hear Buckingham toast “a poetic, profound and prolific new chapter” from the stage.

A new album is expected next year, as well as a second leg of the On With the Show tour (it returns to AAC on March 4). If that means I’ll get to see Nicks twirl in the shadows one more time, sign me up.

Hunter Hauk / Dallas Morning News / Monday, December 15, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at the Pepsi Center in Denver

Christine McVie always performed stage right with Fleetwood Mac, though she was never a side player. The keyboardist wrote a good number of the band’s hits back in the day and took the position of lead singer whenever they came into rotation.

[slideshow_deploy id=’32574′]

More than that, she was the supergroup’s third leg. Lindsey Buckingham was the rocker, Stevie Nicks the spiritual siren and McVie the pop songstress who brought a head-bopping bounce to the band’s sound with numbers like “You Make Loving Fun.” That combination gave Fleetwood Mac something for every prevailing taste in the 1970s and pushed it to the top of the charts.

And so when Christine McVie returned to the band after a 17-year vacation this fall, she brought not just her 71-year-old self, but also a little more easy-going fun. Fleetwood Mac’s appearance at the Pepsi Center in Denver Friday night felt much more like a pop concert than the raucous rock show it performed there in 2013.

Buckingham still did his high-jumps during “Big Love” and tortured his guitar until it screamed during “Tusk.” Nicks still growled through “Rhiannon” and danced and ​twirled​ in a sparkly shawl for “Gold Dust Woman.”

But there was also McVie, leaning into her mike and dropping those famously moony vocals on “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me.” She took center stage for “Everywhere” and delivered the song’s happy, little trademark “boops” at the end with precision.

For the band, and the virtually sold-out crowd, it felt like home. There was McVie in her skin tight black jeans, Buckingham in his leather jacket, Nicks in her multiple layers of skirts and coats and those fingerless lace gloves. In the background, Mick Fleetwood banged his drums too hard like he has for four decades and John McVie plucked away on bass nearly invisible, except for a bright red vest. This was Fleetwood Mac as it was meant to be; the group, fully formed, that sold 100 million albums.

That not to say it was all nostalgia. The ensemble sounded tight and all the players brought what they had to. Nicks, who can have difficult nights, started strong and stayed relaxed. McVie lived up to the hype of her return, which was mentioned non-stop during the show. She was never the frantic type and that suits her well in her advanced years. Late in the game, the energy slowed, but that happens to a lot of bands on the 30th stop of a tour that offers few real breaks for musicians.

There were times when the proceedings felt programmed. The song list wasn’t all that different from June 2013 and neither were the renditions. The set and lights see ​med​ like an afterthought, with a series of distracting shapes projected ​through​ the giant monitor backstage — swirling bubbles, seashells and planets that looked more like screen savers for a home computer than the backdrop of an arena show.

But, of course, there was plenty to look without all that: Three of the world’s biggest music stars, trading off their best material. There wasn’t a huge amount of lovey dovey stuff between them, just a few sideways glances and one cute wink from Stevie to Christine during “Say You Love Me.”

They were co-workers whose best team was back together, with McVie stage right once again. They gave her the closer, leaving her alone with a spotlight for a gentle take on “Songbird.” She sounded comfortable to be back, and the fans, with their phones lit in a bright ovation, seems pleased as well.

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Ray Mark Rinaldi is a Arts and Entertainment writer and critic at The Denver Post and a regular contributor to Reverb.

Daniel Petty is a Denver-based photographer and digital director of sports at The Denver Post.

Ray Mark Rinaldi / Reverb / December 13th, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac celebrates Christine McVie’s return

“Our songbird has returned,” Mick Fleetwood told the sold-out crowd at Talking Stick Resort Arena Wednesday night before the reunited “Rumours” lineup treated the fans to an encore performance of “Don’t Stop” that featured the songbird in question, Christine McVie, taking a turn on lead vocals and contributing a rollicking piano solo.

[slideshow_deploy id=’32037′]

This is McVie’s first tour with Fleetwood Mac since 1998. And Fleetwood was far from alone in viewing her return as cause for celebration, reuniting as it does the soft-rock icons’ most successful lineup. The crowd responded with enthusiasm when she took her first lead vocal, two songs in, on “You Make Loving Fun,” which was followed by a heartfelt tribute to McVie by Stevie Nicks.

McVie herself talked about “what a thrill it is for me to be standing on this stage singing with these amazing musicians and friends” before taking another lead vocal on “Everywhere.”

Lindsey Buckingham shared his thoughts on how “the return of the beautiful Christine” had signaled a new chapter in their history.

And the second encore started with McVie alone on piano and vocals for two verses and a chorus of an understated “Songbird” before Buckingham joined in on lead guitar.

That was it for the music, but Nicks returned to share a charming anecdote about a phone call she got last October in Italy, imitating McVie’s British accent to ask, “What would you think if I decided to come back to the band?” and ending her speech with “We so wanted her to come back. And we’re so happy to have our girl back.”

They did a lot of talking in the course of their nearly three-hour performance. Buckingham talked about how thrilled he was to be in Phoenix, where he and Nicks had spent a lot of time, saying “It kind of feels like a second home.” He gave a lengthy monologue before tearing it up on a solo acoustic performance of “Big Love,” talking about how although that “Tango in the Night” track is actually newer than much of the material in Wednesday’s set, it feels like it came from “a whole different lifetime,” before he “pulled back and made a few adjustments.” The song began, he explained, as “a kind of contemplation on alienation perhaps” but had become “more a meditation on the power and the importance of change.”

And Nicks talked at length about living in Phoenix.

“I actually lived here for 20 years,” she said before admitting that she wished she hadn’t sold her house. “I miss coming home to write and being near Camelback Mountain and all of you.” After acknowledging her friends and family in attendance, Nicks said, “A lot of our songs were written here. It’s good to be home.” And after talking about McVie in the second encore, she signed off with “And Phoenix, I’m so sorry I don’t live here anymore.”

As for the music, they made their way through nine of the 11 songs on “Rumours” and half the songs on 1975’s “Fleetwood Mac,” their first release with Buckingham and Nicks.

Fleetwood set the tone for their performance with the thumping kick drum of “The Chain,” the first of several tracks that thrived on Buckingham’s intensity both as a singer and as one of rock and roll’s most underrated lead guitarists. The man should be enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Most Watchable Guitar Gods. His tone is amazing and his presence makes his most electrifying moments that much more electrifying. The excitement he seems to be feeling when he plays those leads couldn’t be more contagious.

They kept the focus on “Rumours” as they traded off lead vocals from McVie on “You Make Loving Fun” to Nicks on “Dreams” and back to Buckingham for “Second Hand News.”

Highlights of the early part of their performance included “Rhiannon,” an electrifying “Tusk,” which was accompanied by footage of the USC Trojan Marching Band playing the song at Dodgers Stadium, “Say You Love Me” and “Seven Wonders.”

Buckingham’s solo performance of “Big Love” was exhilarating and far more intense than you’d imagine one man on acoustic guitar can be — unless, of course, you were familiar with Buckingham’s solo performances of that awe-inspiring song. They kept things in acoustic mode for “Landslide,” which featured Buckingham accompanying Nicks on her best vocal of the night. And then he took it up a notch with a haunting performance of “Never Going Back Again.”

At that point, their bandmates returned for a stripped-down set with Fleetwood on a kit out front for “Over My Head” and “Gypsy,” which was set up by another lengthy monologue from Nicks about a San Francisco dress shop called the Velvet Underground.

The set built to a climax from there with McVie’s “Little Lies” giving way to a haunted arrangement of Nicks’ “Gold Dust Woman,” Buckingham’s most insane guitar work of the concert on “I’m So Afraid” and a set-closing “Go Your Own Way.”

After starting the encore with a version of “World Turning” that featured a lengthy drum solo, they brought things up a notch with “Don’t Stop,” ending that first encore with an aching “Silver Spring” (the B-side of “Go Your Own Way”) with a really nice vocal from Nicks. And saving “Songbird” for the second encore was a nice touch, shining the spotlight one last time on the prodigal daughter, McVie, whose return really does suggest, as Buckingham said, a new chapter in Fleetwood Mac’s history.

Setlist

1. “The Chain”

2. “You Make Loving Fun”

3. “Dreams”

4. “Second Hand News”

5. “Rhiannon”

6. “Everywhere”

7. “I Know I’m Not Wrong”

8. “Tusk”

9. “Sisters of the Moon”

10. “Say You Love Me”

11. “Seven Wonders”

12. “Big Love”

13. “Landslide”

14. “Never Going Back Again”

15. “Over My Head”

16. “Gypsy”

17. “Little Lies”

18. “Gold Dust Woman”

19. “I’m So Afraid”

20 “Go Your Own Way”

Encore

21. “World Turning”

22. “Don’t Stop”

23. “Silver Springs”

Encore 2

24. “Songbird”

Ed Masley / Arizona Republic / Thursday, December 11, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac, The Forum, Dec 6

Fleetwood Mac
The Forum
December 6, 2014

On Saturday, Fleetwood Mac played their last of three sold-out shows at the Forum. And who cares, right? Reunion tours at the Inglewood arena are as plentiful as scarves on Stevie Nicks’ mic stand.

But in the 16 years since a Fleetwood Mac tour featured the entire Rumors lineup, something notable happened: The band, long a favorite among baby boomers and Gen X’ers, got discovered by a new generation of fans, many of whom are themselves making emotionally dramatic pop music laced with lush harmonies and fiery guitar parts.

Tame Impala, Haim, the Entrance Band, even Miley Cyrus: all have worshiped at the altar of the Mac. Foxygen told L.A. Weekly that they recorded their new album while listening to Tusk on repeat, and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino breathlessly tweeted out “Fleetwood Mac is honestly THE most important band in my entire life” after one of the band’s first two Forum shows.

So Saturday’s show — not their last in L.A., as we had originally described it, since they announced an additional Forum date next April just a few days ago — felt important. With the return of singer/keyboardist Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac are now the biggest band of their era whose “classic” lineup remains intact. And they’ve become, arguably, the most influential.

Photo by Timothy Norris Christine McVie The importance of McVie’s return can’t be overstated. Though far less flashy than her fellow lead singers, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, her cool alto, underrated piano skills and flair for an irresistible pop hook provided the perfect foil to Buckingham’s histrionics and Nicks’ witchy balladry. She wrote the first and last hit singles of the quintet’s remarkable 12-year run (“Over My Head” and “Everywhere,” respectively) as well as their signature anthem, “Don’t Stop.” More than once, her bandmates expressed elation over her return — though no words could convey more than the ear-to-ear grin Buckingham wore for much of “Say You Love Me,” one of Christine’s most indelible tunes and perhaps the evening’s best showcase of the band’s pinpoint harmonies.

(Photo: Timothy Norris)
(Photo: Timothy Norris)

Though the night in many ways belonged to McVie, Buckingham and Nicks still provided most of the highlights. After nearly 40 years, Buckingham remains the band’s wild card, a guitarist so brilliant — and so clearly enamored of his own brilliance — that his admittedly jaw-dropping solos at times threatened to hijack the whole show. The shrieking cascades of notes pouring forth from his signature Renaissance Model One guitar earned their fair share of cheers from the crowd — but no moment of the show got a bigger cheer than Stevie Nicks’ first twirl during “Rhiannon.”

It is Nicks, more than any other member of the Mac, who has captured the imagination of a younger generation of fans. During her songs “Dreams,” “Gypsy” and especially “Landslide,” women who clearly weren’t even born when Rumors came out could be seen throughout the crowd, singing along rapturously with every word.

Wisely and graciously, the band let Christine McVie have the last word, rolling out a baby grand piano on which she delivered a haunting rendition of “Songbird,” the prettiest song on Rumors, accompanied only by some admirably restrained acoustic guitar by Buckingham.

Afterward, when the band came out to take their final bows, Stevie Nicks credited Fleetwood Mac’s fans for McVie’s return. “You made this happen. You’re magic! You have magical powers,” Nicks declared. And maybe she’s right, but our magical powers pale in comparison to those of a reunited Fleetwood Mac.

Overheard in the crowd, after Stevie Nicks’ twirling performance of “Rhiannon”: “She knows how to work a shawl.”

Random notebook dump: The giant floating Lindsey head on the projection screen during “I Know I’m Not Wrong” is freaking me out. It’s like his ego made manifest.

Andy Hermann / LA Weekly / Monday, December 8, 2014 

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac leads a loaded reunion at Oracle Arena

Stevie Nicks is going for it. She’s been dressed in all black all night — a confusing, drapey, sequined and, yes, Stevie Nicks-esque shawl over a dress, whose shimmering tendrils she seems to be handling like rosary beads — but for “Gold Dust Woman” she’s brought out a sheer gold shawl, and she is putting it to work. With her back to the crowd at Oracle Arena, she spreads her arms out wide before bringing both hands to her blonde head for something that looks like the marriage of headbanging and the gesture one performs when experiencing a migraine; the midway point between rocking the fuck out and being in severe pain.

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

Which is, really, the main thrust of the mood at a Fleetwood Mac show — at least, at the first Fleetwood Mac show in a decade in a half that includes the original ’70s lineup: Christine McVie, notably fresh-faced behind the keyboard after 16 years away; Lindsey Buckingham, whose virtuoso fingerpicking on the electric guitar is rendered nearly unfair when combined with the fact that he apparently doesn’t age at all; John McVie, perhaps the only member of Fleetwood Mac who could reasonably be described as understated, despite providing the crucial bass heartbeat to so many hit songs; Nicks, whose stage presence alone makes Lady Gaga seem like John Kerry; and drummer Mick Fleetwood himself, who — dressed in short pants and red sneakers, wispy sideburn hair a-flying, taking indulgent solos — was quite possibly having more fun than anyone in the room, letting out animalistic yelps between taps of the hi-hat and punctuating his between-song banter with a gesture recognizable as the universal sign for “I am on Splash Mountain and we have just started going downhill.”

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

In short, emotions ran high last night. From Nicks dedicating “Landslide” to her first real boyfriend at Atherton High School, to Fleetwood’s assertion that things get crazy when you let the drummer up front (his headset mic failed to work at some point, and briefly holding court at the tip of the stage seemed to make many people very happy), the whole thing felt loaded. This is, of course, difficult to separate from the soap opera that is Fleetwood Mac’s history, the romantic entanglements and illicit affairs and buckets upon buckets of cocaine that somehow went up people’s noses and came back out transformed into songs as sunny as “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” There’s a theatrically implied underbelly to nearly everything they do, and no matter how much you’ve painted Stevie Nicks into some kind of fantasy-mom corner — and no matter what percentage of the 19,000 people around you appear to be squeaky-clean retirees with varying degrees of former hippiedom in their pasts, all cutting loose with widely varying degrees of rhythm — there’s the ever-present knowledge that yeah, she partied way, way harder than you ever will, and the same probably goes for a lot of these old-school fans. Lived to tell the tale, too.

Which is why you indulge Nicks when she starts telling the same story, verbatim, that she apparently told last week in L.A.: About being a poor student at San Jose State University (crowd: “woooooo!”) and driving up to San Francisco to shop at the Velvet Underground, which was the coolest and most expensive rock star store in the world, as evidenced by having Janis Joplin and Grace Slick as customers. About how she couldn’t afford anything, but she stood there in that store and she knew she’d be able to someday. Cue a curtsy, plus exaggerated fondling of her sequined outfit. Cue “Gypsy,” with the opening lines “So I’m back, to the Velvet Underground…”

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

Can you blame her if it’s cheesy? You can’t. Especially when Christine McVie, her alto and perfect hair seemingly untouched by the ravages of time, launches into “Say You Love Me,” or sits down at the piano for “Little Lies” and you realize that half the Fleetwood Mac songs you hear so often they’ve become background music (in the best possible way) are driven by that almost unnervingly sweet, easy voice. This requires ignoring the weird background visuals — gold dust for “Gold Dust Woman,” strange, unnecessary combinations of water droplets and psychedelic swirls of color for nearly everything else. It also requires removing yourself from the reality of, say, things that actually happened earlier in the day, back in 2014, like the grand jury’s decision in the horrifying police brutality murder case of Eric Garner. It requires shutting off your brain for long enough to live inside a year when Ronald Reagan was a great hope for a great many people.

Noah Graham for Oracle Arena This will, you see, help with getting into the proper headspace for receiving Nicks’ lines about how Christine McVie came back to the band in January of 2014 — less than two years after Nicks told Rolling Stone that was about as likely as “an asteroid hitting the earth” -— because “when you put something out into the universe, it comes true, and you Fleetwood Mac fans all woke up one day and wanted that. You have magic powers. If you want something bad enough, dreams come true.”

If nothing else, it requires believing that Fleetwood Mac believes those things. And last night, there were absolutely zero doubts to be had about that.

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

Emma Silvers / SF Weekly / Thursday, December 4, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac concert reunion a triumph

With Christine McVie back in the fold after a 16-year hiatus, Fleetwood Mac begins a welcome new chapter by looking back to its heyday.

If Mick Fleetwood’s shout-out to his own band in San Diego Tuesday night simply (and loudly) stated the obvious, well, he’s surely earned the right to crow a bit.

“The Mac is definitely back!” the towering, 6-foot-5-inch drummer proudly declared. The sold-out audience of nearly 10,000 fans at SDSU’s Viejas Arena cheered loudly in return, just as it had through nearly all of the 2½-hour-plus show.

Fleetwood Mac in San Diego (Photo: John Gastaldo)

For the record, apart from a hiatus of a few years in the 1990s, this legendary rock act has never been away. Fleetwood is the only member to have performed in each of the band’s many lineups since its inception in 1967, including the one that performed here last year at Viejas Arena.

But Tuesday’s concert was especially memorable because it found this veteran ensemble taking a major step forward by taking a major step back. After a 16-year hiatus — a period of time far longer than the entire careers of many rock bands — singer, keyboardist and songwriter Christine McVie this year rejoined Fleetwood Mac for her first tour with the group since 1999.

Fleetwood Mac in San Diego (Photo: John Gastaldo)

Her welcome return is both exhilarating and liberating. This holds true both for the band and its multigenerational fans, many of whom remained standing and often sang along for much of Tuesday’s show.

Or, as Fleetwood put it after “World Turning,” the first of four encore selections: “Having this wonderful lady share the stage, making us complete, our songbird has returned.”

Fleetwood Mac in San Diego (Photo: John Gastaldo)

At 71, McVie is the oldest member of Fleetwood Mac, which was a three-year-old English blues-rock band when she came on board in 1970. Her return has bolstered the group in several key ways.

Down to earth and free of even a hint of affectation, she provides a welcome counterbalance to singer Stevie Nicks and singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The two American musicians joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 and helped propel it to international pop-rock superstardom with the classic 1977 album, “Rumours.”

Fleetwood Mac in San Diego (Photo: John Gastaldo)

McVie sang lead on nearly a third of the 24 songs performed Tuesday, nearly all of which had been deferentially shelved by the band when she retired in 1999. It was a treat to hear her rustic, fuss-free lead vocals on “You Make Loving Fun,” “Little Lies,” “Say You Love Me” and the concert-concluding “Songbird.”

It was equally enjoyable hearing her harmonize again with Nicks and Buckingham, who clearly relished having their longtime collaborator back in the fold. So did drummer Fleetwood, 67, and bassist John McVie, 69, Christine’s former husband, who sounded and appeared none the worse after starting treatment last fall for cancer. (The band was tastefully augmented by three female backing singers and two male auxiliary musicians, who also supplied periodic vocal support.)

Fleetwood Mac in San Diego (Photo: John Gastaldo)

Christine McVie’s return also means Nicks and Buckingham no longer each have to handle 50 percent of the lead vocals. As a result, both were able to tackle such classics as “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Second Hand News” and “Tusk” with renewed energy and enthusiasm. They also beamed broadly as they harmonized with McVie on “Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way” and other decades-old gems that still sound fresh and vital.

Buckingham delivered a number of inspired guitar solos that showcased his finger-picking prowess. His rippling lines on “I Know I’m Not Wrong,” “Big Love” and the Wishbone Ash-inspired “I’m So Afraid” were highlights. Ditto Nicks’ deeply moving singing on “Landslide,” and “Gold Dust Woman,” which turned into a rare (at least for the current iteration of Fleetwood Mac) extended jam.

Fleetwood Mac in San Diego (Photo: John Gastaldo)

Fleetwood and John McVie provided a rock-solid foundation throughout. Their tirelessly robust playing in no way indicated the two, both of whom are longtime U.S. residents, qualified for Social Security several years ago.

Alas, the pacing of the concert sagged in places, including a rousing, but overly extended, Buckingham solo segment that seemed designed to give his band mates an extended offstage break. Fleetwood’s 5-minute drum solo on “World Turning,” while an undeniable crowd-pleaser, overstayed its welcome. Conversely, Nicks’ introduction to “Gypsy” was as long as some of the songs performed, but she reminisced about her years as a young aspiring musician with more than enough infectious verve to compensate.

And when everything clicked, which was often, time almost stood still — even as Buckingham, 65, boyishly bounded across the stage and Nicks, 66, did her witchy woman twirls. Don’t stop, indeed.

Fleetwood Mac in San Diego (Photo: John Gastaldo)
George Varga / UT San Diego / Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac live at The Forum, Los Angeles

“That’s not Stevie Nicks,” asserted the woman sitting next to me at the first night of Fleetwood Mac‘s 2-night stay at The Forum in Los Angeles. “I’ve been to hundreds of her shows and that is not her. She does not move like that.”

Not that I would know: this was my first time seeing the band—now in the glory of their classic lineup—and had little more than music videos and her time on American Horror Story: Coven from which to judge. When I looked up at the wispy-but-imposing blonde woman six rows ahead of me, and then compared it to the screen-sized version hung up above, I felt confident that this was the gypsy herself. I posited as such to the woman to my right. She paused before pointing, “look at her ankles!”

(Photo: Alicia Lutes)
(Photo: Alicia Lutes)

Maybe Stevie Nicks was moving differently that night—but she’d have good reason to be. The band’s most famous

lineup was back in action, including the long-gone Christine McVie, who very well may have stolen the show from her compatriots that night. Her return after a 16-year absence from the group had clearly shot a bolt of electricity up Fleetwood Mac’s collective spine.

And it was evident from minute one. The 2.5 hour show (with no opener) began with “The Chain,” the only song off of 1977’s Rumours that was written by all five members. The energy— from the stage to the very large room surrounding it was one of celebration and fulfillment. Finally, they were right where they belonged.

McVie took over for the second song of the night, “You Make Loving Fun,” during which she beamed the whole time. Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Nicks were all vibrating on that frequency of celebration, loving every minute they were praising McVie’s grounding presence.

(Photo: Alicia Lutes)
(Photo: Alicia Lutes)

This early momentum made this particular concert-goer a bit nervous. The first half of the show was s0 packed with hits—from “Rhiannon” to “Dreams” to “Second Hand News” to “I Know I’m Not Wrong”—that we were, personally, a bit afraid it would all hit a wall.

But oh no, how that gypsy shines when the stars are aligned. When people talk of star and staying power, of a seemingly otherworldly talent and ability to create things that emotionally resonate with people, all they need do is point to Fleetwood Mac as Stevie Nicks spins and spins and spins her way into the mystic magic she’s creating with her voice. There is truly nothing like her, how she demands your eye with her tambourine playing, how hair swirls around her twirling frame, how she conveys emotional honesty within a single note. It’s something special that cannot be diminished by age or time—it just is, and will continue to be, until there is no more sound to be heard.

Other highlights included “Tusk,” complete with a video accompaniment of the USC Marching Band performing the very song while McVie broke out the accordion and Buckingham strutted his way across the stage, and “Lies” for its sheer energy and exuberance.

And, of course, we’d be remiss to not mention “Landslide,” with nothing more than Buckingham on guitar and Nicks on vocals. After all the years between them, and all the words already said about this song, its origins, its relationship to the band that performs it, there’s little more to note that hasn’t already been said. To feel it in that moment, even after the hundreds of thousands of times we’ve all heard it before, it still somehow felt raw, damaged, and poignant. The magic a song like “Landslide” possesses will never really go away—only evolve and get better with age.

It’s like Buckingham noted before his acoustic take on “Big Love,” when he explained, prior to performing it, how much the song’s meaning has changed for him as the years have accumulated. It’s still the same song, sonically and lyrically, but its frame of reference had changed. The way he moves throughout the song’s meaning has shifted, like a dancer acclimating to the new limits and abilities of an aging body. Yet it looked natural next to Stevie and her new dance moves

In that way, the woman next to me was right: this wasn’t Stevie Nicks, not like before. This was something new but still familiar, and it moves to a whole different beat.

(Photo: Alicia Lutes)
(Photo: Alicia Lutes)

Here’s the full setlist:

The Chain
You Make Loving Fun
Dreams
Second Hand News
Rhiannon
Everywhere
I Know I’m Not Wrong
Tusk
Sisters of the Moon
Say You Love Me
Seven Wonders
Big Love
Landslide
Never Going Back Again
Over My Head
Gypsy
Little Lies
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way

Encore:
World Turning
Don’t Stop
Silver Springs

Encore 2:
Songbird

Alicia Lutes / Nerdist / Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: A band reunited, team spirit intact

Fleetwood Mac played the Forum on Saturday night with Christine McVie, back after a long break.

(Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez)
(Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez)

Fleetwood Mac is having a moment.

Decades after its late-1970s commercial peak, the band can still fill arenas around the world with fans eager to relive memories indelibly linked to old hits like “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way.”

Yet Fleetwood Mac’s polished pop-rock has also become a touchstone for younger, hipper acts such as Jenny Lewis and One Direction. In 2011, the television show “Glee” built an episode around the group’s music; the next year it was the subject of a high-profile tribute album.

So it’s not hard to understand Christine McVie’s decision, announced in January, to rejoin the band after retiring in 1998.

She helped create the legend — shouldn’t she enjoy the glory?

(Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez)
(Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez)

Fleetwood Mac’s tour with McVie, whose presence restores the lineup that made the gazillion-selling “Rumours,” stopped at the Forum for two concerts over the weekend. (It will return for a third on Dec. 6.)

But if the cheers that greeted McVie on Saturday confirmed her reasoning, the singer’s participation also reminded you that, despite its huge success, this is a deeply weird rock group, with three songwriters – McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks – whose approaches hardly seem compatible.

Backed by the stalwart rhythm section of drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie (to whom she was married until 1977), Christine McVie was warm and trusting in “You Make Loving Fun” and the buoyant “Everywhere.” The cheerful optimism – and the propulsive groove – of “Don’t Stop” inspired thousands in the audience to sing along.

(Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez)
(Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez)

And though “Little Lies” hinted at the romantic deception that famously runs through Fleetwood Mac’s history, the tune’s sweet melody neutralized any sense of real desperation.

Buckingham offered no such protection as he growled the lyrics of “Big Love,” about the cold comfort of material fortune, over harsh finger-picked guitar. He was similarly intense in the stomping “Tusk” and a long, raw rendition of the bluesy “I’m So Afraid.”

“Second Hand News” was catchier but still anxious, its crisp tempo a promise of escape from the turmoil the song describes.

Then there was Nicks, who set aside her bandmates’ realism in favor of imagery rooted in history and mythology: “Rhiannon,” “Sisters of the Moon,” “Seven Wonders,” the last of which, she told the audience, had made it back into Fleetwood Mac’s set list after the song appeared in a recent episode of “American Horror Story.”

That quasi-mystical vibe is a big part of what’s endeared Nicks in particular to a new generation of musicians, including the sisters of L.A.’s Haim, to whom she dedicated “Landslide” on Saturday. (The Haim sisters weren’t the only admirers who turned up to pay their respects: According to a tweet from the Forum, Harry Styles of One Direction took in Friday’s show.)

Twirling in one of her trademark shawls during “Gypsy,” Nicks drew a wildly enthusiastic response from the crowd. And fans seemed untroubled by the adjustments she made to the melody of “Dreams,” a song whose high notes are now presumably out of her reach.

Yet that adulation hasn’t led, as it does with so many stars, to an unquenchable need for more.

Here Nicks appeared happy — even relieved, perhaps — to share the spotlight she grew accustomed to filling while McVie was away, and it was that sense of camaraderie that held Fleetwood Mac’s internal contradictions together.

“Once you come back, you can’t leave again,” Nicks recalled telling McVie in a rambling monologue about the reunion. That she meant it was clear when McVie, singing her ballad “Songbird,” closed the show.

Twitter: @mikaelwood / Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Mikael Wood / Los Angeles Times / Sunday, November 30, 2014

Categories
2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac returns to the Forum intact

In a recent interview with Mojo magazine, Fleetwood Mac drummer and co-namesake Mick Fleetwood admitted the band had been a bit “one-legged” in the 16 years it carried on without keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie. If that was the case, Fleetwood Mac was back on two legs, standing tall at the Forum on Black Friday for what was — according to a photo montage from its ’70s heyday proudly displayed in the Forum Club — its 13th appearance at the now remodeled venue.

Given that this was the group’s first date back in L.A. with Christine McVie and its history with the building, Friday’s show had all the trappings of a special event and Fleetwood Mac didn’t disappoint.

Opening with “The Chain,” the only song on the band’s 1977 blockbuster Rumours written by all five members, Fleetwood Mac at first celebrated its unity before turning the spotlight on the returning McVie, who sang lead on the even bigger Rumours era hit, “You Make Loving Fun.”

With all due respect to Fleetwood, we’d argue that Fleetwood Mac was more like a three-legged dog without Christine McVie, with frontwoman Stevie Nicks and frontman and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham holding up the front end while Fleetwood and fellow original member, bassist John McVie, together, supporting part of back. At the Forum, it was clear just how crucial Christine McVie’s role is, not only providing keyboards (although the band was supplemented by an additional keyboardist/guitarist and guitarist) and backing vocals for Nicks and Buckingham (the band was also assisted by three female backing vocalists), but providing an earthy lead vocal presence to counter Nicks’ sometimes out-three gypsy visions and Buckingham’s hyper emotionalism. And, it was that variety that made Friday’s show such a joy.

Christine McVie’s initial run in the spotlight was followed by Nicks’ turn on “Dreams,” then Buckingham on “Second Hand News,” back to Nicks with “Rhiannon,” extended with the singer altering her phrasing from the recorded version, proving this was no mere carbon copy of the record. The Tusk album track “I Know I’m Not Wrong” was a brief interlude from the hit parade before the title track, complete with video of the USC Marching Band performing the song on the video screen, for which Christine McVie added accordion and Buckingham replicated the elephant walk with guitar in tow.

The first third of the show was stacked so heavily with classic hits, it made you wonder if the band could sustain the momentum for the remainder of the gig, but that proved not to be a problem, as it used different configurations and vocalists to keep it interesting.

And the hits kept coming, as well, including McVie’s “Say That You Love Me,” the band’s first-ever top 40 hit after the veteran British blues band was revitalized with the addition of Nicks and Buckingham. After Nicks sang “Seven Wonders,” she gave a shout out to American Horror Story, which last season featured her in a cameo and the song, prompting the band to add it to the set.

Emotional highlights were natural to Buckingham and Nicks sharing the stage, Buckingham offering a startling acoustic reading of “Big Love,” after noting how the song’s meaning has changed over the years and then Nicks dedicating the ballad “Landslide” to “her fairy goddaughters” before the Forum’s roof sparkled as she sang.

Nicks also took the spotlight in “Gypsy” and “Gold Dust Woman.” The former was proceeded by a story about her early years in the Bay Area and remaining true to your dreams, while the latter had her donning a gold shawl and offering a freeform dance as she teetered on her high heels while the band provided a psychedelic interlude.

Towards the end of the set, the monster hit “Go Your Own Way” came off as a celebratory jam, with Nicks and Buckingham facing the drum kit and Fleetwood responding with a devilish grin.
During the encore, “World Turning” was punctuated with the hoariest of all arena-rock clichés — the drum solo. Yet Fleetwood made it tolerable by turning it into a call-and-response exercise with the audience, spouting gibberish and sporting wacky facial expressions between mercilessly pounding his kit.

“Don’t Stop” had all three main voices joining in unison and also seemed to be a theme for the two-and-half hour show and this 2014 tour. After Nicks took it down with “Silver Springs” and Buckingham (on piano) accompanied McVie on “Songbird,” Nicks returned to offer the story of Christine McVie’s return to the band. Then Fleetwood returned with his two young daughters in tow to once again thank the crowd and return the love. It was almost as if they didn’t want to stop.

Fleetwood Mac returns to the Forum Saturday and Dec. 6 and hits the Honda Center on Dec. 7.

Set List:

The Chain
You Make Loving Fun
Dreams
Second Hand News
Rhiannon
Everywhere
I Know I’m Not Wrong
Tusk
Sisters of the Moon
Say You Love Me
Seven Wonders
Big Love
Landslide
Never Going Back Again
Over My Head
Gypsy
Little Lies
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way

Encore:

World Turning
Don’t Stop
Silver Springs

Encore 2:

Songbird

The Bottom Line
The classic ’70s lineup is complete again with the return of Christine McVie after a 16-year absence.

Venue
The Forum
Inglewood, Calif.
(Friday, Nov. 28)

Twitter: @CraigRosen

Craig Rosen / The Hollywood Reporter / Sunday, November 30, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fully reunited Fleetwood Mac wows the Forum, headed to O.C.

With Christine McVie back in the fold, the band plays all its ’70s hits.

Leave it to Stevie Nicks, ever the mystical muse of Fleetwood Mac, to let us in on the secret – some combination of cosmic vibes, love and magic, and a simple cell phone call – that made the legendary band whole again some 16 years after singer and keyboard player Christine McVie retired from touring.

Yes, McVie picked up the phone and called Nicks in October 2013 to ask if she could come back to the band that had soldiered on with four-fifths of its classic lineup of Nicks, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. And of course Nicks told her she was welcome whenever and for always.

But that was just the product of deeper machinations in the universe, Nicks said at the close of the band’s sold-out show at the Forum on Friday, the first of four Southern California dates that includes a stop at Honda Center in Anaheim on Sunday, Dec. 7.

“I think that last year at some point in October there was there was some magical thing that went out from all our fans saying, ‘It’s time for Christine to come back,’ ” Nicks said. “We are so thrilled that we got our girl back – you have magical powers.”

That the feeling was mutual – all that love and magic, natch – was clear from the start of Fleetwood Mac’s two-and-a-half hour show and a set that in its 24 songs included many written and sung by McVie that fans here hadn’t heard since a 1997 tour that included three nights at the then-Irvine Meadows and one at the Hollywood Bowl.

Though this On With The Show tour has run for 20-some shows so far the opening number, “The Chain,” seemed a little rough at the start, the harmonies of Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie not quite meshing as smoothly as they should. All felt better though by the opening keyboard bit of the next song, “You Make Loving Fun,” a Christine McVie number that drew tremendous cheers as the crowd welcomed her back into the fold.

This is a band whose fights and fractures were legendary during the height of their fame. Nicks and Buckingham and the McVies each were couples, and then were not. Drug addictions and interband rivalries caused rifts even as Fleetwood Mac made some of the best albums of the era, from the self-titled “White Album” to “Rumours” and “Tusk.”

That they survived all that then is a minor miracle; that they perform as well as they do when they’re all between the ages of 65 to 71 years old must be an even sweeter success.

The show largely unfolded with the three singers taking turns on the songs they wrote and sang lead on. Early in the set that found Nicks singing “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” the latter of which found her all a-twirl in her gauzy black shawl, bowing deeply to acknowledge the cheers at the end.

Buckingham’s “Second Hand News” and “Tusk” put a spotlight on his high-energy vocals and still-dazzling guitar work, but throughout the night it was the McVie spotlights such as “Everywhere” and “Say You Love Me” that felt just a bit more special given her absence on stage for so many years.

Given how well-known these songs all are you’d be forgiven for thinking there’d be few moments of genuine surprise or deeper emotional connection, but throughout the night many of these older tunes felt fresh in the context of the gang getting back together again.

This was the case even when it was only Buckingham on stage by himself, singing “Big Love” and talking about how the feelings of alienation he felt with the band when he wrote it have faded to meditation now, or later when Nicks joined him for a beautiful take on the always lovely “Landslide.”

Nicks was her usual endearingly hippy-dippy self, at one point giving a shout-out to the TV series “American Horror Story” for featuring the song “Seven Wonders” earlier this year and thus getting it back into their set. She later told a long and rambling anecdote about her earliest days as a singer in San Francisco pre-Fleetwood Mac and how a visit to the lady rock star clothing store later inspired the song “Gypsy.”

Highlights in the final stretch of the main set included McVie’s “Little Lies,” a take on “Gold Dust Woman” that from the ominous guitar line and cowbell opening through Nicks’ gold-shawl-twirling performance was perhaps the tour de force of the show. They closed with “Go Your Own Way” with Buckingham taking the lead vocals but both Nicks and McVie joining in as it built to the finish.

The encore opened with “World Turning,” which featured Fleetwood on an old-fashioned drawn-out drum solo that you didn’t really mind given how animated and happy he seemed, then “Don’t Stop,” which had most of the Forum singing along.

After one more break, McVie returned alone to a piano at center stage, singing “Songbird,” the nickname Fleetwood gave her during the band introductions, alone for a moment, then joined by Buckingham on guitar. A fitting final spotlight for the prodigal daughter now back in the fold.

Contact the writer: 714-796-7787 or plarsen@ocregister.com

Peter Larsen / OC Register / Saturday, November 29, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie delight fans in San Jose

What a difference a McVie makes.

Christine McVie’s long-awaited return to Fleetwood Mac, following a 16-year absence, paid huge dividends during the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame act’s sold-out concert on Tuesday at the SAP Center in San Jose.

It allowed the band to fully recall its commercial and artistic peak of the ’70s, when the voices of McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham combined to make Fleetwood Mac one of the world’s biggest bands.

Sure, Nicks has typically received the lioness’ share of attention, with Buckingham hogging much of what was left over. Yet, anyone who doubts the importance of McVie’s musical contributions, both on vocals and keyboards, probably didn’t catch the band’s three previous road shows — all of which were solid, but not nearly as fulfilling as what Bay Area fans witnessed with the current On with the Show Tour.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer to the fold, this is definitely the right time to see Fleetwood Mac. Locals will have another shot when the Mac — Nicks, Buckingham, Christine McVie, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie — perform Dec. 3 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Show time is 8 p.m. and tickets are $49.50-$199.50, http://www.ticketmaster.com.

The tour — the band’s first with Christine McVie since 1997’s The Dance trek — is all about the hits. Fans get to hear most of the band’s best-known songs, minus the pre-Nicks/Buckingham material of the late ’60s and early ’70s, during a mostly well-paced set that stretches over 2 ½ hours.

The reunion show kicked off in appropriate fashion, with a triumphant version of “The Chain,” the only song credited to all five band members on 1977’s 40-million-plus selling “Rumours.” The group sounded fantastic, like it had just stepped out of some time capsule sealed around 1979, as it glided and grooved through some two-dozen pop-rock songs.

The three vocalists took turns in the spotlight, with McVie — the de facto guest of honor at this party — going first and crooning through a soothing “You Make Loving Fun.” Her first line was met with applause from the crowd, obviously thrilled to once again hear her voice.

“I’d just like to say a special thanks to Fleetwood Mac … for letting me come back and do this,” McVie said to the audience early in the evening. “It’s unreal.”

She bubbled with joy, like a woman who’d just found her lost winning lottery ticket, throughout the evening. She acted like it was a privilege to be able to once again sing such songs as “Everywhere” and “Say You Love Me” — and it certainly was a privilege to hear her sing them.

The happiest person in the building, however, was former San Jose State University student Stevie Nicks, who repeatedly informed the approximately 14,000 fans in attendance that she was delighted to be back in her old stamping grounds. It was great to hear her talk so warmly — and specifically — about San Jose, a city that is routinely referred to as San Francisco during concerts by performers who really should know better.

“This is for all of you in San Jose,” Nicks said during the introduction to the gorgeous ballad “Landslide.” “Because, you know, this is where the dream began.”

Nicks benefits greatly from Christine McVie’s presence, which allows her to shoulder less of a load overall and thus pour herself more fully into her lead vocals. She was brilliant on “Rhiannon” and even better on “Sisters of the Moon.” Nicks definitely went for broke on “Seven Wonders,” a tune from 1987’s “Tango in the Night” that gained new life after being used in TV’s “American Horror Story: Coven.”

“Thank you ‘American Horror Story,'” said Nicks, who also appeared — as herself — in the series.

The concert wasn’t without some problems. The last third of the show dragged on a bit too long, as the band extended some songs well past their worth and seemed to lose sight of the finish line. Nicks’ “Gold Dust Women” should’ve delivered a concise crescendo, but instead went on and on like a lesser String Cheese Incident cut. Mick Fleetwood’s drum solo during “World Turning” was a showstopper — but in all the wrong ways. Buckingham was his usual showboat self on guitar, but he has the talent to get away with it.

In all, however, it was a triumphant return for Fleetwood Mac — and its soaring “Songbird” Christine McVie.

Jim Harrington / Bay Area News Group / Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: With Christine McVie back, Fleetwood Mac feels complete

Fleetwood Mac played without an asterisk Monday during a sold-out show at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena.

JUMP TO: Photos

The superstar band offered all it hits and all its lead singers, with Christine McVie having returned to the road after a 16-year absence.

McVie was elegant and unassuming Monday, just as she was during the band’s “Rumours” heyday. Chic in black jeans and a leather jacket, the 71-year-old singer/keyboard player seemed happy to be back, whether she was in the spotlight or assuming a utility role by playing accordion on “Tusk,” the still-wild-and-weird title single from Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album.

McVie was not so unassuming that you did not notice, when the band kicked into the McVie-led “You Make Loving Fun” as its second song of the night, that an intact Mac beats the four-fifths crew that toured in her absence.

The band’s 1970s and ’80s success lay in its musical diversity. In how it made room for McVie’s graceful melodies, Stevie Nicks’ airy poetry and Lindsey Buckingham’s more coiled, intense songwriting, then joined those styles in a signature sound cemented by three-part harmonies.

Mac minus McVie still entertained in concert, with Nicks tapping her distinctive, raspy vocals, witchy-woman vibe and giant-rock-star stage presence, Buckingham quick-picking his guitar and exploiting his own considerable charisma, and Mick Fleetwood going mad on drums.

But those shows never felt like complete Mac. Not like the Mac that killed it Monday night on the band’s McVie-led 1987 hit “Little Lies.” A harmony bonanza, the song sounds edgier live than on record.

No one looked happier to see McVie than Buckingham, the band’s creative engine and biggest champion. McVie’s return, Buckingham said, marked a new period for the band that appeared likely to be “poetic” and “prolific.”

For a 65-year-old to be mapping out a rock ‘n’ roll future with a 71-year-old (and with Nicks, 66, Mick Fleetwood, 67, and bassist John McVie, who turns 69 Wednesday) is inspiring. It also speaks to why the group endures, 37 years after “Rumours” and its surrounding excess and romantic strife. It’s through Buckingham’s sheer will.

Christine McVie’s road rustiness showed at times Monday, especially during the ballad “Songbird,” during which she clearly had trouble hitting notes. But even at these moments, the band was better with her than without her. The notes might not all still be there, but the reassuring, husky quality of her voice is.

McVie seemed shy as she thanked her bandmates and fans for their support. Nicks was not shy at any point. Not when turning “Gold Dust Woman” into a welcome bit of performance art involving a sparkly shawl, or when regaling the audience with a story from her days as a Bay Area rock baby.

She was in a band with Buckingham that once opened for acts such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. After Nicks discovered all the famous San Francisco rock women shopped at a boutique called Velvet Underground (which Nicks name checks in “Gypsy”), she visited the store.

She couldn’t afford anything in it, Nicks told the crowd. But she had an epiphany while there, that one day she would be famous and play for big crowds. It happened, Nicks said, gesturing toward the 15,000 people watching her in Sleep Train Arena.

You gotta love Nicks for barely bothering with the “humble” part of humble bragging. But why bother with humility? Nicks has been an icon for decades.

“Icon” gets used too often. But add up Nicks’ one-of-a-kind, nasal-yet-pleasant singing voice, shawls, scarves, all-summer-long boots and the creation, last year, of an “American Horror Story: Coven” witch character who worshipped the singer, and there it is: icon.

Now that you know to whom the term legitimately can be applied, don’t go calling Taylor Swift an icon.

Call The Bee’s Carla Meyer, (916) 321-1118. Follow her on Twitter @CarlaMeyerSB

Carla Meyer / Sacramento Bee / Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at Moda Center, 11/22

Growing up, I hated Fleetwood Mac. Maybe part of the problem was I usually lumped them in with the Eagles, a band that is truly terrible, or with my general distaste for classic rock dinosaurs, borne from a childhood spent listening to Phil Collins and Sting greatest hit tapes on every single family roadtrip. Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Hole hit right when I got my first Discman, and soon after, my older next-door neighbor was giving me Radiohead and Built to Spill albums. Fleetwood Mac weren’t just uncool: They were the bloated, overwrought excess of everything a young indie-rock fan and Spin subscriber stood against. But then in college, a close friend lent me a copy of Tusk, saying it was their White Album and also the one where the band’s drug use was a little too intense. I grew older, went through a few breakups, and grew to truly love my former enemies.

Fleetwood Mac have been touring a lot the past few years (including an appearance at the Moda Center just last year), but the big news here is the return of Christine McVie after a 16-year absence. Though billed as the “On with the Show” tour, there was nothing resigned about the performance Saturday night, except the few moments when the New Age-y visuals recalled a Cialis commercial. Snark aside, this really was a wonderful show. The whole band seemed genuinely stoked to have McVie back in the fold, as most of the pre-song banter featured Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham or even Mick Fleetwood gushing about being able to play with her again. Fleetwood Mac has played most of these songs hundreds of times but they were still loose and nimble onstage, occasionally stretching out a song but never indulging in that classic rock trope of just jamming forever, man.

The hits from Rumours—”Dreams,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Gold Dust Woman”—naturally got the biggest responses, and the band smiled its way through through every moment. They were augmented by three backup singers and two sidemen on guitar and keyboards, but the mix was always light, centering on Nicks’ husky voice, Buckingham’s exciting guitar playing and the subtle backbone of the rhythm section, which just kept on beating amidst a sea of 20,000 people singing along to every single word.

But for me, the real pleasure was when the band dived deeper into their back catalogue, dusting off gems like “Tusk” and Tango in the Night’s “Little Lies” and “Big Love,” which Buckingham performed solo while showing off his incredible fingerpicked guitar playing. I nearly died when he played “I Know I’m Not Wrong,” my favorite song off Tusk and easily the most amusing song of the night visually, with his dismembered floating head projected on the screen behind the band mouthing the words through a sea of colorful clouds. Buckingham really is an amazing performer—at 65 years old, rocking skinny jeans and a tight black v-neck, he seems much younger than most of his contemporaries. Though not usually recognized as a guitar hero, his solos were revelatory, never overshadowing the song but pushing each hit to new heights.

During the encore, I realized this might be the first show I’ve ever seen without an opening band. I mean, who could realistically open for Fleetwood Mac? When Mick launched into a call-and-response drum solo during “World Turning,” I initially wanted to hate on the showmanship, but I actually found it rather endearing, just like when he came out front to play a smaller kit during a nice late set stretch of songs that included “Over My Head.” Sure, it was a little cheesy. But sometimes, we have to know when we are wrong, and just embrace the kitsch.

Michael Mannheimer / Willamette Week / Sunday, November 23, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac plays hit after greatest hit

Fleetwood Mac
Moda Center at the Rose Quarter
Portland

“Sweet wonderful you,” Christine McVie sang, all smiles. “You make me happy with the things you do.”

That was pretty much the vibe at Fleetwood Mac’s concert at the Moda Center on Saturday night; five senior citizens touring again for the first time in 16 years, playing their hits like time stopped and it was 1979 again, with more hugs and without all the cocaine. McVie’s decision to return created a pocket of warmth on the left side of the stage and energized her bandmates, who couldn’t stop talking about how happy it made them to play with “our beautiful Christine,” as Lindsey Buckingham called her. Here’s a review in the form of an annotated setlist, 20 songs deep:

“The Chain”: Christine comes out and slides behind her keyboards like she’s never been away, 71 and looking great. Stevie Nicks is center stage, Buckingham is stage right, Mick Fleetwood atop a huge drum kit, John McVie almost invisible in a cap and red vest. There are two extra musicians behind the McVies and three backup singers, providing a fuller sound that’s immediately put to use on the chorus. First impression: Buckingham is really on it, breaking off a clean solo with that amazing fingerpicking technique.

“You Make Loving Fun”: Christine’s first solo vocal of the evening is strong and clear — that’s what 16 years off will do for your voice. She once wrote a song called “Warm Ways,” and warmth is the best word to describe her. She’s Christine Perfect from the Lake District of England, and it’s lovely to see her back onstage.

“Dreams”: Any band is a brand, and a band as big as Fleetwood Mac creates and maintains a brand that stays in people’s minds and brings them to a concert where the newest songs were recorded 26 years ago. The brand doesn’t change, the songs stay on the radio and sound as fresh as ever, but the players — the ones that only love you when they’re playing — get older. All the members of Fleetwood Mac are at least 65 and have been performing since they were teenagers. Time waits for no one.

Which is one way of saying that Stevie Nicks’ voice, always husky and evocative, sometimes sounds hoarse and flat, like it did on the first verse of “Dreams.”

“Second Hand News”: Fleetwood, who loves a kick-drum intro, pounded it out and Buckingham took it from there. Short and sweet.

“Rhiannon”: Nicks put on her black witch shawl and vamped a little as the rear-screen projection flashed some images that were a combination of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Song Remains the Same.” And speaking of Tolkien, if Fleetwood Mac was “The Lord of the Rings” then Mick would be Gandalf, John McVie would be Samwise Gamgee, Buckingham would be Aragorn, Christine would be Gimli, and Stevie would be Frodo, keeper of the Ring.

“Everywhere”: Christine thanked the audience — warmly, sincerely — and sang one of her hits.

“I Know I’m Not Wrong”: Welcome to the Lindsey Buckingham show. He gave a little rap about how having Christine back “feels very circular,” then played the first of two numbers from “Tusk,” his masterpiece (but not the band’s).

“Tusk”: Slow build led by Buckingham, Christine strapped on an accordion (not that you could hear it), and the light show morphed into the famous USC marching band footage. Worked for me.

“Sisters of the Moon”: Stevie’s found her voice! Maybe the lower register fits the 2014 Stevie. This song is the one Stevie lovers love most.

“Say You Love Me”: Christine’s songs are all about love, pure and true. The lyrics are direct and sincere and timeless. Is it possible to have a crush on a woman old enough to be your mother?

“Seven Wonders”: More grooviness from Her Royal Stevieness, wrapped up with a shout-out to “American Horror Story” for bringing the song back around.

“Big Love”: Why did Buckingham never become a solo star the way Nicks did? He has so much talent: great voice, charisma, brilliant, unusual guitar technique, outstanding writer and performer. The biggest reason why Fleetwood Mac was so successful the late 1970s was it had three songwriters — Buckingham, Nicks, Christine McVie — coming up with one radio-friendly classic after another. But somebody had to be the boss and bring the sound into a whole live and in the studio, and that person was Buckingham. He was the driving force, the Lennon and the McCartney on “Rumours” and definitely on “Tusk,” and it took so much out of him that he quit after “Tango in the Night,” the last studio album with this lineup and originally a Buckingham solo album. He’s been the backbone of all the tours for the last 25 years and it seems to me forgotten as a live performer by those who see Fleetwood Mac as an oldies band. (Which they are, let’s face it.)

“Landslide”: Hearing Stevie play this is like hearing Neil Young play “Old Man.” They’ve grown into the song, and it means more now.

“Never Going Back Again”: Slow and easy, Buckingham whispered his vocal. He hugged Nicks when it was over.

“Over My Head”: “I wrote this one in 1975,” Christine said. Fleetwood’s out front, playing a smaller kit.

“Gypsy”: Long, funny introduction from Stevie about being in a band in San Francisco, going into a hippie clothing store called The Velvet Underground, following your dreams, etc. Best video of the night: rainy San Francisco, kinda noir. Lighting strikes, maybe once, maybe twice. Stevie spins!

“Little Lies”: The last top 10 hit for Fleetwood Mac, unless “American Horror Story” uses a deep cut from “Tusk” or something.

“Gold Dust Woman”: Stevie shuffled across the stage, and for a minute I wasn’t sure she was going to make it back. Cool outro from Ms. Nicks.

“I’m So Afraid”: The first of three big fat highlights for me. I love the desperate isolation in the lyric, and then Buckingham shredded a showcase solo. It’s one thing to finger-pick an acoustic, but getting that kind of big sound out of an electric without a pick is fascinating to watch.

“Go Your Own Way”: Buckingham was out of breath after “I’m So Afraid”; Nicks put on a top hat and waved to the fans. Cell phones light up before the encore. The woman next to me pulled out a lighter and people congratulated her.

“World Turning”: The first song of the encore meant a drum solo for Fleetwood.

“Don’t Stop”: The one song in the Fleetwood Mac catalog that feels overplayed. It’s not you, it’s me.

“Silver Springs”: (Highlight No. 2) How great an album is “Rumours” that this beauty didn’t make the cut? The flip side of “Go Your Own Way,” maybe Stevie’s loveliest lyric. She saved her best performance for last, and thanked the fans for remembering the song. Who can forget?

“Songbird”: (Highlight No. 3): Christine at a grand piano, Buckingham at her side, playing another wide-open love song, wedding music for a generation of happy couples, at least on that day. It’s all right. I know it’s right.

Jeff Baker / The Oregonian / Sunday, November 23, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: The Mac is back!

Last Tuesday, Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis hosted legendary rock band Fleetwood Mac for the 12th show of their tour – another sold out show.

The band, back to the original five with the return of Christine McVie after 16 years, reminded the sold out crowd why they were such big fans of the band for such a long time.

The nearly three-hour-long concert was filled with hits from the past as well as hits of the future.

As the lights went out the shouts and applause began. Chimes were heard and then the foot drum played by Mick Fleetwood slowly began to play. Everyone knew what was coming when Lindsey Buckingham started on the guitar, we all knew what song it was, “The Chain,” a hit from their album Rumours.

They followed with several more hits back to back all evening.

Age has nothing on this band as these “youngsters at heart” thrilled the crowd and sounded incredible. They sang, danced, jumped, and moved around the stage as if time had stood still for the past 40 years.

I have been at concerts of artists in their 20s on up and this concert was one of the best, if not at the top.

Stevie Nicks, 66 and Christine McVie, 71, can still belt it out like no one else with their amazing vocal talents.

From Mick Fleetwood’s entertaining antics on the drums during “World Turning” to John McVie’s steadiness on the bass to Lindsey Buckingham’s unbelievable abilities on the guitar all across the stage, the band put on a show to remember.

Aaron Kirchoff / Rushville Republican / Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac back in top form at Boston Garden party

When you have a record in your quiver like Rumours, one of the best-selling albums of all time with 45 million copies sold, you can kick off a concert like Fleetwood Mac did Saturday in its second sold-out stop at TD Garden this month. Especially if you have Christine McVie back after a 16-year retirement to join Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in restoring all three of the lead singers from that 1977 classic.

Hence came the “Keep us together” chorus of opener “The Chain,” one of four straight jukebox-worthy tunes from Rumours, followed by Nicks’ signature 1975 smash “Rhiannon.” Yet beyond the nostalgic joy of having all three voices harmonize those vintage hits, Buckingham then announced a new “profound and prolific chapter” for the band, an allusion to songs reportedly in the works for a comeback album.

But no new songs, solo songs or pre-Buckingham/Nicks songs showed up in Fleetwood Mac’s two-and-a-half hour set, which actually grew stronger as it branched deeper into this quintet’s musical personalities (lengthy banter aside). Pianist McVie, the eldest band member at 71, beamed positivity into edge-of-sappy pop like “Say You Love Me” and “Over My Head.” Nicks tempered her witchy mystique for earthy, resonant delivery even in mid-set “Sisters of the Moon” and “Seven Wonders,” which she admitted wouldn’t have been done if not for its inclusion in the TV series “American Horror Story.” Buckingham hit virtuoso extremes from solo acoustic selections to his stinging, finger-picked guitar climax to “I’m So Afraid” while stoking the rock edge of “Go Your Own Way” with tribal drummer Mick Fleetwood, who fueled the energy of “World Turning” despite his overdone solo bash. Only bassist John McVie, recovering from cancer surgery, played the silent partner.

They all looked good and sounded spot-on musically and vocally, so did they really need three female backup singers, an extra guitarist and an extra keyboardist? “Tusk” was powerful before pre-recorded horns synced to video of the USC Trojan Marching Band that graced the album. Band members seemed in fine spirits as well, complimenting each other left and right, apparently quite sincere and happy about it all. Granted, they’re boosting a lucrative brand, starting with pricey sold-out concert tickets. And they must be in better mental and physical shape than in the cocaine-fueled days that Rumours was made, when relationships (between Buckingham and Nicks as well as the divorcing McVies) were in tatters.

Mac fans (especially many who never caught this full classic lineup) would do well to jump on this bandwagon — if they can afford a ticket, and perhaps before any new songs arrive for better or worse (Saturday’s main misstep was 1987’s glossy “Little Lies,” set to video of made-up young eyes and lips). Beyond a date this Saturday in Hartford, Conn., the band just added shows into the new year, including the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. on Jan. 28 and Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun on Feb. 7.

Paul Robicheau / The Improper Bostonian / Monday, October 27, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie concert a triumph

Fleetwood Mac
Canadian Tire Centre
Reviewed Sunday, Oct. 26

With Christine McVie back in the lineup, a revitalized Fleetwood Mac gave a triumphant concert at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, delighting a sold-out crowd of 18,500 fans.

The classic-rock legends had been soldiering on for years without McVie, who departed in the late ’90s because of a crippling fear of plane travel. Although they adjusted the music to work well enough without McVie’s mellow voice, her absence was always noted, as we saw when Mac passed through town last year.

This time, the 71-year-old singer-songwriter-instrumentalist took her rightful place alongside her original bandmates, who voiced their appreciation a couple of times during Sunday’s concert.

“Welcome back, Chris,” said singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks, who seemed genuinely happy to share the spotlight. “I told her I was lonely up here without another blonde. Two blondes are better than one.”

When it comes to the Fleetwood Mac catalogue, two female voices sound better than one, too, as McVie’s well-modulated pipes provide a nice counterpart to the emotional edge of Nicks’s voice. What’s more, it was terrific to hear the songs that McVie wrote included in the set list.

After a sturdy version of The Chain to kick off the show, McVie took the lead, lending her rich, buttery voice to the gently soaring You Make Loving Fun. She also played keyboards throughout the concert, and at one point, stepped away from the piano to wield an accordion. Other highlights of McVie’s contributions include Say You Love Me, Everywhere and Don’t Stop.

Despite the long history of challenging interpersonal relationships among the band members, there was nothing but love displayed on stage.

“On a personal note, I’d like to say thank you for letting me have a second chance at doing this all over again. I love you guys,” said McVie, who’s not usually one to gush.

It was up to Nicks, who occupied centre stage, to create a sense of drama with her arms outstretched and scarves floating around her as she twirled. The 66-year-old singer threw herself into such crowd favourites as Dreams and Rhiannon.

Musically, the band was on fire, thanks in large part to the work of singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. He set the pace by digging into his electric guitar and coming up with some dazzling solos. Anchoring the proceedings was the mighty rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass. A trio of backing singers and a couple of additional instrumentalists rounded out the lineup.

The concert lasted close to two-and-a-half hours and was packed with hits, including most of their seminal 1977 release, Rumours, one of the best-selling albums in rock history. Crowd favourites included invigorating versions of Go Your Own Way and Don’t Stop that demonstrated the band’s new energy.

The Ottawa concert was part of the first leg of their On With the Show tour, which Buckingham described as a new chapter for the band.

“At this particular moment for us, with the return of beautiful Christine, we begin a new chapter, a very prolific, profound and poetic chapter in the history of this band,” he said.

lsaxberg@ottawacitizen.com

Lynn Saxberg / Ottawa Citizen / Sunday, October 26, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac celebrates hits with help from Kid Rock

Fleetwood Mac celebrated its long history with a two-and-a-half hour concert at the Palace Wednesday that saw a cameo from hometown rocker Kid Rock.

Yesterday’s gone, as the song goes, but it was a celebration of yesterdays gone at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Wednesday night as Fleetwood Mac hit the stage for a 2½-hour love fest in honor of the return of Christine McVie to the band’s fold after a 16-year absence.

Even Kid Rock got in on the action, hitting the stage midway through the show after Lindsey Buckingham dedicated “Big Love” to the hometown rocker and Stevie Nicks mentioned him during her intro to “Landslide.” As “Landslide” was coming to a close, Rock walked onto the stage — his American Badass trucker hat atop his head — and stood behind Nicks, wrapping his arms around her with a reverse bear hug. That brought the crowd to its feet, as any appearance by Rock tends to do, and jump-started the show for its second half.

No disrespect to Rock (or Nicks), but it was McVie’s night to shine, and she brought a wave of early cheers two songs into the show when she opened “You Make Loving Fun.” “Thank you Detroit!” she exclaimed at the close of the song to a round of applause. The current tour marks her first outing with the band since 1998’s tour behind “The Dance.”

“I guess you did notice there is yet another blonde on the stage,” Nicks said after McVie’s brief hellos. “Two blondes are better than one!” She then asked McVie, “where you been?” but the answer was beside the point. This tour is about the famously contentious band coming back together for one more go-round and fans having one more shot at seeing them back together.

The packed house proved there was plenty of interest in the billing, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers delivered a solid 24-song show of hits and album cuts from its long and winding history. Everyone got a chance to shine, and Buckingham’s searing guitar solo during a towering “I’m So Afraid” was the night’s highlight.

Yet for all the talk about tomorrow and the band’s future — both Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood seemed stoked for the band’s prospects looking forward — it was a nostalgia play through and through. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and there’s plenty to be said for playing the hits to a receptive audience. “Don’t Stop” came late in the show and while the song’s and the band’s optimistic message still rings, it’s a throwback of a throwback.

Yesterday’s gone, no matter how hard you try to hang on.

agraham@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/grahamorama

Adam Graham / The Detroit News / Thursday, October 23, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Christine McVie performs with Fleetwood Mac at Nationwide Arena

In sports, one player, no matter how transcendent, can’t single-handedly win a title: Just ask LeBron James. On the crowded classic-rock-nostalgia circuit, even two towering superstars might not cut it: Ask Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

So please welcome back Fleetwood Mac’s not-so-secret weapon, Christine McVie. As evidenced by last night’s transformative show in Nationwide Arena, her adoring fans missed her, but not half as much as the rest of her band.

Sure, the ’70s-chart-smashing pop juggernaut could subsist on the arena-touring circuit for decades hence off the poisonous fruit of the infamously doomed Buckingham-Nicks romance alone, but what fun is that?

McVie, a far sweeter and gentler singer and songwriter, had quit the band in 1998 (she hated flying) and vowed never to return. Thank God she relented this year. The crowd’s huge swell of adoration was palpable from the first few notes of “You Make Loving Fun.” Exquisitely mushy cloudbursts like “Everywhere” and “Say You Love Me” — a typical line of hers is “I’m over my head / But it sure feels nice” — were crucial counterpoints to Nicks’ siren songs and Buckingham’s wiry, pantherlike aggressiveness.

A shadowy back line of five singers and multi-instrumentalists quietly added any muscle the core quintet, rounded out by rock-solid bassist John McVie and incurably hammy drummer Mick Fleetwood, had lost over the years. (Nice gong, Mick.)

Nicks in particular deftly dodged the high notes on “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” though her cuddly-goth charisma helped close the deficit: Nobody on Earth gets more applause just for twirling in a circle.

Still, “Landslide,” her colossally gentle acoustic duet with Buckingham, can always induce open weeping, and her entrancing “Gypsy” may be the band’s single most rapturous pure-pop moment. (The lost high notes on that one particularly hurt last night, though she did twirl a lot.)

Buckingham, meanwhile, is the mad virtuoso: His howling, classical-guitar-shredding, one-man version of “Big Love” (off 1987’s crazy-underrated Tango in the Night) is an awesome, terrifying thing, and his prowling, snarling, opera-length solo on the uncharacteristically heavy deep cut I’m So Afraid nearly knocked the audience unconscious.

Ultimately, though, it was Christine’s night: The show peaked with the Tango-era soft-rock classic “Little Lies” — featuring the night’s best harmonies by a long shot — and she closed out with the delicately strident solo-piano gem “Songbird.” Her bandmates appeared to consider carrying her offstage like a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. It’s not a bad idea.

Rob Harvilla / The Columbus Dispatch / Monday October 20, 2014

 

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac play like they have something to prove

With the return of Christine McVie, band restores its “classic” lineup and plays their greatest hits to a sold-out Air Canada Centre.

[slideshow_deploy id=’23152′]

* * * (three stars out of five)

If Fleetwood Mac wants to take a victory lap, Fleetwood Mac can take a victory lap.

Another victory lap, I guess. They’re all kinda victory laps if you’ve got a reputation and platinum-plated catalogue of the sort Fleetwood Mac has.

Still, the last time the band passed through Toronto for an Air Canada Centre date in April of 2013, it looked surprisingly vital and revved-up for a pack of greying boomers that one might have been tempted to write off as a nostalgia act. For a band with nothing really left to prove, the Mac behaved like it still had something to prove.

For its current On with the Show tour, Fleetwood Mac has managed to restore itself to the “classic” lineup responsible for such landmark albums as Rumours, Tusk and Tango in the Night with the unexpected return of long-absent member Christine McVie to the fold for the first time since she quit the group — in large part due to a deathly fear of all the flying involved with touring the world in a rock ’n’ roll band — in 1998. This, of course, is a perfect excuse to stuff the set list with all the McVie songs that have been absent from Fleetwood Mac performances during the past 16 years, which made Saturday night’s sold-out performance at the Air Canada Centre a rather more straightforward, greatest-hits-oriented affair than the quintet’s last appearance in this town.

Not that that’s a bad thing. If Fleetwood Mac still wants to go out every night and play Rumours top to bottom, more power to it. A few other albums might have surpassed that megalithic 1977 pop smash in sales over the years since Michael Jackson’s Thriller usurped it as the biggest record of all time 30 years ago, but none of them — not Dark Side of the Moon, not Back in Black, not even Thriller itself — is as relentlessly pillaged, track for track (with the exception of maybe “Oh Daddy,” which I kinda feel sorry for), every single day, by classic-rock radio. Nowadays, though, the band no longer has to bound through “Don’t Stop” while politely ignoring the fact that the woman who wrote it isn’t there, and “You Make Loving Fun” and “Songbird” can resume their rightful, triumphant places in the set list.

McVie’s surprise return is, unfortunately, the sole real surprise the On with the Show production has to offer, at least as it was presented on Saturday night. Her presence onstage might herald a “beautiful, profound and poetic new chapter in the Fleetwood Mac story,” as guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham put it at one point — indeed, rumour has it he and McVie are already at work on new material — but at the moment it basically appears to be an excuse to take a fond stroll down memory lane.

Which is fine. It’s a nice stroll. McVie ditties like “Say You Love Me,” “Everywhere” and “Little Lies” are now back in circulation alongside such crowd-pleasing Stevie Nicks-sung staples as “Gold Dust Woman,” “Rhiannon,” “Gypsy” and the agelessly lovely “Landslide,” so Saturday’s two-and-a-half-hour show was a more relentless Fleetwood Mac hit parade than we’ve witnessed in years. There wasn’t a lot of room left to stretch out or get weird while dutifully covering all those bases, however. Oddball favourite Tusk got a passing glance in the form of the title track and Buckingham’s fiery “I Know I’m Not Wrong,” while the ace guitarist presided over a nimble-fingered acoustic deconstruction of “Big Love” and a slightly less successful, kinda-draggy remodelling of “Never Going Back Again” to shake off the usual a little bit. A few more drawn-out jams in the form of the late-set sprawler “I’m So Afraid” would have been welcome nonetheless, since it was those moments — the moments when Fleetwood Mac dug into its material enthusiastically and tore it up like a band doing more than just going through the expected motions — that made the group’s last ACC appearance so memorable. This time around, you tended to get exactly what you thought you were gonna get.

It kept the room in good spirits, anyway. And the band, still early into a 68-date tour that will extend well into 2015, seemed genuinely thrilled to be back in action with McVie at the keyboards. Drummer Mick Fleetwood looked positively gleeful, in fact, when he emerged onstage after the encore in a glittery red top hat to proclaim “The Mac is back!” If Fleetwood Mac is happy, we’re happy. These old dogs might have a few new tricks left in ‘em yet.

Ben Rayner / Toronto Star / Sunday October 19, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre

Christine McVie back after 16 years but Fleetwood Mac is still the Stevie Nicks show

By the time Fleetwood Mac played “Rhiannon,” early on in their two and a half hour long revue at the Air Canada Centre, it was clear that despite the brouhaha over the return of long-time member Christine Mcvie after a 16-year hiatus, it’s still the Stevie Nicks show. Nicks oozes charisma; she can get a crowd excited by waving her arm or doing a little twirl. Every time she sang (and she was singing well) the packed house got out of their seats. No wonder so many fans arrived dressed like her.

Starting with “The Chain,” the Mac played through nearly every song from their bestselling hit-machine Rumours, pulling out “Silver Springs” in the encore with an abundance of ridiculous chime sounds (the band clearly love their synths – why, oh why, did they not bring along a live horn section?).

Not to be outdone by Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham prepared for solo turn “Big Love” by charging up his right hand like a robot before launching into the loudest, most ferocious classical playing imaginable (Buckingham, a ham, admirably never left the stage, though some of his other songs came across as overwrought).

He was at his best was when he loaned his guitar chops in service of Nicks’s vocals on “Landslide,” though everyone had their moments (including Mick Fleetwood’s indulgent drum solo in the encore).

The band say this is a new chapter that will last long and bear fruit, and they’ve got a new album on the way. Time will tell how long those chains will hold.

Sarah Greene / Now Toronto / Sunday, October 19, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at the Wells Fargo Center 10/15/2014

Edgy and energized are an understatement when it comes to describing the sold out audience before Fleetwood Mac made their blockbuster return to Philadelphia in what is known as their “classic configuration.” In every respect this was a classic live event.

Upon their entrance the roar was deafening, joyous and received by the band with a sort of joy usually seen in new acts when they hit their sweet spot. It must have been unworldly for Christine McVie to receive not just the adulation of the audience, but the true over the top joy of her band mates.

They led off with “The Chain,’ the crowd almost lost it and after the song Lindsey Buckingham had a smile you could see from the moon. He looked to his right and nodded to Christine. It was the beginning of a two and one half hour symphony of some of the best the world of music has to offer.

There were so many heart-felt highlights it is hard to render them down to a few, but for me when Lindsey said “ And now we have Christine back.” he didn’t say it he meant it. Nick Fleetwood’s face must have hurt from the wild smile he had the entire night. The thunderous reaction to Stevie Nicks when she twirled and the awe when the lights went out and came back on with McVie sitting at a Grand piano playing “Over My Head.” For me these were moments to remember.

Musically, the vocals don’t have the range they did 30 years ago, however, the character and grit in the voices more than compensated for a note forgotten. What makes any performance stand out is the chemistry amongst the performers along with the alchemy between the group and the audience. They truly turned the night into gold. Lindsey Buckingham stole the show this night with his energy and guitar solo during “I’m So Afraid. ” Couple with his gymnastic ballet, he was awe-inspiring with over 9 minutes of some of the finest finger work you will ever see and or hear.

The visuals really contributed to an amazing night. From the medieval motif shown during “Rhiannon” to the clip of the UCS band during “Tusk,” the colors and imagery were just top-notch.

Fleetwood Mac has already done it all. They have recorded 48 albums, released 76 singles, won Grammy Awards, and been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, yet they gave us everything they had for almost 3 hours. What they had was magic and they gave us a little of that magic.

Setlist

“The Chain”
“You Make Loving Fun”
“Dreams”
“Second Hand News”
“Rhiannon”
“Everywhere”
“I Know I’m Not Wrong”
“Tusk”
“Sisters Of The Moon”
“Seven Wonders”
“Big Love”
“Landslide”
“Never Going Back Again”
“Over My Head”
“Gypsy”
“Little Lies”
“Gold Dust Woman”
“I’m So Afraid”
“Go Your Own Way”
encore:
“World Turning”
“Don’t Stop”
“Silver Springs”
encore 2:
“Songbird”

I’m a romantic, so I see things through rosy glasses. If you have the chance to see Fleetwood Mac during this tour, do it! Nothing is forever and who knows if the “classic configuration” will come our way again!

Joe S. / iRadioPhilly / Saturday, October 18, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac wows boomers in marathon Philly show

After kicking off a two-and-half-hour tour de force of a concert aptly with “The Chain”’ a song about unbreakable bonds, Lindsey Buckingham beamed and looked to his right.

“And now the beautiful Christine is back,” the vocalist-guitarist said just before Fleetwood Mac delivered “You Make Loving Fun.”

The capacity crowd at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night roared as the band kicked into the tune’s opening notes. The classic configuration of Fleetwood Mac, which will return to the South Philly venue Oct. 29, was back performing in the area for the first time since it played what was known as the Tweeter Center in Camden in September of 1997.

Vocally McVie and her counterpart, the beguiling Stevie Nicks, have to dial it down. The former is 71 and the latter is 66. What they lack in range, they make up for in character.

Fleetwood Mac still has it. It’s just different than it was in ‘97 and especially than it was during the summer of ‘77 when the band’s breakthrough album, Rumours, was ubiquitous.

Fleetwood Mac wowed the enthusiastic crowd with cuts from the emotional Rumours, the second biggest selling album of all-time, and a plethora of other hits.

“Go Your Own Way,” “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” sated the boomers.

Buckingham, the young buck in the band at a mere 65, stole the show. The thin as a rail fingerpicker riveted the crowd with an emotional “Big Love.” His fiery solo and his electric play in general impressed.

“I think he’s been off stage for 30 seconds tonight,” drummer Mick Fleetwood declared.

That’s not much of an exaggeration as the rest of the veteran group took considerable time off during the marathon show. But Buckingham looked like an old school punk pogoing across the stage and grunting, groaning and screaming throughout the night.

McVie, who was MIA since ‘97 due to her fear of flying, was rough around the edges vocally but she’s been out of the game for nearly 20-years.

Nicks and her unique husky voice and subtle gestures made songs such as “Seven Wonders” and “Gold Dust Woman” haunting and compelling. Whenever Nicks would spin like she did a generation ago, fans shrieked.

Fleetwood made like it was 1977 with a wild drum solo.

But it was the hits and the charm of the band that made the night. Nicks, who has always been a great storyteller, often stopped to drop anecdotes. “In the beginning Lindsey and I lived in San Francisco and there was this amazing store (the Velvet Underground) which had incredible clothes and all of the rock and roll women with money shopped there like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. I remember thinking that when I make it, I’ll shop at that store and I did. If you do believe in your dreams, they can come true.”

The wild success of Fleetwood Mac enables Nicks to shop anywhere and it also gave the band considerable creative freedom to craft some of the most enduring songs from a generation ago.

“We’ve started a new and poetic chapter with Christine,” Buckingham said. “It’ll bear much fruit.”

Ed Condran / The Morning Call / Thursday, October 16, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at Wells Fargo Center

Fleetwood Mac at Wells Fargo Center: What you missed, with photos and set list

[slideshow_deploy id=’22821′]

PHILADELPHIA — Fleetwood Mac returned to Philadelphia Wednesday night, touring together as a full band for the first time in 16 years.

Christine McVie re-joined band mates Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks for their On With The Show tour.

The crowd at the Wells Fargo Center was excited to hear the multi-Grammy Award®-winning band perform together once again, and while nearly everyone was standing as the band took the stage, Christine McVie received a special welcome from not only the concert-goers, but each band member throughout the night.

WHAT YOU MISSED

  • Singer-songwriter and vocalist Christine McVie’s return to Fleetwood Mac after retiring from the band following The Dance tour in the late ’90s. The crowd gave her an overwhelming welcome when she performed the second song of the show, “You Make Loving Fun,” and despite a 15-year absence from the stage, her warm vocals really shined in “Little Lies.”
  • The distinctive voice of Stevie Nicks isn’t what it used to be, but that’s not to say it’s a bad thing; it’s just different. At 66 years old, she stills delivers powerful performances in “Seven Wonders,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Silver Springs.” The simplicity of “Landslide,” with Nicks joined onstage by guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, was almost haunting with her raspy voice.
  • While it was definitely Christine McVie’s night, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham stole the show. His solos, “Big Love” and “Never Going Back Again,” were full of energy, and it was entrancing to watch his finger-picking throughout the night. But Buckingham seemed to mesmerize the crowd with his guitar solo in the 9-minute long “I’m So Afraid” and belted out the lyrics with such a strong voice you couldn’t help but stop and just take it all in.
  • The band paid homage to McVie’s return by beginning the show with “The Chain,” a rousing song about unbreakable bonds that would’ve had the crowd quickly on their feet if they hadn’t been already.

NOTES AND MUSINGS

  • Stevie Nicks definitely got into character during “Gold Dust Woman,” seemingly in a trance as she slowly danced across the stage. At the end of the song, she raised her arms like a bird spreading its wings, showing her silhouette through her shimmering gold shawl as the spotlight shone down on her at center-stage.
  • While it would be nearly impossible to replicate the high-intensity, full-volumed “Tusk” without the benefit of the USC Marching Band playing alongside Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham led the group in a pretty energizing version of the song. The group wasn’t remiss about tipping their caps to the marching band however, as videos of the tuba-carrying and trumpet-toting collegiate band played on the large screen behind them.
  • Drummer Mick Fleetwood couldn’t stop smiling all night long, and seemed as happy to be onstage as a kid in a candy store. He really impressed concert-goers as he performed the majority of his drum solo during “World Turning” with his eyes closed.
  • The entire band put their all into “Go Your Own Way,” the last song before a duo of encores. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks really worked the stage, and the crowd absolutely loved it.

SET LIST

“The Chain”
“You Make Loving Fun”
“Dreams”
“Second Hand News”
“Rhiannon”
“Everywhere”
“I Know I’m Not Wrong”
“Tusk”
“Sisters of the Moon”
“Say You Love Me”
“Seven Wonders”
“Big Love” (Lindsey Buckingham acoustic solo)
“Landslide”
“Never Going Back Again” (Lindsey Buckingham acoustic solo)
“Over My Head”
“Gypsy”
“Little Lies”
“Gold Dust Woman”
“I’m So Afraid”
“Go Your Own Way”

Encore 1:
“World Turning” (Mick Fleetwood drum solo)
“Don’t Stop”
“Silver Springs”

Encore 2:
“Songbird”

NEXT LOCAL SHOWS

  • Fleetwood Mac returns to the Wells Fargo Center in two weeks, on Wednesday, Oct. 29 for an 8 p.m. show. Limited tickets remain. For tickets, visit livenation.com.
  • On Saturday, Jan. 24, the group performs at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, Oct. 20, at 10 a.m. For more information, visit livenation.com.

Lori M. Nichols may be reached at lnichols@southjerseymedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @photoglori. Find the South Jersey Times on Facebook.

Lori M. Nichols / South Jersey Times / Thursday, October 16, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fully intact Fleetwood Mac takes crowd to paradise

After not touring with Fleetwood Mac for 16 years, Christine McVie greets the Consol Energy Center crowd after their concert’s second song, “You Make Loving Fun,” which she wrote for the “Rumours” album.

“Sweet, wonderful you.”

(Photo: John Heller / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
(Photo: John Heller / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

They were the first three words we clearly heard from Christine McVie Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center, opening the second song, “You Make Loving Fun,” and it got the ecstatic greeting you would expect from the packed house.

It was the first time we’ve heard that voice here since September 1997 (at Star Lake), a year before Ms. McVie left the group after 27 years due to her fear of flying. Now, at last, she’s back on board and the band saluted that by hitting the stage with a rousing version of “The Chain,” a rocker about unbreakable bonds.

“Welcome, Pittsburgh!” Stevie Nicks shouted. “And welcome back, Chris! She hasn’t told us what she’s been doing the last 16 years, but I’m sure she will. … The story will come out at some point.”

Ms. McVie’s extended absence left Ms. Nicks alone with the boys — singer-guitarist/ex-flame Lindsey Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie (Ms. McVie’s ex) — and also left a number of the band’s classic hits out of the set list. Of course, with Fleetwood Mac, there were plenty left to fill a two-plus hour show, but it sure was nice to see the revival of “You Make Loving Fun,” “Say You Love Me,” “Over My Head” and others.

Ms. McVie, one of three Brits in the bunch, is known for her warm, smoky vocals, to go with the raspy, husky ones of Ms. Nicks. At 71 and 66, respectively, they don’t sound like they did on the records, which is to be expected, but there’s still so much beauty, melody and character in those voices.

Ms. Nicks’ “Rhiannon,” for instance, is rough around the edges, but more haunting than ever and, clad in black with her flowing shawl, she remains just as bewitching. “Dreams” was a gem, as was “Seven Wonders,” which she dedicated to a character in “American Horror Story.” She only got better as the show went on, soaring to the rafters on “Landslide,” “Gypsy” and “Gold Dust Woman,” a show-stopper with tortured wails and a witchy dance in sparkly golden shawl.

(Photo: John Heller / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
(Photo: John Heller / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Ms. McVie hasn’t worked that vocal muscle as much over the years, and it showed, but her songs do call more for a simple purity of tone that she was able to muster. Three backup singers in the shadows added some extra heft to the harmonies. (There were also two backing musicians, and a percussionist hidden behind Mr. Fleetwood.)

Lindsey? My goodness. At 65, he’s still a kid, still the energy force in the band, with blazing chops and a voice that can cut through a fog. He ran wild on the percussive romp of “Tusk” (with the USC Marching Band on the screen) and was practically pogoing as he blew through “Second Hand News.” Once again, he sent them all off for “Big Love,” his passionate exercise in acoustic speed metal, did magical finger-picking on “Never Going Back Again” and all but ripped off the strings on the maniacal “I’m So Afraid” solo.

He introduced “I Know I’m Not Wrong” saying, “Fleetwood Mac is a group that continues to evolve, continues to prevail, through the adversity and the good times, especially now with the return of beautiful Christine. We have begun a beautiful new chapter in the history of Fleetwood Mac.”

For now, this chapter is infusing new energy into a bottomless catalog of classic songs, romantically entangled hits that truly hit home with adoring fans raised on ’70s radio.

As usual, they were generous with them, going well beyond the two-hour mark and powering the climax with the likes of a knock-out “Go Your Own Way,” a percussive “World Turning” with Mr. Fleetwood’s drum insanity and celebratory “Don’t Stop.”

And let’s hope they don’t, because these five amazing musicians, who somehow found each other across an ocean and a continent, still have the ability to take us to paradise.

Set List

  1. The Chain
  2. You Make Loving Fun
  3. Dreams
  4. Second Hand News
  5. Rhiannon
  6. Everywhere
  7. I Know I’m Not Wrong
  8. Tusk
  9. Sisters of the Moon
  10. Say You Love Me
  11. Seven Wonders
  12. Big Love (Lindsey solo, acoustic)
  13. Landslide
  14. Never Going Back Again (Lindsey solo, acoustic)
  15. Over My Head
  16. Gypsy
  17. Little Lies
  18. Gold Dust Woman
  19. I’m So Afraid
  20. Go Your Own Way
  21. World Turning (Mick drum solo)
  22. Don’t Stop
  23. Silver Springs
  24. Songbird

Scott Mervis: smervis@post-gazette.com; 412-263-2576.

Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / Tuesday, October 15, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Return of McVie gives Fleetwood Mac show a nostalgic boost

A reunited Fleetwood Mac performed at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night

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Watching Fleetwood Mac on Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center felt like a high school reunion. Christine McVie — after a 16-year absence — rejoined her former bandmates, providing her unique voice to songs from the 1970s and ‘80s that she helped to define.

McVie joined Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and other band members for a 2 1⁄2-hour “One With the Show” tour stop. McVie, a British singer and songwriter, filled the void that had been left in Fleetwood Mac for the past decade and a half.

The audience gave McVie a warm ovation, and it got to hear some Fleetwood Mac hits the band just couldn’t do without her, like “Everywhere,” “Say You Love Me” and “You Make Loving Fun.” The added songs eliminated some of those Nicks’ solos that had filled much of the setlist on recent tours.

Both McVie and Nicks, 60-something blonde beauties, still look glamorous and sound great, and their voices have not changed much. Both still have that highly distinctive and opposing sound.

Nicks still does her trademark shtick, as she stretches out her arms and twirls during “Gypsy.” At other points in the show, she wore a black magic hat and a glittery gold shawl. Nicks thumped her tambourine, with streaming pieces of decorative fabric, as McVie shook her maracas and played the piano.

Nicks also let the crowd in on some background stories about the origins of the songs and Fleetwood Mac’s history.

With his guitar, Buckingham tore through songs like “Big Love” and “I’m So Afraid” with an in-your-face intensity that left him breathless, but energized the audience.

Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.

Kellie B. Gormly / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review / Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac revives trademark harmonies with Christine McVie’s return

Prodigal band member Christine McVie returned to the fold after 16 years — but it seemed more like seconds once she joined her voice to those of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on Monday on the aptly named tour, ‘On With the Show.’

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The members of Fleetwood Mac weren’t kidding when, more than 40 years ago, they wrote the line, “You can never break the chain.”

As with the mafia or prison gangs, allegiance to almighty Mac cannot end by anything as flimsy as choice – even if significant portions of time suggest it can.

Proof arrived Monday at The Garden when prodigal member Christine McVie returned to the fold after a long stab at retirement. Sixteen years have elapsed since the group’s declared songbird departed their ranks. But it seemed more like seconds once McVie joined her voice to those of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on the aptly named tour, “On With the Show.”

Fittingly, the reconstituted Mac opened with “The Chain,” their 1977 ode to the promise and threat of eternal connection.

From there, the set worked in seven classic McVie songs, touchstones like “Say You Love Me” and “Over My Head” that had been banished from the band’s shows for far too long.

“We have our dream girl back,” Nicks said at one point.

Lindsey Buckingham flexed his guitar god muscles in ‘I’m So Afraid,’ and his quicksilver Spanish guitar fingerings in ‘Big Love.’
McVie’s presence restored more than just repertoire and sentimentality. Her nurturing alto added a third strand to the band’s trademark harmonic weave. Together, those voices form a signature as certain as the band’s soap opera dramas and unfailing tunemanship.

At 71, McVie’s vocals exuded the same warmth she first brought to the band 44 years ago, well before Nicks and Buckingham’s presence soared them to their commercial peak. McVie’s particular sense of melody, evident in songs from under-appreciated Mac albums like 1972’s “Bare Trees,” wound up presaging the pop formalism the band would idealize on 1977’s “Rumors.”

At The Garden, McVie lent the live band a more varied dynamic, in both sound and character. In the years of her absence, the live focus fell hard on the frisson between Nicks and Buckingham. Their complex relationship — culled from a vexing mix of their personal and professional lives — became the subtext, and sometimes the text, of the shows.

The addition of McVie’s songs gave the show a lighter layer, a sweet contrast to the darker warnings housed in the Nicks/Buckingham catalogue. That became evident with the set’s second song, “You Make Loving Fun.” It offered a creamy reprieve from the pieces surrounding it — the band’s declarative “The Chain” and Nicks’ wan “Dreams.”

Much of the subsequent selection repeated Mac standards — from “Rhiannon” and “Gypsy,” for Nicks, to “Second Hand News” and “Never Going Back Again,” for Buckingham.

‘We have our dream girl back,’ Stevie Nicks (pictured) said at one point of McVie’s return.
The show also featured reliable showcases, like Nicks’ masterpiece about aging, “Landslide,” and Buckingham’s flexing of his guitar god muscles in “I’m So Afraid,” or his quicksilver Spanish guitar fingerings in “Big Love.” But the night also featured rarities, like Nicks’ “Seven Wonders.”

It would have been nice if they had sifted back into their set “Oh Well,” a piece by former member Peter Green from 1969 that they only retired in the last decade. The gesture would have gone the extra mile in making their essential point about continuity and commitment. They came close, however, by giving McVie the last word.

Her signature piece from 1977, “Songbird,” closed the night with a wholly idealized view of love. Given the nuance and complexity of the music and backstory that preceded it, the band more than deserved a final moment of unguarded love.

email:jfarber@nydailynews.com

Fleetwood Mac plays the Garden Tuesday.

SET LIST

1. The Chain
2. You Make Loving Fun
3. Dreams
4. Second Hand News
5. Rhiannon
6. Everywhere
7. I Know I’m Not Wrong
8. Tusk
9. Sisters of the Moon
10. Say You Love Me
11. Seven Wonders
12. Big Love
13. Landslide
14. Never Going Back Again
15. Over My Head
16. Gypsy
17. Little Lies
18. Gold Dust Woman
19. I’m So Afraid
20. Go Your Own Way
Encore 1:
1. World Turning
2. Don’t Stop
3. Silver Springs
Encore 2:
1. Songbird

New York Daily News / Tuesday, October 7, 2014

 

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Christine McVie rejoins Fleetwood Mac at the Garden

A band member returns to the fold, and camaraderie and nostalgia ensue

From left, Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham perform at Madison Square Garden. (Photo: Chad Batka)
From left, Christine McVie, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham perform at Madison Square Garden. (Photo: Chad Batka)

“Welcome back, Chris!” Stevie Nicks proclaimed soon after Fleetwood Mac started its set on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. “Where have you been?”

“Long story, Stevie,” said the laconic Christine McVie from behind her keyboards. In 1998, after 28 years with Fleetwood Mac, Ms. McVie retired from touring with the band.

But in January, as Ms. Nicks told it in a post-encore monologue, Ms. McVie phoned to ask, “How would you feel if I decided to come back to the band?” (She had already made a guest appearance in September 2013 at a Fleetwood Mac concert in London.) Ms. Nicks added that she advised Ms. McVie to get a trainer because Fleetwood Mac’s shows are so “physical”; its concert set runs 2 ½ hours. And while Ms. McVie’s voice, like the others in the band, has roughened over the decades, it’s still hearty.

With Ms. McVie, Fleetwood Mac has returned to the lineup that made it the world’s best-selling band 37 years ago when it released Rumours, an album of sparkling pop-rock songs about, mostly, crumbling relationships. Ms. McVie was the more levelheaded, kindly voice alongside the band’s other two songwriters: Ms. Nicks — sometimes dreamy, sometimes vindictive — and the guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who tucked angry, wounded lyrics into virtuosic guitar parts.

Ms. McVie’s demure alto bound together the group’s vocal harmonies; her songs promised that loyal affection was still possible. The three singers and songwriters were backed by the band’s namesakes and tireless rhythm section, the drummer Mick Fleetwood and the bassist John McVie, Christine’s ex-husband since 1977.

Ms. McVie wrote the determinedly optimistic, forward-looking “Don’t Stop,” which insists “yesterday’s gone.” But to the delight of a nostalgic audience on Monday, the band drew its entire set from the five albums this lineup made together: Fleetwood Mac (1975), Rumours (1977), Tusk (1979), Mirage (1982) and Tango in the Night (1987). There was camaraderie onstage; when Ms. McVie sang “Say You Love Me,” Ms. Nicks was singing along without a microphone, like a fan who knew all the words.

Fleetwood Mac can’t duplicate its youthful sweetness. Ms. McVie’s voice has held its richness, but sometimes falters at high notes. Ms. Nicks’s huskiness has grown harsher, and in her glittery shawls she turns slowly now instead of twirling across the stage. But Fleetwood Mac still has the intricacy, elegance and underlying punch of its songs.

Mr. Buckingham is clearly the band’s leader now. The guitar parts that twinkle through Fleetwood Mac’s albums — patterns of picking and strumming that meld folk styles with classical guitar detail — come into the foreground onstage. He turned Ms. Nicks’s “Gold Dust Woman” into a darker incantation before taking a long, skirling, keening solo in his own “I’m So Afraid”; “Tusk” was a cry of despair, not a novelty.

But Ms. McVie was the band’s quieter center of attention, and she had the last word with her “Songbird.” Even though she played it largely alone on piano, with a modest guitar solo from Mr. Buckingham, it meant that Fleetwood Mac was complete again.

Fleetwood Mac performs at the Prudential Center on Saturday, 165 Mulberry Street, Newark; 800-745-3000, prucenter.com.

Jon Pareles / New York Times / Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac all together now, Madison Square Garden 10/6

NEW YORK (AP) – Their “dream girl” is back.

The members of Fleetwood Mac each took a moment Monday night at New York City’s Madison Square Garden to welcome longtime bandmate Christine McVie back to the stage after a 16-year hiatus, thus restoring the band to its mid-1970s and most successful configuration.

In her trademark gypsy shawl, Stevie Nicks said the dream catchers she casts to the crowd each night finally netted her old friend. Lindsey Buckingham said her return marked “a beautiful, profound and poetic new chapter.” Mick Fleetwood simply looked to the ceiling and shouted “Amen.”

In between, they ripped through all their old hits with a fervor that belied their age.

The band opened with “The Chain,” a song emblematic of Fleetwood Mac’s lasting legacy, despite its many breakups and personal upheavals. The collective power of the three singers’ voices belting out the song’s refrain, “You would never break the chain,” seemed to drown out the quarrels and drug-fueled rancor that tore them apart over the years.

The McVie-penned and long-dormant “You Make Loving Fun” was back on the set list, and upon hearing her sing the opening line, “Sweet, wonderful you,” the crowd erupted in an approving roar. McVie, 71, looked comfortable and happy to be back. Her voice was strong and a welcome presence.

During the band’s concert in New York City last year, guitarist, singer and songwriter Buckingham, singer and songwriter Nicks, drummer Fleetwood, and Christine’s ex-husband and bassist John McVie powered through their catalog of classics. But despite a purposeful performance, it was hard to not feel shortchanged by the exclusion of Christine McVie’s songs.

With her return to the fold this time around, however, the band was free to explore its entire repertoire, including McVie’s songs “Over My Head,” ”Little Lies” and “Everywhere.”

One of the highlights of the night was “Second Hand News,” which the band played with the energy of young musicians playing for their first big break. The 65-year-old Buckingham, especially, attacked the guitar with such intensity and enthusiasm, you’d think it was his first time playing in front of a large audience.

Dressed in skin-tight jeans, he stomped in slow-motion across the stage during a hair-raising guitar solo for “I’m So Afraid,” as the large screen behind the performers zoomed in on his dexterous fingers plucking away at the guitar strings.

While age has not diminished his agility, it has taken a slight toll on Nicks’ voice. “Dreams,” took on a different feel to accommodate her on some of the song’s higher notes. A couple of backup singers helped out with the harder to reach registers and harmonies. But on her other signature songs, like “Silver Springs” and “Landslide,” Nicks’ voice was intact and cut through like a sharpened knife.

The New York show, the first of a two-night stint, is part of a 33-city “On With the Show” tour that started Sept. 30 in Minneapolis and is scheduled to wrap up Dec. 20 in Tampa, Florida.

Buckingham recently told The Associated Press that he, Christine McVie and Fleetwood have tracked some songs for a new album, but their concerted effort to finish it won’t begin until after the tour. For now, the band is content focusing on being back on the road, playing their classic hits with their long lost friend.

“You have to look at the five (of us) as a study in chemistry,” Buckingham told the AP. “What a lot of the fans really bought into was beyond music … it was this beautiful chemistry that they saw between the five of us.”

But the final encore Monday night belonged to only one: McVie. She performed her signature song, “Songbird,” solo on a baby grand piano, with a bit of help from Buckingham on the guitar solo. Her rendition brought the sold-out audience to a hush.

The significance of her return was not lost on her.

“I’ve been away quite a long time and you don’t often get a chance to do something you love so much twice in your life.”

Jaime Holguin / Associated Press / Washington Times / Tuesday, October 7, 2014

___

Entertainment Writer Mike Cidoni Lennox contributed to this story.

Follow Jaime Holguin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/enstereo

Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac rocks Madison Square Garden with Christine McVie’s return

Fleetwood Mac’s flexibility has always been its secret weapon, its three distinctive singers giving it a wide variety of sounds that few bands can match.

That becomes even clearer with the focus on singer/keyboardist Christine McVie at Madison Square Garden Monday night, marking her return to Fleetwood Mac after 17 years of retirement from the road.

With McVie back in the Mac, there…

Fleetwood Mac’s flexibility has always been its secret weapon, its three distinctive singers giving it a wide variety of sounds that few bands can match.

That becomes even clearer with the focus on singer/keyboardist Christine McVie at Madison Square Garden Monday night, marking her return to Fleetwood Mac after 17 years of retirement from the road.

With McVie back in the Mac, there is more of a balance of blues and rock. Her rich voice on “You Make Loving Fun” and “Everywhere” is a nice counterpoint to the more aggressive, rocking vocals of Lindsey Buckingham and the more ethereal singing of Stevie Nicks.

And when they all sing together, in the gorgeous “Rhiannon” or “Say That You Love Me,” it’s still magical.

“I’ve been away for a long time,” McVie told the cheering crowd. “You don’t often get a chance to do what you love twice in your life.”

It’s still early in the tour, which launched last week, and they are still working out some pieces. (Fleetwood Mac returns to The Garden Tuesday night and plays Prudential Center on Saturday.) Nicks mistakenly tried to introduce “Over My Head,” which was written by McVie, before laughing and yielding the stage, saying, “I don’t know the story of this song.”

However, the nervousness of such veteran performers just added to the charm of the night, which got stronger the deeper they got into the 2 1/2-hour set. Between Buckingham’s epic guitar solos, Mick Fleetwood’s massive drumming, John McVie’s strong bass work, Nicks’ patented spins to punctuate the lovely “Gypsy” and Christine McVie’s lush vocals, Fleetwood Mac looked ready to take on what Buckingham has called “their next chapter.”

Glenn Gamboa / New York News / Monday, October 6, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at the United Center — a concert for the (middle) ages

Rocktober Day 3: Fleetwood Mac at the United Center – a concert for the (middle) ages

I can’t hold the the rope much longer in my epic tug-of-war with Denial, and the concerts I’ve attended recently are doing nothing to firm up my grip: Alanis Morissette at Caesar’s. A Go-Go’s romp at Ravinia. And last night: Fleetwood Mac. One look at my fellow concert-goers, and it is clear that it won’t be long, now, before I am pulled over the line, and must finally surrender to the truth: I am a middle-aged adult.

With tickets for last night’s show starting at over $100 for seats BEHIND THE STAGE, the crowd was certainly more yoga’d and designer eyeglasses’d than the plastic beer cup crowd at Alanis’ show at Caesar’s, last weekend. (You Live, You Learn, I guess) This was no low-dough show.

And nor should it be. Fleetwood Mac is a legendary rock band. This is their 35th year as a band, and they sold out the United Center. Twice. As a person whose last piece of writing was seen by 67 people, I have only mad respect for what this band has accomplished. (Stevie Nicks told a story about how, in 1969, she and Lindsay were in a band that opened for Janis….. Jimi…. So, yeah.)

For most concert-goers, the evening fell into one of two categories: either a fancy date night, or “GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT! WOOOOO!” The combined 401K wealth in the arena had to have been in the low billions. I would be willing to bet that Weight Watchers had made money off of at least 85% of the women in the room at some point in their lives: a meeting, or at the very, very least, a one month on-line susbscription. This was a crowd of women who knew their way around a point slide, myself included. That’s not a judgement call. It’s just a rite of passage.

For Fleetwood Mac, the night was about Christine McVie’s return after a sixteen year absence. It was something the band had long ago written off as a possibility. Stevie Nicks once said about Christine’s departure: She went to England and she has never been back since 1998, so it’s not really feasible, as much as we would all like to think that she’ll just change her mind one day. I don’t think it’ll happen. We love her, so we had to let her go. (Digital Spy, 12/6/12) And last night, she was back.

I noticed that in both the flashing LED band photo that covered the entire side of the United Center, then again on the stage, Christine McVie looked less like a rock star, and more like a nice breakfast waitress from Denny’s. She moved to the beat like a wallflower aunt at a wedding: step left, feet together. Step right, feet together. She delivered the best one-liner of the night. When introduced at the beginning of the night to a thunderous ovation, Stevie Nicks jokingly asked her, “So where’ve ya been?” And Christine said: “Long story.” She thanked the crowd and the band for having her back with a sincerity that filled the arena.

So what really happened last night? What did I see? Because I don’t believe that what happened up there was really, well, rock and roll. There was fine musicianship, sure. A string of hits that will forever be in rotation on Classic Rock stations, absolutely. But rock and roll? Mick Fleetwood’s drum set sounded like it was run through a Garage Band “arena drum kit” filter on an iMac. Lindsay Buckinham still wears skinny jeans like a rock star boss, I’ll give him that. But where once Stevie Nicks was a mad whirling dervish on stage, we now atta-girl clapped when she did four slowwww motion turns without falling. Watching a rock show in a venue as monstrous as the United Center is akin to watching, say, a foosball match in an operating room theater. If your car stereo sounded like what was coming out of the speakers, you would turn your radio off, take it to the shop, and ask them to fix your crappy speakers.

Nope. No new stories were built atop Fleetwood Mac’s legendary structure, Thursday night. That concert was about looking at the band, and at each other, and saying,

“We are all still here. And that’s awesome.”

The oeuvre of Fleetwood Mac emerged during our formative milestones: our first slow dances. The great heartbreak. Our first weddings. Some first divorces. Some second weddings. Many funerals.

But we are all still here, and that’s awesome. This idea seems especially poignant in the wake of the iconic losses of recents months. It’s getting serious, guys. We have reached the age when, frankly, life is no longer to be taken for granted. These are the days of second winds and now-or-nevers. Because we are still here. And that’s awesome.

Rock stars are the royal family of fantasy: what is more mystical, more mythical than a rock star? They are our collective projections of our greatest desires, set to music. So who better than the bonafide rock legends of Fleetwood Mac to play out one of the greatest fantasies of all time: that someone we love will someday come back to us.

(Now if I was a craptastic writer, then here at the bottom, I would write, “So Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow!” But I won’t. You’re welcome.)

***

That’s my piece and that’s my peace. Thank you for taking the time to read my silly words. It means the world. Carry on…

JA / Chicago Now / Friday, October 3, 2014

JA
JA
Meet the Blogger

JA has called Chicago "home" since June 1, 1995. She relocated from Orlando after receiving a "message" to do so during the Winona Ryder/Susan Sarandon version of the film "Little Women." (She is fully aware it could have been the booze fumes talking, but those fumes were on to something if that's the case...) She sometimes works on her novel tentatively titled "The Branson Novel," but so what, right? Everyone is working on something. She wants you to know that she digs you. Like, kinda hard. if you have something to say, let it be heard at oldsinglemom@gmail.com She Twitts, sometimes, too: @oldsinglemom

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at the United Center

Suddenly, Fleetwood Mac seems like it might be thinking about tomorrow again.

After touring since 1998 in various incomplete incarnations and with varying levels of comfort with each other, the onetime supergroup is now back to the full lineup of its late 1970s heyday, minus the bad habits and the romantic entanglements of that era.

And don’t think the crowd at United Center Thursday didn’t know and appreciate it. When prodigal keyboardist Christine McVie sang “sweet, wonderful you,” her first solo notes of the night, on “You Make Loving Fun,” exultant cheers came from the crowd.

“Our dream girl is back,” Stevie Nicks would say later, just after McVie had sat at a grand piano and delivered her simple, soulful “Songbird” to end the almost 2-1/2-hour show.

McVie, with the help of a therapist, has conquered a fear of flying and given up a life in the English countryside to rejoin the band, making the second stop on its reunion tour in Chicago (where it plays again Friday).

Except for a quick reference to her long-ago marriage to bassist John McVie — part of this band’s charm is its complicated past, often mythologized in song — she mostly left the talking to her bandmates. But with her songs back in the set and her calm, angular presence back on the stage, there was an undeniable feeling of rejuvenation.

“Making all of us complete,” drummer Mick Fleetwood said of McVie, “our songbird has returned.”

We’ve heard, in the tour buildup, that Fleetwood Mac is even writing and recording new material, news that holds no small promise considering how many enduring songs they’ve already made.

And now we’ve seen, in Chicago, that they’re playing like a group with an eye on the horizon, one that’s sharing the spotlight and taking every occasion to say kind things about one another. The show ended, not with a song, but with curious little speeches about unity and togetherness from Nicks and Fleetwood. (This is not recommended for groups with a lesser track record.)

So a tour showcasing new material may not be that far off. But what Mac delivered Thursday was 24 tunes from the heart of its catalog, classic rock live.

Christine McVie’s presence took some of the focus off of the Californians, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, whose 1974 addition to an existing British blues outfit kicked the band into the album-sales stratosphere, particularly with 1977’s “Rumours.”

Fleetwood and John McVie, on bass, reminded concert goers why the band is named for them. They still put a layer of muscle behind everything the band did, even the unapologetic soft rock of Christine’s “Little Lies.” Fleetwood pounded and then barked his way through a four-minute drum solo in “World Turning.”

But this band is about its songwriters. Christine McVie was almost regal, taking in more than she gave out, letting her silky love songs speak for her.

Buckingham, though, snarled his lyrics, jumped with the high notes on his guitar solos and generally belied what people might think they know about him from “Saturday Night Live’s” running parody. He may look like Art Garfunkel’s younger brother stuffed into skinny jeans, but this man is a vital musical presence, the soul of the band.

Ditto for the vitality of Nicks, its cauldron-stirring spirit. She didn’t twirl as fast or as often as she used to; a few spins, executed gingerly, were enough to draw fervent applause. The tempo on “Rhiannon,” one of her signature tunes, doesn’t blister as it once did.

But her voice quickly warmed up to put power and depth, if not range, behind her trademark rasp. Her showcase songs, “Landslide,” “Gold Dust Woman” and, especially, “Silver Springs,” were the night’s highlights.

As for stagecraft, give credit to Fleetwood Mac for keeping the microphones pointed in the right direction. The crowd was happily singing along most of the night, but never — never! — as lead vocalists. That is a rare thing in 2014, especially from a band who wouldn’t need to show any of the words on screen.

Less praiseworthy was the video screen behind the stage. It started promisingly, with just color, light, some nature scenes. But the video got more and more aggressive until on one tune it showed us footage of eyes, noses and facial pores. Somebody must have dragged that director away from the controls, because the final bits backed off, simply showing the band.

A couple of musicians backed the core group on guitar and keyboards, but Buckingham was ferocious and tireless as lead guitarist. (His “Big Love” beatdown of an acoustic guitar recalled Richard Thompson.) There were two backup singers, too, also in shadow, ready to fill in on the high notes, but, really, the trio of Buckingham-Nicks-C. McVie had nothing to apologize for as lead vocalists.

That trio is now hovering around 70 years of age. But even as young pups they were writing songs that contemplated the march of time. Now, with McVie’s unexpected return and the potential for new material, those lyrics about yesterday being gone and time making you bolder seemed to hold a special resonance.

United Center, Chicago, 10/2/14 set list

  1. The Chain
  2. You Make Loving Fun
  3. Dreams
  4. Second Hand News
  5. Rhiannon
  6. Everywhere
  7. I Know I’m Not Wrong
  8. Tusk
  9. Sisters of the Moon
  10. Say You Love Me
  11. Seven Wonders
  12. Big Love
  13. Landslide
  14. Never Going Back Again
  15. Over My Head
  16. Gypsy
  17. Little Lies
  18. Gold Dust Woman
  19. I’m So Afraid
  20. Go Your Own Way
  21. World Turning (First encore)
  22. Don’t Stop
  23. Silver Springs
  24. Songbird (Second Encore)

Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune

Steve Johnson / Chicago Tribune / Friday, October 3, 2014

2014-1002-chicago-tribune-steve-johnson-mediumSteve Johnson 
COLUMNIST | TRIBUNE REPORTER 
Steve Johnson covers arts and entertainment for the Chicago Tribune. In more than 25 years at the paper, he has written columns, reviews, news stories and features on topics from politics to television. He lives in Oak Park with his wife and two teenage sons. 
sajohnson​@tribune.com
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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Christine McVie rejoins, re-energizes Fleetwood Mac at emotional Minneapolis show

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Every night is a little emotional when you’re the mystical gods and goddesses of pop rock, but Tuesday evening at Target Center in Minneapolis, the members of Fleetwood Mac were feeling particularly soft and fuzzy—towards their fans, and especially towards Christine McVie, the songwriter/vocalist/keyboardist who rejoined the band for the first time on stage since 1998.

It was the first show of what feels like a reunion tour. Though the other four core band members—Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, and Stevie Nicks—have toured together and even released an album since McVie’s departure, on Tuesday night they clearly felt whole again. The night was peppered with references to McVie’s return, from Buckingham’s awkward reference to the return of a “presence”; to Fleetwood’s happy declaration that “we have our songbird back”; to Nicks’s cheer of “Welcome back, Chris!” Only McVie—Christine’s ex-husband—kept stolidly silent, as is generally his wont.

The set list strongly spotlighted Christine McVie’s songs: after an opening rendition of “The Chain,” the house roared for McVie’s “You Make Loving Fun.” 1975′s “Say You Love Me” also found its way into the setlist, as well as the Christine-McVie-led 80s hits “Everywhere” and “Little Lies.” McVie was even given the honor of closing the night, taking a grand piano to sing her signature “Songbird.”

Though Buckingham seemed as glad as anyone to have Christine McVie back, there was no danger that his ego wouldn’t be given room to roam. A solo acoustic “Big Love” was a shout-y showpiece for the man Fleetwood referred to as having “the mentorship of the musical side of this band well in hand,” and an extended solo on “I’m So Afraid” demonstrated why Buckingham is a revered axeman. “Never Going Back,” unfortunately, expanded from its concise original version to a bloated extended take that had Nicks repeatedly leaving her mike and probably going to play Skyrim, or take a shot, or anything else many of the rest of us wished we could be doing too.

Buckingham and Nicks—who joined Fleetwood Mac together in 1974, as musical and romantic partners—seemed downright cozy, once strolling on stage arm in arm as Buckingham planted a kiss on his former lover’s forehead. Nicks brought plenty of her trademark gold-dust-woman touches (yes, of course the band played that song), including scarves, a top hat, a tambourine with streamers, and some twirling dance moves. Her songs, including “Landslide” and “Silver Springs,” were among the most straightforward of the evening, but she seemed comfortable and confident throughout. After the fact, she dedicated “Gypsy” to “my one and only husband” (Kim Anderson, to whom she was married for eight months in the early 80s), who she said was at the show.

Fleetwood, per usual, just looked ecstatic. Why wouldn’t he be? The band bearing his name—the “Mac” comes from John McVie, another early member—has lived at least nine lives since its advent in the late British Invasion, and it’s still going strong. Fleetwood Mac still play with unimpeachable musicality and the galloping force that’s always distinguished them from the bands played alongside them on soft-rock radio. Their instrumental chops are fully intact, and their voices—which were always more about expression than explosion—have weathered well.

Accompanied by two backup vocalists and two supporting multi-instrumentalists, the quintet stood on a large stage (none of the fancy lifts and second stages you find in younger acts’ arena shows, I guess because this show is “about the music” or something) with new-agey visuals projected on a screen behind them. Some of the visuals—notably an animation of Buckingham’s head that resembled both the Wizard of Oz and Max Headroom—were wincingly bad, but for the crowd featuring at least one man wearing a Canadian tuxedo embroidered with an Eagles logo, visual aesthetics clearly weren’t a priority.

There was much talk of the band’s future, which was nice to hear, whatever it means. Fortunately for fans of the band’s seminal discography, neither future hopes nor past regrets are keeping Fleetwood Mac from celebrating their long-awaited reunion right here in the present, embracing that musical chain that’s brought them together again.

Set List

“The Chain” (Rumours, 1977)
“You Make Loving Fun” (Rumours)
“Dreams” (Rumours)
“Second Hand News” (Rumours)
“Rhiannon” (Fleetwood Mac, 1975)
“Everywhere” (Tango in the Night, 1987)
“I Know I’m Not Wrong” (Tusk, 1979)
“Tusk” (Tusk)
“Sisters of the Moon” (Tusk)
“Say You Love Me” (Fleetwood Mac)
“Seven Wonders” (Tango in the Night)
“Big Love” (Tango in the Night)
“Landslide” (Fleetwood Mac)
“Never Going Back Again” (Rumours)
“Over My Head” (Fleetwood Mac)
“Gypsy” (Mirage, 1982)
“Little Lies” (Tango in the Night)
“Gold Dust Woman” (Rumours)
“I’m So Afraid” (Fleetwood Mac)
“Go Your Own Way” (Rumours)

Encore

“World Turning” (Fleetwood Mac)
“Don’t Stop” (Rumours)
“Silver Springs” (“Go Your Own Way” b-side, 1977)
“Songbird” (Rumours)

Jay Gabler / The Current / Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac is back, Christine McVie sings again as the tour starts anew

Though Stevie Nicks and the band are older, they opened their first reunited show in 16 years with the hallmark brilliance for playing off each others’ strengths

* * * * (4 out of 5 stars)

The key selling point for Fleetwood Mac’s On With The Show tour, which opened on Tuesday at Minneapolis’s Target Center, is that it’s the first in 16 years to include keyboardist and singer-songwriter Christine McVie, lately relieved of her fear of flying and sprung from her doggy English countryside redoubt.

All of the band’s members except taciturn bassist John McVie, Christine’s ex-husband, paid vocal tribute to her over the course of a spirited two-and-half-hour set. “Our songbird has returned,” said drummer Mick Fleetwood during an extended encore.

McVie’s comeback restores the enduring and protean group’s flagship configuration, whose mid- to late-70s albums entered roughly as many homes as the products of, let’s say, General Electric. The band is currently at work on its first studio album since the 80s, and, you know, it might be pretty good.

They opened with The Chain, a collaboratively composed document of the group’s internecine romantic alliances and disunions that doubles as a unity anthem.

Lindsey Buckingham, wearing heroically tight Levi’s, led the song and established early on that he’d be the evening’s dynamo. As on Side Two of Rumours, “You Make Loving Fun” followed, with McVie drawing loud applause when she purred the opening lines, “Sweeeet wonderful you.”

Sixteen mostly retired years is a long time to get rusty, but the 71-year-old McVie was in excellent form, her keyboard playing gently rumbling or subtly expressive, her singing graceful. Unlike her two front-of-stage colleagues, McVie isn’t an apparent eccentric or egoist, but rather an understated craftsperson of plaintive easy listening and English soul. The group worked in many of her signature songs, including “Over My Head,” “Little Lies,” “Say You Love Me” and a moving closing number, on which more later.

With McVie’s keyboard resettled next to Stevie Nicks’s scarf-draped mic stand, Fleetwood Mac can once more pass the Bechdel test. The group’s gender parity wasn’t unprecedented, but their music was and is unusually dialogic – women and men trading perspectives on lust and longing, volleying tributes to old Welsh witches and beleaguered Beach Boys. It was great, and crucial, to have her back.

Nicks, the group’s most distinctive vocalist and most famous personality, took a while to reach maybe 85%. Even children get older, Nicks once reminded us, and her sandpaper contralto isn’t as reliable as it once was.

Owing either to first-night caution or diminished range, Nicks – on “Gypsy,” “Dreams,” and her traditional showstopper, “Rhiannon” – backed away from vocal climaxes and generally refashioned her melodies toward compression. Sometimes this led to some interesting jazzy or Dylanesque variations; other times the songs sounded bleary and depleted. She did find her feet, though, giving a sensitive reading of the invincible “Landslide,” and offering a cool vocal improv and a mystical interpretive dance for “Gold Dust Woman.”

There’s no reason to doubt that Fleetwood Mac’s sobriety is secure across the board, but Buckingham was certainly hopped up, stomping and whopping and prowling the stage, letting front-row disciples touch the neck of his guitar, breaking into a maniacal laugh to jump-start “Tusk,” the titular hit from the double album on which his genius act was at its most fastidious and convincing. “Tusk” was menacing and spot-on, notwithstanding piped-in horns from the USC Trojans (as if the University of Minnesota’s perfectly capable marching band had another commitment!).

Like Nicks, Buckingham’s a pro at shading the lines between idiosyncratic brilliance and loopy kitsch, and certain passages of intensely breathy emoting or orgasmic lead guitar moved definitively into the latter territory. Mostly, though, he was seriously impressive: his dexterous finger-picking, his fine-toned leads, his impassioned singing, his cool Garfunkel hair. And though he never soft-sold his own songs, he was smartly supportive when McVie or Nicks were in charge.

The group was augmented by a shadow quintet composed of a percussionist, two utility player-harmonists, and two 20-feet-from-stardom singers. High harmonies were in place, then, even if the principals couldn’t access them, and the sound was lush throughout. As usual with the band, there were also stripped-down sections with Buckingham working alone or with one other member, and at one point Fleetwood left his main drum kit (about the size of a Buick LeSabre) for a more modestly scaled kit set up in front.

The finest of these quieter interludes was saved for last, when, following a tender run through Nicks’s “Silver Springs,” the crew wheeled out a baby grand. McVie sat down for an expressive version of “Songbird” with Buckingham providing a spare solo. Those philistines who trotted out during McVie’s pounding “Don’t Stop” solo may have escaped the parking ramps a half hour before the rest of us; but their lives are exponentially poorer for it.

There were two closing speeches in tribute to McVie and the band’s new wholeness: one from Nicks, who said she would have bet every cent that McVie would never come back, and a final one from Fleetwood, who urged kindness in a troubled world, then stepped to the mic for one last, bellowed message: “And remember for sure, the Mac is back!”

Dylan Hicks / The Guardian (UK) / Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

REVIEW: Reunited Fleetwood Mac a whole lot of fun at Target Center

Mick Fleetwood plays the drums and Lindsey Buckingham plays the guitar as Fleetwood Mac performs at Target Center. (Pioneer Press: John Autey) Mick Fleetwood plays the drums and Lindsey Buckingham plays the guitar as Fleetwood Mac performs at Target Center. (Photo: John Autey / Pioneer Press)
Mick Fleetwood plays the drums and Lindsey Buckingham plays the guitar as Fleetwood Mac performs at Target Center. (Photo: John Autey / Pioneer Press)

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.

Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac performs at Target Center. (Pioneer Press: John Autey) Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac performs at Target Center. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)
Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac performs at Target Center. (Photo: John Autey / Pioneer Press)

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

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2014-2015 On With the Show Tour Concert Reviews

VIDEOS 9/30 Minneapolis: Classic Fleetwood Mac reunites, kicks off world tour

The classic 1975 lineup of Fleetwood Mac — consisting of Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks — reunited on Tuesday night at the Target Center in Minneapolis for their first full-length concert in 17 years, kicking off the legendary band’s latest world tour. Fans welcomed the return of keyboardist and singer-songwriter Christine McVie, who left the band in 1998, with roars of approval, as she performed alongside her longtime musical partners. Also returning to the show were many of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular songs, which McVie wrote, such as “Say You Love Me,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Little Lies,” and the piano ballad “Songbird,” which closed the show. See the collection of fan-shot videos of the concert below.

Fleetwood Mac’s North American leg of the tour runs through December 20. After a month break, the band will do a second tour through the U.S., starting in January. Plans to extend the tour to Australia, New Zealand, and Europe are still tentative.

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Set List

1. The Chain 13. Landslide
2. You Make Loving Fun 14. Never Going Back Again
3. Dreams 15. Over My Head
4. Second Hand News 16. Gypsy
5. Rhiannon 17. Little Lies
6. Everywhere 18. Gold Dust Woman
7. I Know I’m Not Wrong 19. I’m So Afraid
8. Tusk 20. Go Your Own Way
9. Sisters of the Moon 21. World Turning (encore 1)
10. Say You Love Me 22. Don’t Stop
11. Seven Wonder 23. Silver Springs
12. Big Love 24. Songbird (encore 2)

DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE SHOW NOW! (Via MediaFire | MP4 | 2GB)

Videos

The Chain / You Make Loving Fun (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

The Chain (partial) (courtesy of N840md)

Dreams (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

“Welcome, Minneapolis! I guess we should say at the same time, welcome back, Chris! Well, as you know, this is our first show of this tour. It’s 40 shows, so far. And then, first shows, even when you don’t have somebody that you love that’s been gone a long time who’s just returned come back, even any first shows are always a little crazy, a little nuts, a little like, you’re like, “Wow, what’s going on?” But at the same time, there’s never another show like tonight. This will never happen again. So hold onto your horses, and let’s get this party started!”

Second Hand News (courtesy of eotday)

Rhiannon (courtesy of Brandon O)

Rhiannon / Everywhere courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

Everywhere (courtesy of Ragweed2007)

“I’d just like to say a couple of words. First of all, thanks everybody, for being here tonight. Also, I’d like to thank John, Mick, Stevie, and Lindsey for giving me this chance to be treading on this stage with these guys again after all these years. It’s a dream come true, and it’s a chance you don’t get often in life. So, I think that’s enough. Mick…”

I Know I’m Not Wrong / Tusk (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

“Well, we are indeed, indeed very pleased to be back here with you tonight. 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. It is a chapter that is going to yield much fruit. And we are very, very excited. I know I’m not wrong!”

Tusk (courtesy of Brandon O)

Sisters of the Moon (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

Say You Love Me (courtesy of Brandon O)

Seven Wonders / Big Love (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

Big Love (courtesy of amp111379)

“Well, this next song was the first single from the album Tango in the Night, and that was quite a while ago now. Time kind of flies by. But when I wrote that song, the lyric pretty accurately described the person that I was at that time, which wasn’t so great, really. But with the passage of time, happily, that description really has just become an echo. And I think at this point in time, at this juncture, for all of our lives up here, especially the new element that is now in a very beautiful and circular way rejoined, I think that the lyric of this takes on a completely different meaning for me now, whereas before it was a kind of contemplation on alienation, it is now, especially now, become a meditation on the power and the importance of change.”

Landslide (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

“This is our first show that is where you get to know exactly what you’re getting into for the next three months. It’s a good time for thought, and looking out at all of you and realizing what this really is. It’s big, and it’s a lot. So I’d like to dedicate this next song to you for being here with us tonight. In your own very wise way, teaching us and helping us. So thank you. This is ‘Landslide.'”

Landslide (courtesy of Chris Cavanagh)

Landslide (courtesy of Kathy Williams)

Over My Head / Gypsy (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79

Stevie dedicated “Gypsy” to her “first and only husband” Kim Anderson, who was in the Minneapolis audience.

Over My Head (courtesy of amp111379)

“This song, I wrote back in the day when John and I were sharing a funky little flat in Malibu. Remember that, John?”

Gypsy (courtesy of amp111379)

Little Lies (courtesy of cheappd)

Little Lies / Gold Dust Woman (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79

Gold Dust Woman (courtesy of amp111379)

I’m So Afraid (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79

Go Your Own Way (courtesy of DIMEBAGDARYL79)

World Turning (courtesy of eotday)

Don’t Stop (courtesy of Jeffrey DeMars)

“Our songbird has returned, Christine McVie!”

Silver Springs (courtesy of amp111379)

Songbird (courtesy of Sara Anderson)