Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fleetwood Mac Goes "On With The Show"

Photo by John V
Earlier this year, when Christine McVie announced she was coming out of retirement to rejoin Fleetwood Mac for a tour, it wasn’t just fans of the group who were ecstatic. Her band mates were thrilled as well. This was fully evident during the group’s concert at Hartford’s XL Center Saturday night. From the moment they hit the stage, the group sounded tight & focused, and their joy at playing together was evident in every song. The evening kicked off with the Rumours track, “The Chain,” and it was followed by a two & a half hour journey through classic hits & fan favorites, along with some comments & stories from the band. Songs like “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” garnered loud & enthusiastic responses from the crowd. The whole band looked energized & seemed to be having a grand time, with their classic 70s lineup back in full swing & fine form.

Fleetwood Mac has an interesting history, and the band’s internal relationships & personal struggles have always bled thru into their music.  Songs like “Dreams” & “Go Your Own Way” weren’t just huge radio hits back in the day, they were messages between the band members, in this case Buckingham & Nicks.  But none of that mattered on Saturday, as the group powered thru amazing versions of classics like “Gypsy” and “Secondhand News.” Having Christine McVie back in the mix allowed the band to expand their set list to include such well-remembered tracks as “You Make Loving Fun” and “Over My Head.” Her voice sounded wonderful, and has lost none of its beautiful lilt & pleasing tones. Stevie Nicks sounded strong as well, and was as ethereal as ever; she did a fantastic version of “Gold Dust Woman.” And there were Nicks-style twirls & spins during the show.

Photo by John V
What you tend to forget about this band, which is known for having so many hits in their repertoire, is that they are excellent musicians. Lindsey Buckingham absolutely blazed on guitar, and was the VIP of the show, in my opinion. He even got to do a brief acoustic set, performing “Big Love” solo, then accompanying Nicks on a beautiful version of “Landslide,” after which she remained on stage and helped him out with “Never Going Back Again.” John McVie’s bass playing was rock solid, and Mick Fleetwood was his typical wild-man self on drums. It was also nice that the band took time to tell a few stories between songs, and to say how thankful they were to have Christine back in the fold.

These songs have the power to bring back memories & put a smile on your face, and even the later hits like “Little Lies” and “Seven Wonders” sounded fantastic. By the time the well-paced evening ended with “Go Your Own Way,” it had already been an outstanding show. Then the band returned for not one, but two encores, the first a three song mini-set that ended with Nick’s emotional version of “Silver Springs.” And the show still wasn’t over. A piano was rolled out, and Christine McVie began a beautiful version of “Songbird” which started out as a solo tune. But as the song went on, the rest of the band joined her onstage to conclude the evening. If you get a chance to see the group, I highly recommended checking them out as the On With The Show Tour continues into 2015. It was a wonderful night, filled with music, memories and the promise that as Mick Fleetwood said, “The Mac is most definitely back!”

Set List:
The Chain
You Make Loving Fun
Secondhand News
I Know I’m Not Wrong
Sisters of the Moon
Say You Love Me
Seven Wonders
Big Love Acoustic: Lindsey
Landslide Acoustic: Stevie & Lindsey
Never Going Back Again: Acoustic: Lindsey & Stevie
Over My Head
Little Lies
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way

Encore 1:
World Turning
Don’t Stop
Silver Springs

Encore 2:

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