Fleetwood Mac played to a nearly full crowd, Saturday, June 15, opening with the chugging riffs of “Second Hand News”. A fantastic album opener, and even better show opener with clicking percussion and clacking vocals reminiscent of an arriving train. The crowd shrieked in excitement, as to who was all aboard.
On the drums, only original member of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Mick Fleetwood, gave way to the next song, with a punching bass drum beat. Guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham laid the ominous guitar riff, with the ethereal Stevie Nicks at vocal and tambourine post, and the stoic, newsboy hat sporting, and bringer of the groove, John McVie on bass.
The audience was left curious, or more blown away, at how Buckingham was able to induce such superior shredding, when it fact, he wasn’t even really shredding, but strumming with his fingers. None the less, his unique style still garnishes him, if not places him in another light among the other guitar gods, especially on, “I’m So Afraid”, with his quick flicks.
McVie was missed, mostly for her blues laden voice in the group vocals and holes in the set from tracks like “Songbird” and “Over My Head”. A longing was evident, as the spotlight shown on a male keyboardist. But like a once shattered lover, Fleetwood Mac rolled right along, and have obviously moved on without her.
Drummer Mick Fleetwood may have lost the color in his hair, but he hasn’t lost the vibe, and he certainly hasn’t lost the crazy in his eyes. His look of frill was magnified on the jumbo screen, with his gray hair flying, shaking his head back and forth, and nailing every drum solo, especially on the marching beat of “Tusk”.
With mainly their hits, Fleetwood Mac penetrated only the surface of their songs. However, they did waver far from the shore of the recorded version tracks, with serendipitous solos and jams until full climax of every song, leaving every track and audience member satisfied.
Nicks may be ’65 now and long past her prime, but she still killed it on songs like “Back Down,”. Time has taken the stretch out of her voice, but in the song “Silver Springs”, she states, Time cast a spell on you/but you won’t forget me, and it certainly rang true that night. Nicks reached to the deepest of painful memories to retrieve the aching and longing in her voice and belt out the tune like her and Buckingham had that night called it an end.
After a soaring set ending with “Go Your Own Way”, the band reappeared on stage. McVie rambled on in a performance induced stupor and Nicks was brought to emote, as she thanked the audience for coming out and for allowing them to still play Rock ‘n’ Roll. It was obvious that the same speech is spoken after every show, but she showed true humility. The audience was reminded of the humanity the band displayed in albums like Rumours, and they were reminded of why they fell in love with the band and their songs to begin with. It was that real emotion, that turmoil, that human condition they recorded in ’77, and shared again that night.
Buckingham joined Nicks one last time for the ballad, “Say Goodbye”. But as they’ve proven, it’s not always say goodbye. And in their trodden years of aging, losing the color in their hair and the range in their voices, they’ve still got it. And if it’s that not enough of a reason to say,”Hello”, then I don’t know what is.
Photo by Matt Becker, [email protected].