June 28, 2003
The following is a review of the Fleetwood Mac show in Chicago on June 27 at the Allstate Arena.
Fleetwood Mac still has what it takes
By Eloise Marie Valadez Staff writer
Fleetwood Mac is a band that can rest rightfully on its laurels. Yet its members refuse to do so, and proved they've still got what it takes to wow audiences during a stellar concert Thursday night at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
The show was the first performance of a two-night Chicago-area stint. A second show was scheduled for Friday evening.
Touring in support of its latest album, "Say You Will," Fleetwood Mac delivered a musically intense show filled with a good collection of new tunes as well as most of the expected hits.
It's been a few years since the band's last "reunion" tour, which was sparked by its album "The Dance." And although it has been off the world's stages since 1997, Fleetwood Mac is in powerhouse form these days.
This year's band redux brings together Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie with an engaging backup band and additional female singers.
Though Christine McVie didn't reunite with her former band members for this tour, the group nonetheless exhibited a cohesiveness and strength in performance.
The nearly 2½-hour show opened with the Mac's signature "The Chain" and was followed by crowd-pleaser "Dreams," from the group's critically acclaimed "Rumours" album.
It would have been easy for Fleetwood Mac to exclusively dip into its extensive catalog of favorites and perform a rote greatest-hits show. The band, however, played a handful of songs from its latest project, proving that this band won't simply rehash successful musical formulas.
The new tunes were strong numbers from an album that already has gotten industry and fan approval.
Despite Fleetwood Mac's problematic 30-year-plus history as a band dealing with internal struggles, drug abuse, relationship entanglements and other lifestyle conflicts, the music always has remained in the spotlight.
This concert demonstrated that musical power; the band has long been known for its heavyweight, revved-up live performances.
It's rare that many bands maintain a pristine sound in the cavernous Allstate Arena, but Fleetwood Mac was able to shine through the usually muddled acoustics.
Songstress Nicks, famous for her trademark vocals that range from sweet and lilting to sultry and almost guttural, hasn't lost her ability with a song. Her vocals and stylings were right on target and particularly strong on "Stand Back," "Landslide" and "Beautiful Child."
While Nicks only did her traditional twirls — the "witch's dance" — once during this show, she did wear her traditional flowing skirts and changed shawls throughout the evening.
Nicks and Buckingham also exhibited a warm camaraderie as they playfully interacted on stage.
On lead guitar, Buckingham performed with fervor. Fleetwood, on drums, is never dull to watch as he madly attacks the skins in animated fashion.
Among standout Mac offerings were the new hit "Peacemaker"; the engaging "Big Love"; "I'm So Afraid," with particularly strong guitar work by Buckingham; the new "Say Goodbye," featuring the nice harmonies between Nicks and Buckingham; and "Go Your Own Way," which turned into a real jam session.
The group's first encore was "World Turning." Before launching into the tune, though, fans were treated to Fleetwood's wild drum solo, during which he pounded out rhythms on a drum pad worn inside his vest.
Fleetwood Mac wrapped up its show with the mellow "Goodbye Baby."
The band appeared to enjoy its jamming party just as much as the crowd did.
Fleetwood's closing words confirmed that.
"From all of us here in Fleetwood Mac, we've had a fantastic evening. ... Take care of each other and remember to smile," he said.