Review of the May 9th Fleetwood Mac concert at the MCI Center
From Fleetwood Mac, That '70s Show
By Dave McKenna
From John McVie's bass break opening "The Chain" to Lindsey Buckingham's finger-picked Neil Young-meets-Stevie-Ray-Vaughan guitar solo on "Go Your Own Way" to Stevie Nicks's bewitching delivery of "Rhiannon," it was the old stuff at Fleetwood Mac's Friday show at MCI Center that kept the crowd buzzing throughout the nearly 2 1/2-hour extravaganza.
Not the real old stuff, mind you. Fleetwood Mac's set list didn't include any trace of the British blooze band formed in 1966 by McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. Instead, it was loaded with hits from the post-1975 pop juggernaut, which, after adding Southern Californians and then-paramours Nicks and Buckingham, found gold by bridging the gap between Abba and the Eagles.
The group recently re-formed after a six-year hiatus to release its first studio album since 1987, "Say You Will." And, judging from its fun and mostly vital performance before a near-sellout crowd at MCI Center, the now-four-piece ensemble (keyboardist-singer Christine McVie stayed retired) has been energized by its dive back into the creative process.
Nicks has cooled down her mystical shtick somewhat, but, showing she still takes fashion cues from Lily Munster, came onstage in a black dress and black boots with a dark, gauzy shawl. And she flashed her throaty yet sultry voice in delivering note-perfect renditions of "Gold Dust Woman" and the occultish "Gypsy." For the hard-core fans, she dusted off "Beautiful Child," a ballad from "Tusk," the 1979 double album that was the beginning of the end of the band's dominance of sales charts and FM radio play.
Nicks acknowledged the irony that time has given to some of her vintage lyrics. During the evergreen "Landslide," perhaps the most covered tune in the Fleetwood Mac canon, Nicks nodded her head as the crowd cheered after she sang, "Even children get older / and I'm getting older too." And while she sang with former lover Buckingham on his fabulously bitter capsule of their breakup, "Go Your Own Way," both briefly guffawed while singing the line, "Shacking up is all you wanna do."
The crowd's engagement flagged only during performances of the rather generic new material (including soft rockers "Peacekeeper," "What's the World Coming To" and "Come") and when Fleetwood -- who in his knickers and vest and gray ponytail looked like a character from "A Mighty Wind" -- did an odd percussion solo that had him pounding on electrical triggers placed all over his person, including, most unfortunately, one in his crotch. But everybody in the arena got off their seats when Fleetwood ended his odd self-flagellation and kick-started "Don't Stop," the anthem of the Clinton administration and the song that sparked the long-dysfunctional band's 1997 reunion.
Later, Susan Childs, now 39 but a fan since "Fleetwood Mac was current," gave the show her blessing. "The band was as good as I've ever seen them. Wonderful," said Childs. She came from Philadelphia dressed in the flowing black garb she's been wearing since her teenage years, when she began idolizing Nicks. Childs now markets a line of Nicks-inspired apparel and accessories (including "Bella Donna Hair Beads") called Rock and Roll Gypsy. The crowd's fashion sense left her disappointed. "I thought there would be more Stevie outfits here," she said.
The concert, Fleetwood Mac's first locally since a 1997 show at Nissan Pavilion, drew not only the longtime fans, but also their teenage children. Sixteen-year-old Tristan Lindsey came from Hampton, Va., to see her and her mother's favorite band. "Mom wanted to name me Rhiannon," said Lindsey, wearing a licensed "Rumours" T-shirt. "But Dad wouldn't let her. I wish she would have." In Lindsey's words, it was "the best show ever."