April 13, 2013
Chicago, IL USA
Review by Lisa Lipp
Photos by Ralf Lipp
Forget the Present, Relive the Past
With all the troubles the city of Chicago is enduring these days, Fleetwood Mac's appearance at the United Center was perfectly timed. What better way to forget the present than to relive the past. And for the 18,000 plus who attended this performance, that's exactly what happened.
This crowd stood at attention from the moment the four remaining 'Big Mac's - Stevie, Lindsey, John and Mick - walked out on stage to perform the opening number, "Second Hand News". When Buckingham hit the opening notes to "The Chain", and Nicks haunting voice started singing "Listen to the wind blow / watch the sun rise / run in the shadows / damn your love / damn your lies" this crowd was hooked. The appreciative audience remained in their stationary position singing and swaying as they soaked in this poignant moment. They would remain in their prone position the rest of the evening.
Listening to the band go through its catalog of hits like "Sara", "Dreams", "Gold Dust Woman" and "Landslide" was a wonderful reminder for everyone here tonight of the way we were. And to be honest, it felt good to transport yourself back in time to those carefree days of one's youth. People may have walked into this arena as grown-ups, but that didn't mean they had to act that way once the show got underway. And they didn't.
The members of Fleetwood Mac have aged quite gracefully. As usual, Stevie Nicks was the primary focus of the evening. Dressed in black, the 64-year old chanteuse remains a dazzling beauty. She pranced about in effortless fashion, swirling and twirling around with an endless array of colorful scarves that adorned her neck throughout the two and a half our show. Her interaction with Lindsey Buckingham reminded everyone that despite past difficulties, you can put the past behind you and live happily ever after. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood also demonstrated why they remain one of the finest rhythm sections in the music business today. Their 45-year history together has been the rock solid foundation that has endured as others fell by the wayside. Their mutual admiration for one another was apparent throughout the night.
The show was top heavy with songs from the first three Mac recordings from the mid to late '70s that introduced the dynamic duo of Buckingham and Nicks to the world. Rumours dominated the set list, and rightfully so. This album, more than any in recent music history, was literally the soundtrack to many of the people's lives in attendance this evening. I saw many folks around me smile broadly and whisper to one another when a particular song from the past was played.
Everyone remembered where they were the day this music became an interwoven fabric to their daily life.
It's a remarkable thing this music had the capacity to do that. This audience was here not to look forward, but to reminisce back to the times when they were young with their hopes and dreams still alive and in front of them. Whether or not any of those goals were ever achieved was irrelevant. The very fact that Fleetwood Mac was onstage doing what they do 38 years after the fact was the important thing.
There comes a point in time for all aging superstar bands where protecting the brilliant portions of their recording career is more important than creating new music itself. Fleetwood Mac fully understands that. This incarnation of the band was its most successful and enduring grouping. It's the one collection of 'Mac's" that will be forever remembered. It was unfortunate that the other voice, a very reclusive Christine McVie, declined to join this tour.
It certainly would have been wonderful to hear Christine sing her classic compositions like "Say You Love Me", "Over My Head", "You Make Loving Fun" or even "Little Lies". The only glimpse this crowd would hear of her brilliant songwriting would be "Don't Stop". Again, her absence was a real shame, but the band did reach out to their former 'mate' to try and convince her to come out of hiding. Rumors (no pun intended) have it she may resurface in London, where she currently resides, when the band performs over there later this coming fall.I could go on and on how great of a show this is, but there's no need to.
If you love Fleetwood Mac, then this is a must-see show. Not only will you thoroughly enjoy the evening, you can bear witness to just how far this band has come to healing old wounds and mending fences that at one time seemed impossible to do. In a testament to the member's maturity and respect for one another, they even performed Stevie's solo classic, "Stand Back." It spoke volumes on how far these four musicians had come.
As we all grow older, it's nice to know we can rely on old friends to escort us back to a time when our bodies were thin, our hair was all there, and the skin was oh so smooth. Fleetwood Mac hasn't succumbed to age, which means we haven't either. Their music is our best hope of keeping who we once were alive. Watching them perform one classic number after another reminded one and all that you 'can't stop thinking about tomorrow', but you can sure long for yesterday.