March 1, 2015
Frank Erwin Center
Austin, TX USA
Review by Elaine McAfee Bender
"This is a most prolific time for the band, Fleetwood Mac." - Lindsey Buckingham
Performing at the famous Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, the band is once again touring with all five original band members following the recent return of Christine McVie after a 16-year absence, Fleetwood Mac has succeeded in an epic reunion which is rare for any rock band, especially one whose roots date back to 1967. These outstanding, multi-Grammy winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees are best known for their 1977 album, Rumours, which is one of the top-selling albums in history, exceeding sales of 40 million copies!
I was anticipating little more than a whole lot of nostalgia from this legendary group, who are some of the very best musicians and songwriters of the 1970s and 80s with a catalog of just under 500 songs. Surely, performers who are in their late 60’s and early 70’s cannot possibly come close to their original sound, right? Wrong! These rockers are clearly on their game and did not disappoint fans. There were moments when I closed my eyes and, I swear, the sound coming from the stage was every bit as good as the record.
The 8:00 pm show was late starting as ticket holders were held up by bad weather and traffic issues. No opening artists, no recorded music droning on in the background, just Fleetwood Mac. At 8:20, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham took to the stage to the roar of an enthusiastic audience with the blasting, chill bump inducing song "The Chain." I knew from this opening number that we were in for an evening of rock & roll at its very finest, and Fleetwood Mac did not disappoint.
Aside from "The Chain," other songs performed from the 1977 Rumours, album were "You Make Loving Fun," "Dreams," "Go Your Own Way," " Second Hand News," and "Don’t Stop." There were 3 backup singers, a guitarist and a keyboard player whose presence contributed to the full sound of those Fleetwood Mac hits.
Lindsey Buckingham, still one of the best guitarists to grace a stage anywhere any time, has perfect pitch on vocals and, at 65 years old, the youthful vigor of man half his age. He was leaping, skipping, and never left the stage for over 2 hours. Stevie Nicks, age 66, warmed up on her vocals after a couple of songs and told heartfelt stories of her life and the reality behind her songs. Christine McVie looked healthy, happy and much younger than her 72 years. She sounded exactly like she did when I first saw her perform in a London band called Chicken Shack in the early 1970s. It was obvious that her presence there was important to all the band members. Mick Fleetwood, age 68, was well dressed and one of the most powerful drummers I’ve ever heard. Bassist John McVie, age 70, has recently completed cancer treatments and, although he looked frail, never missed a lick on his bass.
Other highlights of the evening were songs from the 1975 self-titled album, including "Rhiannon," "Say You Love Me," "Over My Head," and "Landslide," which Nicks introduced as her father’s favorite song. There was a moving video in the background during "Gypsy," which, coupled with Stevie’s shawl-flying dance turns, brought tears to the eyes of many of us in the audience who grew up listening to the song. My personal favorites were "Gold Dust Woman," "Tusk," (from the 1979 album of the same name) and "Sisters of the Moon." They also played "Little Lies," and "Everywhere," from the superb 1987 album Tango in the Night.
I wasn’t familiar with some of the newer material, but all songs were well-rehearsed and harmonies were sheer perfection. There was never a dull moment as each band member had his or her songs equally highlighted, but frontman Lindsey Buckingham was truly the glue that held it all together. With encores, the show was just over 2 1/2 hours long. My ears are still ringing and I can't stop smiling and singing those beloved Fleetwood Mac songs of my youth.
Thank you, Mick Fleetwood for being a powerhouse on the drums and for your vision of what a rock band should be. Thank you, beautiful songbird, Christine McVie, for returning to the flock. Thank you, Lindsey Buckingham, for your youthful passion and outstanding lead guitar solos. Thank you, Stevie Nicks, for your lyrical poetry which touches hearts young and old. Thank you, John McVie, for being the backbone of Fleetwood Mac. Long May You Rock!