Fleetwood Mac outdoes itself
Stevie Nicks, in concert with Fleetwood Mac at the Xcel Energy Center Tuesday night, can still shake a mean tambourine and bewitch with her husky, emotional voice. Lindsey Buckingham had the energy of a punk rocker half his age.
Soap operas are addictive, aren’t they? Eventually we come back for a peek even if the cast of a long-running soap has changed, because the story lines remain the same.
That’s true of rock’s longest-running soap opera, Fleet wood Mac. The romantic tension between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, lead singers for about 34 years, never goes away, even though these high school sweethearts broke up in the 1970s. They walked onstage Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center hand in hand — in the darkness.
Then for the next 2¼ hours, they put on one of those rare shows in which it was about the individuals of the band rather than the sum of the parts. Even though the 42-year-old band has had more different lead guitarists than Spinal Tap had drummers, Fleet wood Mac has always been about being greater than the sum of its parts. That was certainly true when Buckingham Nicks, a former duo, joined in the mid-’70s, sharing vocals and writing duties with keyboardist Christine McVie (who retired in 1998).
While the rhythm section of drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie was rock solid all night, the rest of Tuesday’s concert felt like the Stevie Nicks Show or the Lindsey Buckingham Show. Not that it was a competition.
Buckingham was terrific all night, reminding the 12,000 concert-goers just what a monster talent he is. As for Nicks, her husky, nasal voice was not in top form, though she probably could have won a Stevie Nicks sound-alike contest. At 60, she can still shake a mean tambourine, strut in platform boots and rock layers and layers of gauzy fabrics and shawls. But she didn’t do any of her famous witchy/dervish dancing in circles. More important, her vocalizing was not particularly passionate, save for the end of “Rhiannon,” “Sara” and “Storms,” a seldom-performed tune that she said was too emotionally dark live. However, she was focused, emotive and mesmerizing on this gem.
Eighteen of the 23 songs came from the band’s 1970s blockbusters “Fleetwood Mac,” “Rumours” and “Tusk.” Buckingham and Nicks did a couple solo hits and the band dusted off 1969’s “Oh Well,” a wonderful workout for Buckingham’s tortured guitar. All night long, the 59-year-old played aggressively and expressively. Same could be said of his singing; he seemed as amped as a punk-rocker half his age. The Lindsey Buckingham Show indeed.
From time to time, he exchanged glances with Nicks, especially when they harmonized on hits. Not that they seemed cold, indifferent or even angry. For the encore, they came out smiling, hand in hand. Buckingham kissed her hand and walked away to wail again on his guitar.