By Katherine Reinhard
The Morning Call
Perhaps it was because they had been on break for a few weeks. But there seemed to be two distinct Fleetwood Mac bands on stage at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia last night.
The first took up more than half of the two-hour plus show featuring greatest hits from the band's mid-1970s incarnation.
Sure, there was the trimmed down Stevie Nicks in a flowing gypsy black dress, killer boots and a mike stand draped in black scarves. Yes, the first three songs - "Monday Morning," "Chain" and "Dreams" - are among their best and could easily have filled out the end of the show.
But the performance was flat. You could barely hear Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham seemed to be trying too hard. Group founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie were little more than wallpaper. And the back-up band and singers may as well been on another stage.
Ten songs in I was so bored that I seriously contemplated going to the bar area to watch the Flyers get hammered by Pittsburgh.
But then the second Fleetwood Mac band showed up when Fleetwood, McVie and the backup band and singers left the stage. It was just Buckingham and Nicks up there, like their pre-Mac days with Buckingham on acoustic guitar. Now dressed in a claret dress, Nicks' voice finally kicked in. It was a bit deeper than her early years, but it was still there. The duo performed "Landslide." The lyrics were not lost on the mostly older audience. "Children get older," Nicks sang.. "... I'm getting older, too." The crowd ate it up.
From then on it was a really good show. Fleetwood, McVie and the others returned to the stage. Fleetwood moved up to a small drum kit at the front of stage. When Nicks sang "Gold Dust Woman" it was as though she had moved into a different astral plane. Buckingham took on Peter Green's part in "Oh Well," the only song from the pre-Buckingham-Nicks day, and proved he still can play guitar like a '60s rock star.
By the time the band closed the show, playing "World Turning" and "Don't Stop," I wanted to stand up and demand a redo of the first half. I guess I'll have to wait for the next tour.
(Photo by Brian Hineline, Special to The Morning Call)