Saturday, May 16, 2009

(REVIEW) FLEETWOOD MAC ROCKS VANCOUVER

It's No RumourUpdated: Sat May. 16 2009 13:14:36
Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca
They may not be able to hit all the high notes anymore, but Fleetwood Mac can still bring a crowd to their feet.

The legendary rockers performed to a sold-out crowd Friday at Vancouver's GM Place as part of their 44-stop "Unleashed" North American tour.

Though the tour provides no new musical material, it certainly is a momentous occasion for fans, many of whom have followed the group for more than 40 years.

Performing mostly hits from the mid-1970s, their most commercially successful period, the rockers delivered a solid and entertaining performance, guiding fans through favourites like Dreams, Go Your Own Way, Don't stop and Gypsy.

Singer Stevie Nicks donned her famous shawls and capes, a signature in her live performances: Black for Rhiannon, red for Landslide and gold for, of course, Gold Dust Woman.

Taking a break between songs, a noticeably tanned and trim Lindsey Buckingham described the band's six-year hiatus from touring.

"We take breaks, sometimes more breaks," he said. "When we went out this time around we just said 'lets just go out there and have fun.'"

But while there is no doubt the band is excited about performing on stage, there was little chemistry between them. Interaction between members was almost nonexistent, save for one awkward occasion when Nicks' cradled Buckingham's coiffed head in her shoulder while walking off stage after a song.

Despite this, the current inception of the band must seem like a cakewalk for English rockers Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, who founded the band and have led it through its troubled history.

Member turnover has plagued the group since its inception in 1967, but the addition of American singer-songwriters and longtime lovers Buckingham and Nicks made things difficult.

Their addition helped propel the band into superstardom, but also threw them into conflict.

The end of Nicks' and Buckingham's longstanding affair threatened to break up the band in the mid-70s, as did the divorce of singer Christine McVie and husband John.

Thankfully, the problems provided rich fodder for Rumors, the band's most commercially successful album -- with more than 25 million albums sold.

And then there's the other band members.

Founding guitarist Peter Green quit the band in 1970 to follow his ascetic religious beliefs, soon after an onset of schizophrenia said to be brought on by LSD abuse. Replacement guitarist Jeremy Spencer disappeared in Los Angeles while on tour in 1971 and turned up as a member of a religious cult, Children of God (ironically, also the title of a later Spencer solo project).

Vocalist Christine McVie retired from the band in 1998, but didn't leave music altogether. She released a solo album in 2004, to moderate success.

Friday's Vancouver show is one of only seven Canadian dates on the tour, which kicked off in Pittsburgh March 1.

Fans were eagerly awaiting news the band would indeed play in B.C. after Tuesday's Calgary show was cancelled because of an "undisclosed illness," rumoured to be Nicks.

The band will now travel to Washington State for a Saturday show, to be followed by six more dates before the tour concludes May 31 in San Diego.

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