Saturday, November 15, 2014

Reviews: Fleetwood Mac Live in Calgary Nov 14, 2014

Friday night's Fleetwood Mac show proves long-lived band as good as they ever were
By Gerry Krochak
Calgary Sun
Attendance – 13,500 (SOLD-OUT)
4 stars (out of five)

Photo Mike Drew

It’s easier to go back if you never really left in the first place.

Appearing as one of the last bastions of the classic rock era, the otherworldly lineup that created one of the great records in rock-and-roll history is back and fully intact.

Unlike the last Fleetwood Mac visit to Calgary just under two years ago, the classic MK II incarnation of singer-keyboardist Christine McVie, bassist (and ex-husband John McVie), singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, (ex-wife and) singer Stevie Nicks, and drummer and band namesake, Mick Fleetwood, delivered a familiar and welcome 24-song hit-heavy setlist to a delirious sold-out gathering of boomers and beyond at the Scotiabank Saddledome last night.

Calgary Sun November 15, 2014
On a frigid early winter’s night, and from the opening strains of The Chain (which featured some outstanding fretwork courtesy of Buckingham) and You Make Loving Fun, it became abundantly clear just what kind of night would be in store.

The latter was a Christine vocal lead which received long, loud applause from the second she opened her mouth. ‘Welcome back, Christine,” Nicks smiled at the song’s conclusion. “She’s not telling us where she’s been for the past 16 years!”

It was only the front-end of what has always promised to be a timeless walk down rock-and-roll memory lane with an act as storied for its inter-band romantic dalliances as its classic material. And that’s no knock on the muse that made Fleetwood Mac relatable to, well, anyone who has ever loved or lost another human being. Yes, that would be all of us.

On a modest, but well lit and extra large stage, the incomparable Nicks took the lead for Dreams (a song she penned for that landmark ’77 album, Rumours), before Buckingham shone vocally and musically on Second Hand News.

While many long-time fans may have experienced this before, younger fans and the uninitiated had a look of disbelief while singing and swaying to Rhiannon (another Nicks trademark) and Everywhere, which again featured McVie in her full return to glory . . . heck, even better than you remembered from a band you may have been born into.

The chemistry, tension and otherworldly talent of these five individuals feeding off each other seemed uncanny in the mid-70s, and it remains unchanged nearly four decades later. Each is captivating in their own right — and for different reasons. But together, man, it is still something magical . . . indescribable, even.

While the applause that the returning McVie received was warm and sincere, and it’s clear that Nicks still thrills fans when she sweeps across the stage, it’s Buckingham that was and is the glue. He led his band of merry men and women through I Know I’m Not Wrong, the experimental title track from ‘79s Tusk, Sisters Of The Moon, Say You Love Me and, especially, Big Love.

The group collectively poured it on with Seven Wonders (another Nicks vocal highlight), Landslide, Gypsy, Little Lies, Gold Dust Woman (Nicks’ tour de force during a Friday evening filled with highlights) and main set closer, Go Your Own Way.

On a night which many in attendance wished would never end, the group sent the crowd to the exits with World Turning, Silver Springs and a stunning version of Don’t Stop which had every man, woman, boy and girl singing, clapping and dancing.

Maybe Fleetwood Mac will be back again one day . . . but could it possibly be this great?​

(The review below is so not on point!  I've seen multiple shows and he makes it sound like the band went to sleep up on stage... The above review is way more representative to what you will experience. Of course they acknowledged Christine! And not at the end of the show, but both Stevie and Lindsey during their early song intros talk about her return. But everyone has their opinion.)

Fleetwood Mac's classic lineup fails to connect
By Mike Bell
Calgary Herald 


It means whole. It should also mean satisfying. It should mean that everything comes together to be something full, that all the parts form something greater than the pieces to create, or recreate, that larger thing that means more and is more on every level, and is, ultimately, satisfying.

Something that is complete.

So, knowing that, understanding that, it should be a pretty much a given that the reforming of the classic lineup of Fleetwood Mac — the welcoming of Christine McVie back into the fold of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie — should make things whole again, should make things better.

It should have made things more complete.

That’s an understandable thought. That’s something that anyone who walked into Friday night’s Saddledome show by the blues-rock veterans should have have held. Especially considering it was a gig with no opening act, no intermission, and that it was two-plus hours of all the hits that the act delivered in their ’70s, genre-defying heyday.

You can add that the last time Fleetwood Mac came through, sans Christine McVie, it was a pretty mediocre and mailed-in evening of those familiar Fleetwood faves, songs that didn’t need to be performed in any manner other than competently for people to walk way thinking they saw something special.

Which makes it all the more disappointing, the fact that this band, seemingly made whole with the addition of McVie, was so much less than whole, or rather, just as not whole as when she was a missing member.

Friday night’s Saddledome date in front of 13,000 fans was as disappointing as its counterpart just over a year ago. It held none of that magic of previous great Mac concerts, with or without the lady, instead merely a rehash of the past.

Honestly, the band did nothing to harness the energy of that reclaimed member, chugging effortlessly and workmanlike through songs such as opener the Chain, Dreams, Rhiannon, Everywhere, Tusk, Landslide and Never Going Back Again without even vaguely acknowledging the presence of the woman who made them whole. The sound was adequate, not great, but that was only a minor part of the night and what went on.

Just as McVie was a bit player in an evening when she should have been celebrated and, according to other reviews from this tour, has been celebrated. That came only briefly at the end of the evening, prior to the introduction of Don’t Stop, which, again, was a song that your CD player could play with more enthusiasm than those on stage. And then during the final encore, when Nicks gave a weak intro to her friend, talking about the collective will and wishes of Mac fans who mad it happen.

No, despite this review’s focus, McVie’s not necessary, but when she’s there, barely utilized, and the band plugs away as if they are complete on their own, it’s a remarkably empty affair.

And the songs, so much a part of our lives, held very little weight, with main set closer Go Your Own Way little more than an FM shell of itself. It sounded as it should have but not what it could have been.

It didn’t help that there was very little connection with the audience, period, save for Nicks talking about the Calgary Flames physical therapist who helped her out the last time through. They were, as a whole, distant, not showing the results of the fun that their current tour were meant to incite. And us not feeling it either.

And the stage show, well, there was a giant screen disinterestedly displaying images, while the band stood in place, Buckingham perhaps the only member who showed any sort of flair throughout the evening, save for a by rote Fleetwood drum solo that paled in comparison to others he’s shared with a Calgary crowd. (I hope you remember the drum suit? There was none of that. None of that charm.)

Honestly, there are those who will assume this is fed by a dislike, but it’s the opposite. Fleetwood Mac are a band that no honest human being could disregard or dismiss, except for those with a cold, dead heart. This show, with them complete in their classic Rumours form, should have been so much more than the whatever it was.

There were parts, there were moments when it was something. But that never connected, it never connected.

Parts never became whole. It never came satisfied.

It never came complete.


Anonymous said...

I concur with the Sun review. The concert was fantastic and I got chills down my back when they launched their second song Dreams. Stevie Nicks was spot on. I guess the Herald reviewer missed the honors bestowed upon Christine and the resounding standing ovation, which continued throughout their last set. I guess opinions are in the eyes of the beholder but Nickslive must have been wearing shades. All others who were there thought the night was magical.

Anonymous said...

Sorry...that should have read Mike Bell instead of Nickslive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous and the Sun are correct! This was a fantastic show. I felt satisfied, and yeah, connected.
I never saw them in concert before, so I have only my own memory of a band that marked a time of my life, and it connected me to it. Great performance from a group of people who clearly belong together musically.

Anonymous said...

I have seen many classic bands and this concert was one of the best ever, MAYBE THE BEST EVER, that I have ever seen. Critics like Mike Bell love to criticize, that is what they are and how they make a living somehow, by being chronic complainers about anything and everything that their little minds can imagine and invent.

Anonymous said...

Well if Mike Bell, (never heard of him) becomes as successful a writer/journalist as the five musicians up on that stage are musicians than he would go down in history! He'd better work harder.. We keep forgetting that Fleetwood mac, have a whole new generation of fans. In this crazy world it's fantastic to see that Fleetwood Mac can instill a nostalgia not jus remembering a carefree past,but they give us hope for a wonder tomorrow! Remember there is new music from them on the horizon! And we'll love it!
And the Band played on!

Anonymous said...

The show was brilliant. Mike Bell is on glue.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr Bell went to the Fleetwood Mac Tribute concert because he certainly was not at the the Saddledome.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic show. One of the best I have ever seen. This guy who said they didn't connect obviously was not paying any attention to the 13,500 people who were on their feet and singing their hearts out to every single song.

Anonymous said...

I travelled 10 hrs to see this show and it did not disappoint !!! Comparable only to Queen w/ Adam Lambert I saw in Vancouver this past summer. 2 legendary bands that delivered hours of non stop classic music....2 shows I will never forget....2 of the best shows I have ever seen !!!

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