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Richmond Times Dispatch
In pop music, lightning occasionally strikes twice. In the case of Fleetwood Mac, their smash 1977 album “Rumours” was closer to lightning striking an earthquake’s epicenter, still ranking as one of the top-selling albums in history. Along with other hit albums and a string of enduring singles, word of a Fleetwood Mac tour to those so warmly connected to the band’s music will always be big news.
With the five “Rumours”-era members reuniting, their current “On With the Show” tour is Fleetwood Mac’s biggest news in years. Had the Eagles not previously claimed “Hell Freezes Over” as a tour name, it might have seemed somewhat appropriate here.
A sold-out John Paul Jones Arena erupted with the opening notes of “The Chain,” and suddenly there was the band’s most famous lineup: Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Stevie Nicks. With Nicks at his right before a scarf-draped mic stand, Buckingham tore through a fiery guitar solo in one of the group’s hardest-rocking songs.
For those who had seen other touring versions of the band, it must have been a particular buzz for longtime fans to see Christine back at the keyboards. While making a point of welcoming her back, Nicks made reference to Christine’s maiden name, after which the singer/keyboard player joked, “I used to be Perfect before I married John.”
It was a set filled with highlights. A lively “Second Hand News” was followed by a bewitching turn from Nicks on “Rhiannon.” Christine stepped out from behind her keyboard to strap on an accordion and join Buckingham for a crowd-pleasing stomp through “Tusk.” It was still poignant to hear Nicks sing “Well, I’ve been afraid of changes ‘cause I’ve built my life around you” during “Landslide,” especially performing alone with ex-husband Buckingham onstage, and the crowd sang along. Buckingham then slowed “Never Going Back Again” to half its original tempo, underscoring its lyrical impact.
Bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, one of rock’s most solid rhythm sections, were content to lay a foundation in the background, though Fleetwood did have his time in the spotlight when he settled onto a mobile drum kit pushed to the front of the stage.
It seemed evident that Christine’s return had the band’s members as excited as their audience. “I think you can say that we’re a group that’s seen its fair share of ups and downs – well documented,” said Buckingham. “With the return of Christine, I think it’s safe to say we begin a beautiful, prolific new chapter of Fleetwood Mac!”