Friday, April 24, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Better Than a Big Mac - Live in Ft. Lauderdale

Fleetwood Mac
April 23, 2009
Bank Atlantic Center, Sunrise, FL
By: Michelle F.

Better Than: A Big Mac

Having seen Fleetwood Mac at least a dozen times, and Stevie Nicks on her own probably twice as many, suffice to say I have a bit of history to compare Thursday night's stop in SoFla for the Fleetwood Mac "Unleashed: Hits Tour 2009."

For all the Mac fans out there (I am one of you, remember, before you continue reading further), there's no doubt of the talent and greatness of each of these demigods, including Ms. Nicks, Lindsay Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie. But Thursday night's concert left a hollow spot in my gypsy soul. The multi-Grammy-winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees haven't released any new material since 2003's "Say You Will." So this latest tour is to dust off the old chestnuts that continue to make this band a draw whether there's something new to pitch or not.

Fleetwood said in a recent interview, "For the very first time, we're going out on the road without an album. All of the energy is really about just getting out there and putting on a show that really resonates emotionally."

Mick, that sounds all well and good, so what happened?

On Thursday night, every one was on autopilot. It was like my old bar band days when we'd be like, "Let's collect the money and get the hell outta here" after singing an evening full of cover tunes. Then, the crowd loved it, so we had done our job. Same thing with Fleetwood Mac, who has now become a cover band of their own tunes. The crowd loved it, so they had done their job.

At least Stevie remembered what Florida city she was playing in. A few years ago, while I was reviewing a show in Philadelphia, Nicks blurted out, "Hello, Pittsburggggh!" This time it was, "Fort Lauderdaaaaaaaaale. It's great to be here!"

I so wholeheartedly wanted to embrace this iconic woman of rock, but I couldn't get beyond the Ghost of Nicks Past. On May 26, the rock chanteuse will be 61. Just for comparison's sake, a few months ago I caught Chrissie Hynde's show. The mascara-laden frontwoman of the Pretenders is 57, but she sure kicks it. And as long as I'm on the subject, freakin' Patti Smith is 62. And the high energy she exhibited at the last show I saw of hers in New York wasn't from a bunch of Red Bull's, but rather from a real passion.

But on Thursday night, it was Nicks, mostly, who had put herself on cruise control, propped up in front of a microphone, chortling out her greatest hits like "Dreams," "Rhiannon," "Sara," and "Gypsy."

Maybe what distracted me the most was my vantage point!

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