Monday, May 25, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Live in Glendale, AZ

Fleetwood Mac delivers greatest hits
Live in Glendale, AZ May 24, 2009

by Larry Rodgers

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers in Fleetwood Mac showed Sunday night that they have emerged from a five-year performance hiatus with their musical mystery and superstar aura intact.

In a homecoming show for singer Stevie Nicks, the band served up an ambitious set of classics that ran nearly 2 1/2 hours at Arena in Glendale.

Its four members, augmented on their Unleashed tour by three singers and two other musicians, may be in their early '60s, but there was plenty of energy onstage from the bouncing opening chords of 1975's “Monday Morning.”

Guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingam seemed to be the most supercharged Sunday, enthusiastically diving into the vocals of that tune, which like much of Mac's catalog, talks about the double sword of romance.

The Phoenix-born Nicks exuded a regal, dignified presence onstage, suitable for her status as one of rock's most magnetic and complex performers. But she clearly was happy to be back in Arizona, where she owned a home for 25 years.

“We have family here tonight (including her sister-in-law, Lori Nicks, on vocals). I am thrilled to be here,” Nicks said early on. “It is my home, you know.”

Nicks later dedicated a poignant version of “Landslide” to her mother, Barbara, a longtime Valley resident.

The arena crowd, a few thousand seats short of a sellout, responded to the between-song banter Nicks and Buckingham with loud love.

Though Mac is viewed as a baby-boomer act, a healthy number of teens and 20-somethings were in the Glendale crowd, perhaps drawn by the group's decision to spotlight its biggest hits on this tour.

With no new album to promote, Buckingham told the audience, “This time, we said, ‘Let's just go out there and have fun.'”

The set which included such mega-hits as “Rhiannon,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Dreams,” “Sara” and “Don't Stop,” left longtime fans like Pamela Frady, 54, of Fountain Hills satisfied.

“All the old songs were really good,” she said.

Frady's husband, David, 54, who has seen the band through the years, added, “They have done nothing but improve phenomenally.”

Buckingham remained as fiery as ever when he attacked his guitar on “Big Love” and the show-stopping “I'm So Afraid.”

He mentioned “the power and importance of change” before starting the rapid-fire plucking of his acoustic guitar on 1987's “Big Love.”

When he was done, he looked up at the crowd, smiled and touched his heart.

As 1975's “I'm So Afraid” built to a raging climax, Buckingham ran around the stage, pausing several times to pound on the fret board of his guitar, within inches of the outstretched arms of fans.

Nicks' vocals were smooth and strong on the aforementioned hits, as well as “Dreams,” “Gypsy,” “Gold Dust Woman” and the show-ending “Silver Springs.”

The keys of some songs appeared to have been lowered, and Nicks long ago altered her treatment of some lyrics to avoid high notes, but her rich voice remains of of rock's most distinctive.

Nicks, who reportedly has lost 60 pounds, looked as mystical as ever, dressed early on in a dark dress with material cascading from its sleeves and tall boots. She had some subtle costume changes during the show, including various shawls that added drama to her trademark move — extending her arms and twirling (done more slowly than in the '70s and '80s).

During the always-powerful “Gold Dust Woman,” Nicks turned her back to the crowd and stretched out her arms, silhouetted by an onstage spotlight. As the haunting song wound down, Nicks' dance moves were eerie and ghostlike, and the crowd responded with a roar.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood, who co-founded the band with bassist and fellow Brit John McVie in 1967, got into the act with a spirited drum solo during the first encore song, “World Turning.”

Wearing a microphone and looking like rock's crazy, old uncle with his gray beard and bulging eyeballs, Fleetwood cracked up the crowd with yelps and hoots.

McVie, whom Fleetwood introduced as “the backbone of Fleetwood Mac,” was his usual low-key self on stage, decked out in a cap and dark vest.

Throughout the set, Fleetwood waved his approval at Buckingham's masterful guitar work and blew kisses at Nicks.

Nicks and Buckingam, who were a couple before and during their early days in Fleetwood Mac (they joined in 1974), came out for the first encore holding hands, and Buckingham gently kissed the singer's hand.

The gesture was bittersweet and powerful, just like Fleetwood Mac's latest concert set.

Set list:
“Monday Morning”
“The Chain”
“I Know I'm Not Wrong”
“Go Insane”
“Second Hand News”
“Big Love”
“Never Going Back Again”
“Say That You Love Me”
“Gold Dust Woman”
“Oh Well”
“I'm So Afraid”
“Stand Back”
“Go Your Own Way”

“World Turning”
“Don't Stop”
“Silver Springs”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice review... and spot on!!!!

Fleetwood Mac rocked... as they always do!!!! And each individual persona was properly represented up there. Let's hope that any of US can rock like they did when we're over 60!!

Can't wait for they're next concert!

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