Thursday, May 21, 2009

(REVIEW) Fleetwood Mac Live in Oakland, CA May 20, 2009

Fleetwood Mac at the Oracle Arena

Photo by Christopher Victorio

Delving into the convoluted history of Fleetwood Mac is tantamount to stepping in a cow pile for the casual fan (and here I shall raise my hand), so let's sidestep cries of "heresy!" and stick to what went down at the Oracle last night.

When you've got a catalogue of hits like Fleetwood Mac, the quality of the show leans heavily on whether or not the band is in top form. And on this night, for most of the 20-song set, the band was tight and the vocals crisp. Father Time may have stiffened the bones of John McVie and Stevie Nicks (who headed backstage for a break and shawl swap after almost every song), but Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham had obviously been eating their spinach - these two gentlemen of Pop had far more fun than anyone in the audience. Which is no easy feat considering the crowd was on its feet for more than half of the show, tears of nostalgia wetting many an eye.

Buckingham danced around the stage like a teen guitarist at his first show, beating his chest and blowing kisses to the crowd in heartfelt thanks - all but leaping into the pit of fans below in enthusiasm. (At one point, he had at least 6 pairs of fan hands playing his guitar.) Nicks, for her part, was her gypsy self, snaking hands in the air and gently swirling beneath the spotlights as best she could -- to be honest, from where we sat, she looked as though she were almost in pain, but when she sang it was smooth and seemed effortless.

The addition of three back-up singers, a guitarist and keyboardist (who also sang harmonies) contributed to the lush sound that is the hallmark of many a Fleetwood Mac recording.

Both Nicks and Buckingham commented on how thrilled they were to be back in the Bay, where their former band Fritz opened for acts like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. San Francisco is the "velvet underground" mentioned in "Gypsy," added Nicks before launching into the song.

Fan favorites "Go Your Own Way," "Landslide," "Dreams," "Say You Love Me" and "Rhiannon" made appearances, as did "Storms," which Nicks said had never been performed onstage outside the current tour.

Add dueling guitar leads between veteran guitarist Neale Heywood and Buckingham and an over-the-top drum solo from Fleetwood and you've got a show that will be bragged about having been at for quite some time.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: Ever the sap, I was moved to tears by "Landslide."
Random Detail: Mick Fleetwood's flashy fire engine-red shoes were too cute.
By the way: Tickets are still available for tonight's Fleetwood Mac show in San Jose. Go go go.


Anonymous said...

Stevie Nicks was an utter disappointment and her butchering of Silver Springs was unfortunate.

Storms was a pleasant surprise and better than the album due to its slow pace.

Buckingham and Mic kicked utter ass and saved the show.

Surprised there was no mention of thanks to Christie who denied this tour.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I thot Silver Springs was killer! I'd heard that Stevie was ill... in light of that, she was awesome! She was always more sedate with Fleetwood Mac than on her solo tours, and I found it interesting to see her still take a back seat to Lindsey. Good for you, Stevie.. you still rock!
And by the way.. did you notice the "Christine" (not Christie) was not on the last tour either??

Anonymous said...

This show was sooooo bad we left. Nicks "i'm ready for my close up mr. deville"...

Anonymous said...

This was one of the best shows I've ever been to. I don't understand the Stevie bashing. She was beautiful and her singing was perfect.

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