Friday, May 08, 2009


Fleetwood Mac still has chops


The band hasn't put out an album in years, but that didn't stop the crowd from celebrating Fleetwood Mac on Thursday night.

The group put on a simple, straightforward performance at Qwest Center Omaha that showcased all its hits for 2½ hours. Fans got a taste of everything, from less famous tunes like "Monday Morning" to smash hits "Don't Stop" and "Go Your Own Way."

"Omaha, welcome! We are thrilled that you are here with us tonight. We feel like we should get this party started," Stevie Nicks said from behind her scarf-covered microphone while the crowd applauded.

Drummer and band namesake Mick Fleetwood introduced band members as the "man with the magic fingers," guitarist Lindsey Buckingham; the "poet" and "first lady," singer Stevie Nicks; and the "backbone" of the band, bassist John McVie.

In addition to her trademark scarves and tambourine, Nicks added a few other flourishes to her wardrobe by changing dresses and donning shawls throughout the set. Before the set-closing "Go Your Own Way," Nicks left the stage and re-emerged wearing a top hat.

Unlike other veteran rockers, Fleetwood Mac didn't update songs to eliminate '80s-era synthesizers or change its stage displays to include an elaborate video montage or pyrotechnics. And the crowd - most of whom looked like longtime Fleetwood Mac fans - cheered them on throughout the show.

Nicks famously sings "I'm getting older, too," in Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide." But while she and the rest of the band are (she turns 61 in a few weeks), they haven't lost any of their vocal or instrumental chops.

Nicks' voice Thursday night sounded as sultry as when she joined the band in the mid-'70s, and Fleetwood and McVie haven't lost a step.

But most impressive was Buckingham, who put on a display with his guitar work during every song, all while splitting lead vocal duties with Nicks.

Although there were two backup guitarists onstage, Buckingham didn't need them. He played lead guitar for the band throughout the concert, switching styles with ease - finger-picking his way through blues riffs, slow acoustic ballads and loud rocking tunes.

During the show, Buckingham explained that the band members had "said to each other, 'Let's just go out there (during this tour) and have fun. Let's go out there and do the songs that we love.'"

He turned to the crowd and said, "Hopefully those are the songs that you love, too."

Concertgoers also heard some history of the band and got a window into how and why certain songs were written. Like an episode of VH1's "Storytellers," Nicks and Buckingham took turns introducing songs, telling how they were written, how each joined the band and how songs' meanings had changed over time.

The emotional turmoil that fueled the writing of many of Fleetwood Mac's songs wasn't apparent Thursday. Nicks and Buckingham made a point of proving that there was no animosity, taking the stage holding hands, turning to sing to one another during some songs and even hugging in the middle of "Sara."

Members of the band thanked the audience obsessively. Near the end of the concert, Buckingham took a moment to address them: "Omaha, you guys are just great tonight. Thank you all for coming, and good night."

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