Saturday, May 16, 2009

VANCOUVER SHOW LACKS THE LUSTRE OF YESTERYEAR

Fleetwood Mac At GM Place
Friday, May 15th
By Sarah Rowland

Straight.com
If ever there was a mutual effort in denial, it would be the classic rock, cash-grab reunion tour. Embittered bandmates pretend to put their differences aside for the “love of the music”. And in exchange, hard-core fans shell out hundreds of dollars and convince themselves their idols’ coke-ravaged voices can still deliver the goods.

This was pretty much the case at the packed Fleetwood Mac show on Friday. If it weren’t for Lindsey Buckingham’s superlative guitar playing, the concert would have been a total washout. The reason? Well let’s say that, to put things charitably, the voices of Buckingham and Stevie Nicks seemed a little fried, to say the least.

As a result, almost every song was a total tease. The intros to the classics were strong and instantly recognizable, but as soon as the ’70s survivors started singing, it became painfully obvious the sweet blow-fuelled harmonies of yesteryear are long gone.

Maybe Buckingham and Nicks just needed a big fat rail for old times’ sake to loosen up the ol’ vocal chords, or maybe they needed former bandmate and “Songbird” songstress Christine McVie to pick up the slack. But then again, maybe her sagging vocal cords are shot to hell as well.

I’m not sure if the way the four remaining Fleetwood Mac members were positioned on the stage was meant to compensate for McVie’s absence. For whatever reason, Buckingham and Nicks were so far apart, they had to use a split screen in order to fit both of them in the same JumboTron shot. And they weren’t even in the same time zone during the predictable spotlight moments.

In fact, the former lovers didn’t really connect until about halfway into the show during “Sara”, when Nicks awkwardly reached her hands out to Buckingham and he leaned his head on her heavily padded shoulder. But their hips and chests still weren’t touching, so it looked more like two grade eights slow dancing rather than a couple of old friends warmly embracing.

Performance-wise, the highlight of the show was the always-beautiful, pared-down “Landslide.” Nicks has this acoustically led ballad down to a T and the bonus is that it didn’t require much energy, which was good because it didn’t look as though the, um, full-figured singer had a lot to spare. Her eyes were at half-mast almost the entire show. Too much NeoCitran? Bad plastic surgery? Who knows. But I got sleepy just looking at her.

And it wasn’t just her lids that looked heavy. I couldn’t see what kind of shoes Nicks was wearing, but they seemed to be weighing down her feet like cement blocks. So instead of looking like an ethereal and majestical Gypsy in her black-lace finery as she attempted to twirl across the stage (her one big dance move of the night), the ultimate goddess of rock ‘n’ roll excess” looked more like a well-fed Wiccan lumbering around the Maypole in a Beltane fertility ritual.

It was kind of sad. But hey, the first 20 or so rows seemed to be enjoying it.

Other standouts included “Big Love”, in which Buckingham unleashed a wicked acoustic guitar solo. Later, Buckingham got his blues on with “Oh Well”, a Fleetwood Mac song that was written before he and Nicks joined the band.

After burning through 20-plus hits, they left us with “Don’t Stop”, an ironic choice considering it might be time for these classic-rock dinosaurs to do just that.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The concert I saw in Denver rocked for all age groups. The fact that Fleetwood Mac's average age is 60 is a fact...yeah, that's a different experience, but they reached back and brought forth their own magic. Get with it and appreciate their work, energy and soul!

Anonymous said...

Fleetwood Mac is fantastic...they are pros through and through and absolute survivors of the music industry. I have seen them live and can honestly say they are thee best when it comes to performers, and I have seen many, many concerts over the years. Stevie Nicks is amazing and her solo performances absolutely blow you away...when she performs w/Fleetwood Mac she is less of a diva and often takes the backstage to Lyndsey...there is a difference, but that is not a bad thing. As far as all the negative comments about her weight, get off it, she is 5ft 2 and weighs about l30lbs, not bad for a 61-one yr old woman. Sara Rowland does not know anything about rock icons. Her comments about the group and the performance is almost liable.

Anonymous said...

the vancouver concert rocked...from our section the crowd was on their feet from the first song.it was an intergenerational gathering and appreciation for the timeless songs of the band. Not too many concert have 20,30 40 50, and 60, year olds singing,clapping along!!

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