Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fleetwood Mac at Prudential Center is enjoyable, but...

By Tris McCall/The Star-Ledger

Last year, Hear Music -- that's the label run by Starbucks -- released a tribute disc to Fleetwood Mac. There wasn't a single cover of a Christine McVie song on the collection. Maybe she gave the okay for that, and maybe she didn't want to negotiate with Hear; in any case, it felt like she'd been written of a story in which she's a central character.

Last night, the Mac held the stage at the Prudential Center for nearly two and a half hours. There was only a single Christine McVie song on the setlist -- "Don't Stop," which is mostly sung by Lindsey Buckingham. McVie wasn't present for the concert, which is nothing new: She hasn't been performing with the group in more than a decade. Mick Fleetwood mentioned in an interview that the door is always open, and he'd love it if she'd walk through. Some fans have high hopes for the upcoming London gig; in Newark on Wednesday, she didn't walk through.
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I love Lindsey Buckingham. He's something of an onstage megalomaniac, and he'll solo all night and day if you let him, but he's endearing, he's a magnetic frontman and a dexterous guitarist, and his restlessness and taste for experimentation was put to good use by the rest of the group. I love Stevie Nicks, too; her songs are smart, tough, and intoxicating, and get her going in an extended outro and she's likely to guide you to places that few singers ever visit. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood are the rare rhythm players with indelible personalities; push play on a Fleetwood Mac recording and within seconds, you'll know it's them.There are days on which I am convinced that there has never been a greater British-born rock group than Fleetwood Mac -- not the Beatles, not the Kinks, not Led Zeppelin, not the Attractions, nor any of the other boys', boys', boys' bands who never seemed to want to let the girls get a word in. 

But that version of Fleetwood Mac is impossible without Christine McVie. She provided the serenity that made Buckingham's frenetic approach palatable, the earthiness that kept Nicks grounded, and the trancelike electric piano parts that added mystic resonance to the thump and throb of the rhythm section. Most of all, she added terrific songs to the repertoire: songs of romance and warmth, stories that added to that distinctive Fleetwood Mac feeling of men and women in conversation. She did not demonstrate Buckingham's imagination or Nicks' urgency. But no songwriter in a band of great songwriters understood the architecture of pop melody better than she did.

Christine shown here in this recent
photo supports Trevor's Law!
Years before Mick Fleetwood had the bright idea of enlisting Buckingham and Nicks, Christine McVie was
writing and singing great songs for Fleetwood Mac. She was writing good songs when she was still Christine Perfect, singer and pianist for British blues act Chicken Shack. After "Rumours" became a smash hit, pre-Buckingham-Nicks material dropped out of setlists, and because of that, an unfair percentage of Christine McVie's finest work has gotten lost in the Dark Ages of Mac history. She joined the group in 1971 (she'd drawn the children's book-like cover for the "Kiln House" set the year before) and immediately became a major contributor. "Believe Me," the leadoff cut from the 1973 album "Mystery to Me," is first-rate Fleetwood Mac and as delicious as anything on "Rumours." "Come a Little Bit Closer," from 1974's "Heroes Are Hard to Find," anticipated the major-league pop moves the band would make a year later. Once the band hit the big time, she kept right on penning hits: "You Make Loving Fun," "Think About Me," "Hold Me," "Say You Love Me." (Her album cuts were just as good.)

I'll have my review of this show in Saturday's paper, but I'll give you the short version here: Fleetwood Mac is always something great to behold, but I missed Christine McVie like a jeweled ring I'd dropped down the drain. I want her back, badly, and I'll bet her former bandmates do, too. 

Note: Mick Fleetwood has recently been indicating to fans during the Meet and Greets on the Fleetwood Mac Tour that Christine will likely make an appearance on stage in London during The Mac's 3 sold out shows... When asked if she'll be doing all 3 he indicated likely just one, but wouldn't confirm which show.


  1. I bet she does the 3rd night - just to keep people on the edge of their seats.

  2. CM is definitely missed from the line up. It would be a bonus if she appeared with the Mac, even for just one song.......Songbird. Bring it on!!

  3. She is definitely missed and she would make me go back to see them in a heart beat. I'd rob a bank. The show last night did give a lot to be seen. Mic Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham both were amazing! Stevie was wonderful and John McVie was fun to watch. I did miss Christie McVie and I hope she returns to the band soon.

  4. God, get over it. She doesn't want to be in the band. It's been 10 years. Move on.

  5. Being that Christine McVie lives in the UK, why not just have her do all 3 shows, film them as one rare FM reunion concert, pick the best performances over the 3 dates in London, edit it together and release it on DVD...EPIC!!! : )

  6. The most we are going to get as fans, if we get that lucky, would be for her to join the band onstage for a couple songs. She likely won't even do a whole set, and that's fine. It is what it is, she is done.

    The person who wrote this review is waxing so much nostalgia he missed the point of writing a concert review. Christine's songs just do not sound right when Stevie sings them. I love Stevie but I don't want to hear her sing "Little Lies" or "Everywhere" or "HOld Me" or "You Make Loving Fun" or any number of songs written by Christine.

  7. Chris performed in Maui with Mick and Steven two months ago. Be thankful for that. She's done. She's willfully retired from Mac. She wants to stay home and garden and watch TV and drink wine. What's wrong with that? Sounds damn good to me. Give this woman a break, and stop judging the band on the basis of "there's no more Christine McVie". Stevie and Mick and John and Lindsey are doing spectacular work. Unfortunately the author missed that while waiting for Christine to emerge from the wings. NEWSFLASH... it's NOT going to happen and that's OKAY.

  8. I wish media outlets would stop having people review the show who don't know squat about Fleetwood Mac until they visit their wikipedia page an hour before leaving for the performance.

    Anyone who really was well-versed in Mac history would know that this is the third tour without Christine.

    If we could have reviewers who kept up with the band and were aware of the current happenings, we'd actually get reviews that was on point (good or bad) and not off in tangent land.

  9. ^oops, should read " that were on point..."

  10. I personally thought the NE shows I've seen Prudential, New York & Philly were the three best shows I've ever seen in my life. I did not feel the shows were lacking in ANY way because Christine was not there. In fact, the band sounded as tight as it possibly could. I'm sorry those positive things were not conveyed and it was a big whine about Christine's absence. I've seen Mac with and without her. These shows were the best in my humble opinion. The chemistry was there and we are really lucky to still have these fine talents filling arenas for us. It was a pleasure.

  11. Love Christine, but I thought most of her songs on the Dance tour sounded phoned in. She clearly was not into touring.
    She's earned her retirement and I actually like the current dynamic of the band - more energy and more Buckingham Nicks.

  12. PandaInAPhoneBoothWithNoChange26 April 2013 at 23:16


    Maybe people could get over it if this tour was any good and showed that FM without CM had any spark...

    Instead, it stinks...

    It's cold and emotionless. Stevie doesn't even seem to care to be there and the silly antics between her and Lindsey is so completely staged it's nauseating. It actually looks like they've been reading the diaries of those pathetic shipper people who want to see some true love lingering in the darkness....

    This isn't Fleetwood Mac. It's "Let's Make Money" Mac.