Monday, April 29, 2013

Review: Fleetwood Mac Live in Pittsburgh "He thrashed and smacked his guitar strings like a man gone mad"

Review: Fleetwood Mac Live in Pittsburgh - April 26, 2013
by Nicole Chynoweth

Three years have passed since Fleetwood Mac’s last tour, but their performance at Consol Energy Center last night proved their on-stage spark is hardly exhausted. For about two and a half hours, the band sent the crowd on a nostalgic journey through their back catalog with many of their greatest hits, as well as a long lost demo and a new track from their upcoming EP. While the band as a whole put on a great show, the musical chemistry between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks could not be ignored.

“Second Hand News” opened up the show, presenting Buckingham’s awe-inspiring fingerpicking skills almost immediately. As soon as the last chord sounded, Mick Fleetwood, seated atop an impressively large drum kit, rattled his shimmering chimes and broke into “The Chain.” John McVie’s dark, ominous bass solo hypnotized the squealing audience. Both songs set the tone for the evening: the Mac is back.

After “Dreams,” Buckingham took to the mic to discuss Fleetwood Mac’s return to the road.

“Every time we go apart and come back together, it’s different,” he said. “There are some chapters left to write for Fleetwood Mac.”

With that, the band performed “Sad Angel,” a new song from their next release. Much like many other Fleetwood Mac favorites, the song was upbeat with Buckingham’s fingerpicking driving the song.

Most of the set list seemed to focus on Buckingham’s talent as a guitarist, especially during his solo acoustic performance of “Big Love,” during which he thrashed and smacked his strings. Nicks’ vocals and theatrics also took center stage, specifically during “Rhiannon” and “Sara.” “Landslide” and “Never Going Back Again,” both performed acoustically by the duo, drew even more attention to them, as though the rest of the band hardly existed.

Buckingham gave a brief speech about a business axiom before tearing into two songs from Tusk. He explained the phrase, “If it works, run it into the ground and move on,” reminds him of that album, which shocked Warner Brothers quite a bit.

“It was not what they ever expected and most probably not what they wanted.”

“Not That Funny” allowed Buckingham to get more aggressive with his vocals, while he turned “Tusk” into a chaotic, barbaric chant. He crept up to the microphone like a jungle cat, building the song with increasingly louder coyote-like yelps. Fleetwood’s drum solo further established the savage manner of the song.

In addition to playing old favorites, Nicks and Buckingham performed a song they had recorded as a demo in the 1970s and lost somewhere along the way of their rise to fame.

“It was before we were even doing drugs. We were sober, and we still lost it!” Nicks said.

The song, entitled “Without You,” was a ballad written by Nicks about Buckingham. They rediscovered it on YouTube recently and have been performing it throughout their tour. Fleetwood moved off of his platform and in between Nicks and Buckingham, making the song seem even more intimate, as though the trio were reliving a moment from the start of their career together.

“Gypsy” and “Eyes of the World” had the crowd singing, while Nicks’ performance of “Gold Dust Woman” turned into a haunting, theatrical performance. She writhed around in a gold outfit, like the melting Wicked Witch of the West. Buckingham countered Nicks’ dramatics with his evocative rendition of “I’m So Afraid.” He thrashed and smacked his guitar strings like a man gone mad, creeping across the stage with a slow skip.

“Stand Back” and “Go Your Own Way” livened up the audience after Nicks and Buckingham’s bizarre performances. “World Turning” included an appropriately over-the-top solo from Fleetwood, with him screaming “Are you still with me?” in between his flurried drum rolls.

The band left the stage, only to return with a rousing performance of “Don’t Stop.” Brett Tuggle’s piano solo stole the show. The band left and returned to the stage once more for a poignant performance of “Silver Spring.”

As the band bid the audience farewell one last time, Nicks showed her gratitude for their fans, dubbing them “the dream catchers.”

“This whole thing is all your fault. You did it,” Nicks said as she thanked the crowd for their support over the years.

Fleetwood, donning a red top hat, red shoes, and knickers, gleefully trotted to the microphone to also show his graciousness.

“We are glad to be back doing what we love to do,” he said.

And with a tip of his hat, the ringleader exclaimed a prophetic message.

“Remember…the Mac is back!”

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