5 ways Fleetwood Mac gave Indianapolis a career overview plus a bit of Tom Petty closure
by Robert Scheer/IndyStar
by Robert Scheer/IndyStar
Fleetwood Mac was a blues-rock act of some renown before Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band in 1974.
Featuring vocalist-guitarist Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac crafted "Black Magic Woman" (later a signature hit for Santana) and "Oh Well" (a scorched-earth jam Tom Petty frequently covered).
The band played "Black Magic Woman," "Oh Well" and a wealth of hits from the Buckingham-Nicks era Tuesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, giving a packed house the long view of Fleetwood Mac's 51-year career.
Green left the lineup in 1970 and vocalist-guitarist Buckingham was disinvited to participate in Fleetwood Mac activities six months before the current tour launched two weeks ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Buckingham absence is awkward at best (he sued the band for $12 million), but the rock 'n' roll professionals of Fleetwood Mac aren't limping toward the finish line — or bank — without him. The group reloaded with vocalist Neil Finn (of Crowded House) and guitarist Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).
If listeners are willing to buy into the idea of the Fleetwood Mac brand being bigger than any one member, the new-look lineup is a formidable crew that masters the spectrum from Christine McVie's delicate pop to the darkened-corner raunch Green left behind.
(History shows Fleetwood Mac has soldiered on after Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie dropped out at various times. Campbell told Tuesday's audience Fleetwood Mac would cease to exist, however, without drummer Mick Fleetwood).
Check out five ways Fleetwood Mac framed its performance as a career overview and also gave Indianapolis a measure of closure following Petty's 2017 death:
1. This feels familiar
The band signaled its "all for one" approach during opening number "The Chain," when a large video screen was divided into six equal parts showing Nicks, Fleetwood, Finn, Campbell, Christine McVie and bass player John McVie. The song's middle section featured a spotlight on Fleetwood and John McVie, a bit of "fan service" in the tradition of modern "Star Wars" films that give viewers familiar and comforting scenes. The band is named for Fleetwood and McVie, who have played music together since a stint in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in 1967.
Finn's voice rang true as a substitute for Buckingham's on "The Chain," while Campbell's first guitar solo of the night was relatively subdued. "The Chain" stands as an archetype of Buckingham's dual-threat abilities.
Later, Christine McVie's vocals on "You Make Loving Fun" represented a '70s FM radio flashback with Campbell sailing a melodic single-line solo high above the fray. And countless smartphones sprang into action to document "Rhiannon" — a Nicks highlight accented by Fleetwood's earthy percussion at the song's conclusion.
2. Last dance with TP
It’s difficult to overstate the presence of Tom Petty in Tuesday’s show. Indianapolis music fans, who somehow never completely warmed to Bruce Springsteen and have grown fickle even toward Hoosier Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp, absolutely loved Petty.
“We have an Indiana crowd on an Indiana night,” Campbell said Tuesday to thunderous cheers. He took vocal duties on “Oh Well,” and Nicks — who collaborated with Petty on the songs “Stop Draggin' My Heart Around,” “Insider,” "I Will Run to You" and a cover of Jackie DeShannon's “Needles and Pins” — sang a rendition of “Free Fallin’ ” to begin the show’s encore.
Although it would be easy to pick a more imaginative and/or rewarding song for this tribute, the series of photos featuring Petty, Nicks and Campbell on the video screen added up to an emotional wallop.
3. ‘Songbird’ Christine
Introduced by Fleetwood as the band's "songbird," Christine McVie aced a rendition of "Everywhere." The 1987 song is an example of her breezy, bittersweet sensibility that thrived without conforming to pop trends. She paid tribute to late Fleetwood Mac member Danny Kirwan with his "Tell Me All the Things You Do," a 1970 tie-dye jam that found Campbell dueling with Christine's keyboard to great roadhouse effect.
4. ‘Eternal romantic’ Nicks
Introduced by Fleetwood as the band's "eternal romantic," Nicks brought down the house with "Gold Dust Woman." With a giant voice casting its spell, this was Nicks mythology in the flesh. "Black Magic Woman," meanwhile, may be the great missed opportunity across decades of Fleetwood Mac performances. Admitting she previously assumed Carlos Santana wrote the song, Nicks then inhabited "Black Magic Woman" with the gusto she brings to witchy roles in TV shows created by Indianapolis native Ryan Murphy.
5. The ‘new guys’
Here's where we tackle the "How do they sound without Buckingham?" question. On guitar, Campbell vs. Buckingham is a matter of personal preference. Campbell gravitates to a muscular, more conventional rock style when compared to Buckingham's acoustic-meets-electric tone. Either way, Campbell's performance on "Go Your Own Way" in Indianapolis was one for the ages. Finn's vocals may be a bigger challenge for Buckingham loyalists to accept. He can't summon years of love/hate chemistry with Nicks because it didn't happen. To his credit, Finn attacked "Second Hand News" with rapid skiffle pacing, and his Down Under roots elevated "World Turning" into an Outback hootenanny.
Videos at the link below
Side Note: Hypnotized and Storms were dropped from the set with no replacement.