Showing posts with label 11-14-18: Fleetwood Mac Vancouver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 11-14-18: Fleetwood Mac Vancouver. Show all posts

Sunday, November 18, 2018

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac brings a different kind of drama to Rogers Arena in Vancouver

A revved up, magical, and vital Fleetwood Mac brings a different kind of drama to Rogers Arena in Vancouver
by Janet Smith
Photo: Rogers Arena

Rogers Arena on Wednesday, November 14th.

Drama has always been a part of Fleetwood Mac's mystique—from the romantic rifts that fueled Rumours right up until this year, when long-time singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham departed the band with the usual acrimony before its tour. Was he kicked out, or did he leave voluntarily in a huff? That's bound to be cleared up by the ongoing lawsuit.

But the epic Vancouver tour stop here last night at Rogers Arena was all about the love and good vibes. From the opening kick-drum tick of “The Chain”, it was clear the band was eager to go their own way without Buckingham, adding Crowded House frontman Neil Finn and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell to the mix. And the crowd—a wild mix of ages, from kids in Rumours T-shirts to moms in their best feathered top hats to old dudes with canes—went gamely along for the ride.

Everyone on-stage was having a complete ball, gleeful drummer Mick Fleetwood smashing away like Animal without the aggro, the hulking timekeeper shown in closeup-cam via projections from multiple angles. As he tore through an insanely extended drum solo in “World Turning”, he repeatedly asked, “Are you ready to release the hounds?” Met with the crowd's screaming “Yes!”, Fleetwood then proceeded to do so on his kit.

It was easy to forget that the hyperenergized 71-year-old helped found the band no less than 50 years ago—as in five freaking decades. At the end of the concert, long after the ovations for fittingly upbeat show closer “Don’t Stop” had died down, Fleetwood took the stage in his jaunty black knickers, red shoes, and scarlet top hat to plead with the crowd heading up the aisles of Rogers Arena to simply "be kind” to one another.

Fleetwood’s manic energy was matched by Stevie Nicks’s Gypsy splendour, the songstress fondling the streamers hanging off her microphone and tambourine as she sang, and wrapping herself in a glimmering gold shawl for showstopper "Gold Dust Woman". Spinning magically in her full black skirt and black-suede platform boots, she looked preternaturally young.

For his part, though he didn’t bring the loaded history Buckingham would have had with the others on-stage, Finn managed a nice balance of achieving the Mac-veteran’s tone while somehow still making the songs his own. He also treated fans who lived through the '80s to his own acoustic Crowded House ballad “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, in a transcendent duet with Nicks—another of the show’s feel-good moments.

Campbell, meanwhile, brought the necessary chops to the guitar work, not to mention gravitas to the encore’s "Free Fallin’", sung by an emotion-drenched Nicks and set against projections of the late Tom Petty.

For die-hard fans, the band dug deep into its vaults, back into the bluesy '60s under original frontman Peter Green. Christine McVie—back in the fold after a 15-year hiatus from the group—held her own on the keyboards, and gave most of the room a new appreciation for the '80s radio hit “Little Lies”.

The biggest highlight of a show that didn't lack them came midway through, and we don’t have to tell you which song it was. Nicks was as bewitching as ever in “Rhiannon”, spreading her black shawl like wings and throwing a spell over the packed arena.

In the process, she brought something magnetically older and wiser to the catharsis that's long been part of Fleetwood Mac's storied run. So, yeah, maybe there was drama after all.


REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Vancouver November 14, 2018

Fleetwood Mac sprinkles gold dust on a Vancouver evening
Photos by Ryan Johnson
Vancouver Weekly

Fleetwood Mac at Rogers Arena, 11/14/18

After canceling their Alberta shows due to a voice-related illness concerning Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac landed at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena Wednesday night (Nov. 14) with a hit-packed setlist.

Right off the bat, the band opened with one of their greatest songs, “The Chain.” A song that would sum up the drama of the group’s early days, and set the tone for many, many more years of conflict, heartbreak and forgiveness.

Nicks was, in a word, enchanting. But even though she was no-doubt the most popular of the group, each member of the band got to shine in the spotlight.

The biggest news of this tour was that usual singer-songwriter and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham wouldn’t be joining the rest of the band. This is just another chapter in the long-running, career-defining drama-fest that is Fleetwood Mac. But honestly, Buckingham wasn’t missed. Instead of replacing him with session musicians and having the remaining key members of the band get all the attention, the group opted for Crowded House frontman Neil Fynn and, of course, iconic guitarist and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers member Mike Campbell.

What a pleasure to once again see Campbell on stage. After the passing of Tom Petty last year, it was uncertain when the Heartbreakers guitar legend would shred it in front of a stadium-sized live audience again. The additions of Fynn and Campbell set the tone for ‘An Evening with Fleetwood Mac’—projecting themes of friendship, nostalgia and mastery.

Mick Fleetwood was as energetic, crazy and loud as ever, toying with the audience and bouncing around in his red shoes. Nicks had obviously recovered from her voice issues, because that voice was in fine, pristine form all throughout fan favourites “Rhiannon,” “Landslide,” “Gypsy,” and many, many more. Her biggest performance of the evening would come with “Gold Dust Woman”—for which she donned a glittering gold shawl and contorted, danced and flailed around the stage in true witchy form.

Refreshingly, Fleetwood Mac went back to the original days of the band—before Buckingham and Nicks joined—to offer up some 1960s blues courtesy of original frontman Peter Green. The audience ate it all up happily.

After a 15-year hiatus from Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie was back on vocals and the keyboards. While it was beautiful to see her, and to hear McVie classic like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Everywhere” sung by the original voice, that voice has not quite held up. Not that that isn’t to be expected after so long away from the grind of band life.

Meanwhile, Fynn’s voice more than suited classic Buckingham-centered pieces like “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop.” If audience members were uncertain of who he was, they sure as hell figured it out when he dove into an acoustic version of his mega 80s hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Nicks eventually joined him, and it was one of the most special moments of the evening.

The first song of the encore was, fittingly, Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” Nicks sang the iconic song as a photo montage of Petty rolled on the big screen. Many of those photos included Campbell and Nicks at various stages of their lives. Nicks’ powerful friendship with Petty—both collaborative and personal—has been one of the most defining relationships of her career. It was extra special to see Campbell—Petty’s right-hand stage mate for so many years—playing along old friend Nicks. In a way, this homage to a classic rock n’ roll figure was one of the more impactful ones seen at Rogers Arena in recent years. There were more than a few tears, and Nicks certainly shed some.

It is lovely to see that Fleetwood Mac is by no means passé. Nicks has certainly entered a point in her career where she is revered by all ages and is very much still in fashion. In fact, just last year she performed a duet with Lana Del Rey for “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” (on Rey’s Lust for Life album), blowing the minds of millions of ‘good witch’ super-fans all over the world

Wednesday night proved that some bands and some songs just simply last.