Showing posts with label Fleetwood Mac Unleashed Tour Review - St. Louis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fleetwood Mac Unleashed Tour Review - St. Louis. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac - St. Louis May 5, 2009

By Kevin C. Johnson

No, those weren’t dinosaurs unleashed on downtown St. Louis Tuesday night. It was the classic band Fleetwood Mac, here for the local leg of its "Unleashed" tour at the Scottrade Center.

More than 10,000 fans came out to see the band, perhaps lured by the fact there’s no new album to promote.

That meant there was no lumbering through unfamiliar material. Instead, the two-hour-plus show was full of the songs that just about every fan could want, from "Go Your Own Way," still a rabble-rousing crowd pleaser, to the perfectly percussive "Tusk" and the melodic "Say That You Love Me."

"We’re just doing the songs we love," Lindsey Buckingham told the crowd, explaining how the tour was about getting back together just to have fun.

Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (Christine McVie remains long gone) came out the box sounding a little creaky at the top of the show with "Monday Morning," but took no time to shake off the cobwebs and get down to business with necessary nuggets such as "The Chain," "Gypsy," and "Rhiannon."

"We’re thrilled to be here tonight and think we should get this party started," Nicks said before "Dreams."

Several songs were introduced with stories by Nicks or Buckingham, which surely weren’t new stories but served to put them in perspective.

Nicks said "Gypsy" was written as an homage to the mid-to-late ’60s music scene in San Francisco that helped spawn them. Buckingham offered that "Second Hand News" was the first song recorded for the landmark "Rumours" album (reissued in special form for this tour), and that it’s a sad song with humor and optimism.

Fleetwood and McVie had vibrant showmanship, but the night belonged to Buckingham and Nicks. Each had memorable showcases, including Buckingham’s field day on "Tusk," "Big Love" and "Oh Well." His guitar playing remains a marvelous thing.

And then there’s Nicks, her witchy outfits flowing, doing "Gold Dust Woman" and "Stand Back" as only she can.

Stand back, indeed.

photos by Sarah Conard

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Live in St. Louis "Time cast its spell on you, but you won't forget me"

Fleetwood Mac at the Scottrade Center, May 5
By Christian Schaeffer

Fleetwood Mac ended its concert Tuesday night with "Silver Springs," a Rumours-era b-side that has become a fan favorite. In the song's chorus, Stevie Nicks unloads what may be her best lyrical quatrain:

"Time cast its spell on you, but you won't forget me
I know I could have loved you but you would not let me
I'll follow you down til the sound of my voice will haunt you
You'll never get away from the sound of a woman that loves you."

Now, it's easy to look at Fleetwood Mac songs through the prism of the complicated interpersonal relationships that the band mates shared through the years: she has to be singing about singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, doesn't she? And while this interpretation is probably correct, at last night's show it seemed that Nicks was not just singing to her ex-lover, but to an arena full of her fans as well. Despite long absences from the road, we'll never get away from Fleetwood Mac, from these alternately mystical and punchy songs of love gone wrong and the perseverance it takes to muddle through it.

Fleetwood Mac made a pretty good case for its continued longevity during its 23-song set at the Scottrade Center. Now touring without longtime keyboardist and songwriter Christine McVie, the band of four -- Nicks, Buckingham, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood -- presented its "Hits Unleashed" tour as a chance to run through the group's many hits and some of its lesser-known album cuts. And while it's likely that the inclusion of these deep cuts (including several gems from 1979 double-album Tusk) were stand-ins for Christine McVie's missing contributions, I was surprised at how little her songs were missed from the overall set.

From the rollicking opening of the set-starting "Monday Morning," it became clear that the night would belong to Buckingham, who's boundless energy, high-watt guitar solos and undiminished voice served as benchmarks for the concert. His command of the microphone and his guitar continued with "The Chain," with its foot-stomping chorus reverberating through the crowded arena. If Buckingham didn't throw his whole heart into these performances, the success of the show would be almost unthinkable.

The magic of Fleetwood Mac has always centered on the interplay between Buckingham and Nicks -- not just their storied romantic past but in their differing on-stage personalities and styles of composition. Last night, Nicks remained slightly aloof and didn't work as hard to engage the crowd as her counterpart, but her turns on lead vocals retained the smoky, sensual qualities that helped make her an icon. She no longer even bothers reaching for the high notes, which is a wise move: on songs like "Dreams" and "Sara," she modulated to a lower octave and the trio of female back-up singers filled in the gaps.

While her voice is still magnetic, Nicks' stage presence toed the line between sexy and ridiculous. She changed outfits at least five times, swapping out one sequined, flowing dress for another, and her gauzy, back-lit shimmies and shakes were a long way from her "Dance of the Seven Veils" routine from the '70s.

The set list was tailored to deliver the hits while sneaking in a few deep cuts as well; by and large, this was a success. Buckingham tore through Tusk's "I Know I'm Not Wrong" with jangly aplomb, and the moody "Storms" (which made its live debut this tour) was given an acoustic overhaul.

The band even pointed back to its roots as a blues-rock band, playing the Peter Green-penned "Oh Well" in all its Led Zepplin-aping glory. And while no one onstage mentioned the absence of Christine McVie, they did a lovely version of her best song, "Say You Love Me," with Nicks and Buckingham trading vocals. Both Nicks and Buckingham had a chance to play some of their solo work: Lindsay played "Go Insane" early in the set, and Stevie got the crowd dancing to "Stand Back," which set the stage for the set-closing "Go Your Own Way," the only true on-your-feet moment of the show.

In the end, it's hard to know what to say about a show like this, other than Fleetwood Mac delivered exactly what they promised and exactly what could reasonably be expected from them 35 years after its hey-day. The songs still sound good, and so do the musicians playing them.

Reporter's Notebook:

-The band took the stage to the sound of croaking tree-frogs (perhaps taking a cue from Neko Case's album-ending track?) and took their positions in near-darkness. It was a little anti-climactic.

-The merch-sellers were offering Fleetwood Mac tambourines, which is the worst fucking idea ever in the history of merch sales. A woman about 100 feet in front of me kept shaking hers throughout the show. I normally don't think murder is ever justified, but last night I may have shifted my position.

-Mick Fleetwood was dressed in a black vest, white shirt, tailor pants, black stockings and red felt shoes, making him look like an overgrown English school boy. And he had his famous dangling gold balls around his waist, just like the cover to Rumours.

-Stevie Nicks decided that a top hat was appropriate headgear for the set-closing "Go Your Own Way." Who's gonna argue with her logic?

-Lindsey and Stevie paired off for two acoustic songs, "Landslide" and "Never Going Back Again."

-Stevie appears to have reworked the lyrics to her classic "Rhiannon." Not sure if this is a new development or not.

Set List:
1. "Monday Morning"
2. "The Chain"
3. "Dreams"
4. "I Know I'm Not Wrong"
5. "Gypsy"
6. "Go Insane"
7. "Rhiannon"
8. "Second Hand News"
9. "Tusk"
10. "Sara"
11. "Big Love" (Lindsey Buckingham solo)
12. "Landslide" (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham)
13. "Never Going Back Again" (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham)
14. "Storms"
15. "Say You Love Me"
16. "Gold Dust Woman"
17. "Oh Well"
18. "I'm So Afraid"
19. "Stand Back"
20. "Go Your Own Way"
Encore #1
21. "World Turning"
22. "Don't Stop"
Encore #2
23. "Silver Springs"

REVEIW: Fleetwood Mac Live in St. Louis May 5, 2009

Fleetwood Mac hit show hits all the right notes

By Scott Kiefer - For BND

Fleetwood Mac's show Tuesday night at Scottrade Center in St. Louis was billed as "Fleetwood Mac: The Unleashed Tour 2009 - The Hits.” That’s exactly what it was.

At first, it was exciting when the band hit the stage with “Monday Morning,” followed by “Chains” and “Dreams.” Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks took turns introducing most of the songs after that, and it wasn’t clear how that format was going to work — because as their music doesn’t really need to be introduced.

However, that format it added to the atmosphere of the evening, and proved to be very informative, if not inspiring and surprising. The introductions from the duo shed a new light on what some of their songs meant, or refreshed a memory or two and added to the nostalgia of the evening.

It was very hard to ignore the special magic that still exists between Nicks and Buckingham — it was as evident as daylight. With a storied past such as theirs, it was only understandable how the duo, along with founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, have to seriously contemplate if, when and how the group can come together for another tour.

Nicks herself told me in an interview last year that it’s not an easy undertaking.

“We have four different, creative personalities and talents,” Nicks said, “along with four strong passions. When you collectively put all those things together you’re asking for the most wonderful and yet a most emotional experience of your life.

"It’s like a marriage that has it’s extreme ups and downs. We’re all a little older and more settled now, so we’ll see what that brings.”

What it brings together is a family that, through it all, relies on each other and feeds off of each other to make things work. That said, it was a little sad not to see Christine McVie on this tour, but it was no surprise that she would be absent.

With a longtime reluctancy to tour, Nicks announced last year that Christine would not be joining her cohorts onstage for this tour. In fact, she has not performed publicly with the group since The Dance tour in 1997.

But Nicks and Buckingham did quite well on her featured hit as part of the group, “Say That You Love Me.” Other than the obvious hits the highlight of the evening would have to be “Storms”and the second encore of “Silver Springs.”

Buckingham alluded to a possible new album from the group, but we’ll see. In the meantime, this was a perfect reminder of the band's impact and hold on us.