Concert: Fleetwood Mac in Uncasville, CT
After enjoying modest success as a hard rocking blues band throughout the late 1960s and early '70s, Fleetwood Mac catapulted its presence to the center of the rock-and-roll radar screen in 1975, after acquiring the talents of a pair of musical star-crossed lovers -- Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
Thirty-eight years and several personnel changes later, Fleetwood Mac is on the road again, headlining a world tour that will see them playing shows through October.
While the rhythm section of band co-founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie continues to anchor the band's material -- including a brand new song -- the talents of Buckingham and Nicks were a driving force behind the band's satisfying two-and-a-half hour show Saturday (5/20) at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Arena.
Opening with the upbeat "Second Hand News," Fleetwood Mac wove its way through a hit-laden set of material, inserting a few lesser-known cuts and reworking several others enough to keep things interesting, but not so much as to frustrate the fans.
Since the current tour is celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the monster selling album "Rumors," nearly a third of the songs played were drawn from that seminal project. "The Chain," "Dreams," and "Don't Stop," were delivered virtually note for note from the album.
But other cuts like "Gold Dust Woman," with its extended frenetic jam, the sprightly acoustic "Never Going Back Again," and explosive "Go Your Own Way," seemed to be infused with renewed energy that fired up both the band and audience.
A new song that Buckingham teased would be on a soon-to-be-released EP was well received. The medium-tempo "Sad Angel" showcased some great tight harmonies between Nicks and Buckingham, while a tune that is new to the band's live repertoire, "Eyes of the World" was amped up by Fleetwood's thundering drum rolls.
The show also featured "Without You," a long lost ballad that Nicks said was recently rediscovered. She explained that it was not only the song that convinced Mick Fleetwood to ask the duo to join the band, but also represented the epitome of love songs generated between herself and Buckingham when they were young lovers making their way into the music business in 1970.
"Rhiannon," "Sisters of the Moon," "Sara" and "Gypsy" provided additional opportunities for Nicks to do what she does best, delving into the character of each subject and articulating the material as though it was being sung from a first-person perspective. Her vocals on "Landslide" were almost overpowered by the audience singing along, but instead of tolerating it, Nicks embraced the accompaniment graciously thanking the fans and complimenting them for their enthusiasm.
Despite Nicks' costume changes and occasional break away spin dancing, Buckingham consistently remained centerpiece of the show, switching between acoustic and electric guitars and mesmerizing with blistering leads and staccato rhythm playing.
His solo take on "Big Love," was unmatched, as a huge banner unfurled behind him serving as a giant vertical projection screen and amplifying his slight frame to three story high proportions. Buckingham also approached "Tusk" differently, taking a couple of verses in slow, free form before the familiar drumbeat and blaring horn samples kicked in.
The Nicks solo hit "Stand Back" represented the band's single departure from the Fleetwood Mac catalog, but it seemed to get the entire band rejuvenated, including bassist McVie, who up until that point, remained glued to the right of Fleetwood's drum kit. The chugging bass line saw McVie moving back and forth to the beat, apparently enjoying the novelty groove.
The first encore provided a chance for Fleetwood to take an extended drum solo, which proved he still has the stamina to churn an audience into a primal frenzy. The second encore brought the energy level back down as the band closed out the show with the sweet strains of "Silver Springs" -- a number that was intended for inclusion on "Rumors," but originally saw the light of day as the flip side to the "Don't Stop" single.
With all of the choices available to music fans and concertgoers this spring and summer, it might be easy to relegate Fleetwood Mac to the "been there, seen that" category. But based on the sheer quality of the band's performance during stop nine of this extended tour, and the quantity of hits they are stacking into the setlist, the current Fleetwood Mac tour should be prioritized as a "must see."
23 - Ottawa, Ontario - Scotiabank Place
24 - Newark, NJ - Prudential Center
26 - Pittsburgh, PA - CONSOL Energy Center
28 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Center
30 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
1 - Tulsa, OK - BOK Center
3 - Little Rock, AR - Verizon Arena
12 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - MTS Centre
14 - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Credit Union Centre
15 - Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place
17 - Calgary, Alberta - Scotiabank Saddledome
19 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Rogers Arena
20 - Tacoma, WA - Tacoma Dome
22 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion at San Jose
25 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
26 - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Arena
28 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
30 - Phoenix, AZ - US Airways Center
1 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
4 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
5 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
7 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Times Forum
8 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - BB&T Center
10 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Arena
12 - Detroit, MI - Joe Louis Arena
14 - Chicago, IL - Allstate Arena
15 - Cleveland, OH - Quicken Loans Arena
18 - Montreal, Quebec - Bell Center
19 - Albany, NY - Times Union Center Arena
21 - Boston, MA - Comcast Center
22 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre
24 - Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Arena
26 - Des Moines, IA - Wells Fargo Center
29 - Spokane, WA - Spokane Arena
30 - Portland, OR - Rose Garden Arena
3 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
5 - San Diego, CA - Viejas Arena
6 - Sacramento, CA - Sleep Train Arena