Friday, January 23, 2015

Fleetwood Mac Wows 'Em at Madison Square Garden

Incredible seeing the reunited classic Fleetwood Mac lineup last night at Madison Square Garden, where the band put on a nearly three-hour show of nothing but their classic catalogue. I'd seen them without Christine McVie back in 2003 or so, but her absence was sorely missed, as her brand of mainstream pop is the perfect balance to the more self-indulgent work of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The setlist (below) pretty much says it all -- there was absolutely no subjecting the loyalists to new material -- with perhaps the only surprise being that they played heavily off the line-up's 1975 self-titled debut. Nine out of 11 songs off "Rumours" were performed, each reminding us how much that album has been the soundtrack to a certain demographic's life. (When Lindsey and Stevie squared off during "Go Your Own Way," I turned to my date and said, "Mom and Dad are back together!") "Tango in the Night" is my least favorite album of theirs, yet "Little Lies" stood out as one of the evening's highlights because of the way it utilizes the strengths of the three vocalists. Christine was demure and sweet and had a real "Aww, shucks" attitude about being welcomed back into the fold, while Stevie kept the crowd enchanted from beginning to end, telling stories about the early days of meeting Lindsey and opening for the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Credence Clearwater Rival. (Her "Gypsy" story is classic.) While there are other female vocalists I may "adore" more, there's no denying Stevie has a hold on me like no one else. A simple head turn, hand raise or spin can send me into full fan-boy mode in a way that not even Debbie Harry or Chrissie Hynde's best moments can. She may seem flaky, but she's entirely genuine, like the kooky aunt you love more than any other. With any band with as much material as Fleetwood Mac, of course there would be quibbles about the setlist. But they were few and far between. I enjoyed the three-song "Tusk" arc, although given my druthers I'd have taken "Angel" over "Sisters of the Moon." And as mentioned, playing six of the 11 songs of the '75 album was a surprise, although I'd have opted for "Monday Morning" (a personal fave) or "Crystal" over "I'm So Afraid" and "World Turning." (Or why not let Christine coo how she needs a "Sugar Daddy"?) Hearing any of those album tracks, though, was a real treat. My only real issue was their excluding "Sara" from the lineup, which they seem to have done at other shows. (Yes, I peaked.) Not sure why they did this -- when pressed, I cite "Sara" as my favorite Mac song -- but with "Landslide" and "Silver Springs" on the roster, it made forgiveness easier to manage. (Oddly, they also didn't do "Hold Me," which is one of their biggest chart singles.) A recent interview with Lindsey made it seem like this was definitely the band's last hurrah, but from the looks -- and sound -- of things, it seems hard to believe they will hang it up anytime soon. A long-overdue sixth album has been discussed too, and based on last night's show, that's a concert promoting new material I'd definitely be up for.

My rating: Go if you can -- they're not getting any younger!

Madison Square Garden
Jan. 22, 2015

The Chain
 You Make Loving Fun
 Second Hand News
 I Know I'm Not Wrong
 Sisters of the Moon
 Say You Love Me
 Seven Wonders
 Big Love
 Never Going Back Again
 Over My Head
 Little Lies
 Gold Dust Woman
 I'm So Afraid
 Go Your Own Way

Encore 1:
World Turning
Don't Stop
Silver Springs

Encore 2:


Blobby said...

Actually, 'Sara' hasn't been played on this tour - nor has the set-list deviated from any of the 40+ shows, which has always been an issue for me. Since after 'Tusk' tour, they don't fuck with the set-list from show to show.

But not wanting "I'm So Afraid"? Buckingham's guitar work has always made me sit up and smile.

Austin said...

Excellent recap and review Kenneth! I hope I get a chance to see them on the west coast. They were in Los Angeles in December, but I was on the east coast at that time.

I love "Sara" too and sorry it wasn't performed during your concert experience.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Blobby: Thanks for pointing this out. I SWEAR I had looked at a recent setlist, but looking again I'm confident it was from 2013. I feel much better knowing we hadn't been singled out!