There is no false pretense to the current Fleetwood Mac reunion tour. With no new album to push, it is a pure nostalgia play, a look back and the band's considerable height of popularity in the 1970s and '80s. At Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville Saturday night, the group focused on precisely that, a parade of hits that retained their accessible appeals even when the people forging them showed signs of wear.
With four of the five members from its commercial heyday on hand, the act leaned heavily on the familiar from the outset, opening with the contoured pop rock of "Monday Morning" as a showcase for guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who recalled the greatest part of his past appeals when barking lyrics. He was the sharpest part of the vocal harmony as he joined with vocalist Stevie Nicks for "The Chain," which John McVie's plump bass line pushed toward its familiar driving finish.
Always a somewhat unconventional vocalist, Nicks retained some of the ragged sweetness that was her hallmark, but made her offerings with limited intonation that stiffened the otherwise fluid pulse of "Dreams." The musical backdrops over which she hovered were sturdy and smooth, strong enough to cover for her flattening the lyrics of "Gypsy" and a brittle reading of the otherwise supple "Rhiannon."
Drummer (and lone original from the band's initial 1967 incarnation) Mick Fleetwood manufactured robust pacing for the likes of the rattling "Second Hand News" and the bounding "Tusk," the latter of which saw its marching band passages replicated by keyboard player Brett Tuggle, one of two support musicians who, along with three vocalists, filled out the show's arrangements.
Alongside such familiar fare as a Nicks/Buckingham acoustic duet on "Landslide" and a jaunt across "Say You Love Me," the show also ranged a bit off the beaten path, forgoing bigger hits (including some sung by the now-retired Christine McVie) for the likes of the flowing ballad "Storms" and the rumbling, propulsive 1969 number "Oh Well." Buckingham and Nicks also dipped into one solo catalog tune apiece; he strummed hard on an acoustic guitar for "Go Insane," while Nicks yelped at the synthesizer backbone of "Stand Back."
Most of the big spotlight moments came from Buckingham, who extended "I'm so Afraid" with an indulgent electric guitar solo, and turned the set closer "Go Your Own Way" into a finale that amounted to little more than everyone else in the band watching him work out. After an initial encore that included a full-bore trip through "Don't Stop," the group returned a second time, stretching its show to two hours and twenty minutes with "Silver Springs," an outtake from its 1977 album "Rumours." The show featured seven other tunes from that popular album, and not a one from the most recent Fleetwood Mac disc in 2003, a tally certainly in keeping with the show's greatest hits theme.
By Thomas Kintner
The Hartford Courant