Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Rochester Review: Fleetwood Mac sticks to basics

Concert: Standard legacy rock act, Fleetwood Mac.

When and where? Monday night, Blue Cross Arena.

Attendance: About 8,000. Just a few hundred seats empty at the back of the building.

What was the band wearing? Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie sported white shirts, black vests and motorcar caps, like a couple of chaps out for a spin in the English countryside. Fleetwood was also wearing knickers. Guitarist/singer Lindsay Buckingham chose a black leather jacket. Singer Stevie Nicks opted for several outfits, opening with a basic-black Wiccan gown with bat wings, later a wine-colored, sequined Victorian wing-backed chair cover.

What was Christine McVie wearing? Probably flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers, the standard uniform for a night in front of the telly. She hasn't toured with the band for almost two decades. Three back-up singers filled her backing-vocal parts (and ably supported the husky-voice pixie, Nicks).

Did they play their hit songs? Opened with "Monday Morning." "The Chain," "Rhiannon," "Second-Hand News," "Stand Back," "Say You Love Me," "Go Your Own Way," "Don't Stop." You could have gotten many of them on the CD for $18.99. My ticket cost $149.50 (plus service charge of $11.35).

Any insights into interior design of the rock stars? Nicks says her bed is still on the floor, just like the line says in "Gypsy."

Did they play any Dixie Chicks songs? Sure, "Landslide."

That's actually a Mac song from 1975. Any new numbers? "Go Insane." That was a Buckingham solo hit in 1984, wasn't it?

C'mon, it wasn't that stale, was it? Not at all. Midway through the show, Buckingham seemed to lift it to a new level. He's clearly the one most interested in steering away from nostalgia, although he did sneak a few chunks of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" in there. The night became a showcase for him as a guitar player. The guy can really, really play. He turned "Big Love" into a raging animal, yelping with glee. Nicks was the comfort food; the crowd loves her and Fleetwood, who's about eight feet tall.

Any marching bands? No. "Tusk" was an early highlight, reworked amazingly, with Buckingham spookily reciting the opening lines to minor-key accompaniment, laughing with evil intentions, then the whole thing taking off into some kind of a Highland stomp.

Did the audience wish it was 1975 again? Oh yeah. Everyone cheered when Nicks came out on Buckingham's arm, and when he nuzzled her shoulder like a puppy at the end of "Sara." But their romance ended decades ago, they've moved on, they have lives now beyond the circus that was Fleetwood Mac. Early in the show, Buckingham told the crowd that Fleetwood Mac had once enjoyed a "complex, convoluted emotional history." Everyone seems to have survived.

Did you like the show? Yeah. Buckingham stole it.

Make deadline? Yeah.

By Jeff Specak, Democrat & Chronicle

1 comment:

  1. This is the one I saw. Wish I could find mp3s of it and also see them again this year across the lake.