Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oakland Review: Fleetwood Mac at the Oracle Arena

Delving into the convoluted history of Fleetwood Mac is tantamount to stepping in a cow pile for the casual fan (and here I shall raise my hand), so let's sidestep cries of "heresy!" and stick to what went down at the Oracle last night.

When you've got a catalogue of hits like Fleetwood Mac, the quality of the show leans heavily on whether or not the band is in top form. And on this night, for most of the 20-song set, the band was tight and the vocals crisp. Father Time may have stiffened the bones of John McVie and Stevie Nicks (who headed backstage for a break and shawl swap after almost every song), but Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham had obviously been eating their spinach - these two gentlemen of Pop had far more fun than anyone in the audience. Which is no easy feat considering the crowd was on its feet for more than half of the show, tears of nostalgia wetting many an eye.

The addition of three back-up singers, a guitarist and keyboardist (who also sang harmonies) contributed to the lush sound that is the hallmark of many a Fleetwood Mac recording.

Both Nicks and Buckingham commented on how thrilled they were to be back in the Bay, where their former band Fritz opened for acts like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. San Francisco is the "velvet underground" mentioned in "Gypsy," added Nicks before launching into the song.

Fan favorites "Go Your Own Way," "Landslide," "Dreams," "Say You Love Me" and "Rhiannon" made appearances, as did "Storms," which Nicks said had never been performed onstage outside the current tour.

Add dueling guitar leads between veteran guitarist Neale Heywood and Buckingham and an over-the-top drum solo from Fleetwood and you've got a show that will be bragged about having been at for quite some time.

- Janine Kahn, SF Blogs

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