Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two Boston Reviews

Fleetwood Mac Don't Stop Delivering
By Lauren Carter
The Boston Herald

It’s official: Fleetwood Mac hasn’t lost a step.

They may be aging rock stars on the back end of massive stardom and near-meltdowns, but apparently they’re no worse for the wear.

Five years since their last tour, sans keyboardist and singer/songwriter Christine McVie, the Mac remains a well-oiled machine that need only be kicked into gear when the timing is right.

Wednesday night at a nearly sold-out TD Banknorth Garden the famous foursome rocked as though they’re not technically hovering near senior citizenship.

John McVie was the silent, sturdy anchor of the rhythm section, tugging at his bass with businesslike precision.

Counterpart Mick Fleetwood was, as usual, giddy and borderline crazed with joy to smash away at a drum set and serve as the band’s pulse.

At 59, Lindsey Buckingham continues to play with the inspired, tortured fervor of a guitarist with much more to prove and much less in his bank account.

Whether plucking away solo on the acoustic monster “Big Love,” playing backup to Stevie Nicks on the always poignant “Landslide” or letting loose like a man possessed on “I’m So Afraid,” Buckingham’s guitar work remains an undeniable star of the Mac spectacle.

A radiant Nicks reprised her role of dreamy enchantress on “Gypsy,” a beautiful “Sara” and “Storms,” the “Tusk” gem that is seeing the light of performance for the first time on this greatest hits tour.

Nicks’ voice has deepened, but its emotive quality is still intact, and she accessorized the Mac’s music with her typical array of add-ons - layers of lace and chiffon, a top hat during “Go Your Own Way,” swats at the tambourine, wry smiles, her signature sways and spins, wardrobe changes while Buckingham went to work on the guitar, and - occasionally - shared glances with Buckingham that probably did as much for the crowd as the music itself.

At two-plus hours and 23 songs, the set allowed latitude for the band to delve into their greatest hits and beyond, including “The Chain,” the shadowy “Gold Dust Woman” and “Say You Love Me” as well as “Don’t Stop,” Nicks’ synth-rock hit “Stand Back” and the one-time “Rumours” B-side “Silver Springs” during the second encore.

The extra dimension that Christine McVie adds to the band’s harmonies - as well as their musical selections - was clearly missed, but her absence let the focus alternate between Nicks and Buckingham.

Golden dreams with Fleetwood Mac

By James Reed
The Boston Globe

With no new album to plug, Fleetwood Mac is on the road again for the best and right reason: to have fun with the band's 40-year catalog.

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham admitted as much last night at the TD Banknorth Garden, which was just shy of selling out but long on fervent audience enthusiasm.

The 2-hour show didn't present the band's greatest hits in a new light, but rather was a striking reminder of their endurance. If I didn't already own them, I would have rushed out to buy "Rumours" and "Tusk" after realizing how timeless songs from those seminal albums still sound.

Fleetwood Mac has always thrived on, for better or worse, the dynamic among its members, and that tension was a vital part of the show's ebb and flow. Introducing "I Know I'm Not Wrong," Buckingham said the band has had "a complex and convoluted emotional history."

Case in point: After singing "Sara," Stevie Nicks sauntered over to Buckingham's microphone, peered into his eyes, and sang the last verse directly to him. Even though the song is more about Nicks's relationship at the time with Mick Fleetwood, Buckingham collapsed his head on her shoulder. Scripted or not, it was the evening's most poignant highlight. "We didn't rehearse that one," Buckingham said afterward, looking a bit flushed.

Nicks, ever the beloved rock goddess at 60, often kept her strength in the reserves. With her signature shawls and gold-flecked black scarves dangling from her mike stand, she was unusually tepid on "Dreams" early on but then a lively, black-magic woman on "Rhiannon" a few songs later. "Gold Dust Woman" ended with Nicks cast in silhouette, arms outstretched and her back, covered in long blond hair, to the audience.

Buckingham, however, was a man on fire, showing a youthful elasticity in his singing and guitar playing. He's 59 going on 40. Some songs were clearly tailor-made to showcase his guitar prowess, namely a bombastic take on "Big Love" and a searing, extended solo on "I'm So Afraid."

Meanwhile, every time the cameras caught him, Mick Fleetwood looked like the mischievous kid who had scampered onstage to pummel the drums on his favorite songs. Chrome-domed and still sporting a ponytail, he was the evening's designated ham - and eminently watchable. And bassist John McVie looked happy where he's always been: anchoring the group from the shadows. Fleetwood Mac's other anchor, Christine McVie, decided to skip this world tour.

Even without her, the band was at its most thrilling when all its members were in synch with the crowd. On "Go Your Own Way" and "Don't Stop," you couldn't tell how much of the volume was coming from the stage or from the surround sound of stadium-size singalongs.

It says something, though, when an entire arena falls silent for spectral ballads such as "Landslide" and the evening's farewell, "Silver Springs." Sometimes the greatest hits, even with some dust on them, are indeed still the greatest.

1 comment:

  1. I was at the show and it was just amazing. I have never seen FM live before and it exceeded any expectations I had. Lindsey blew me away - I have always known he is amazing guitarist but he really rocked it. I cannot wait to see a DVD of this tour, if only so I can remind myself of what a great show it all seems like a bit of a dream now.