Fleetwood Mac rolled their 2013 world tour into town last night, making their first visit to Winnipeg since their June 6th stop at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre back in 2009.
Returning once again with their core 1977 “Rumours” era line up (less Christine McVie), which includes Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, they took the stage to a rousing reception from the near capacity crowd of 11,500 fans who packed the arena.
Touring behind a deluxe 35th anniversary re-release of “Rumours” and a recent four-track EP digital release titled “Extended Play,” Buckingham kicked off the night with his instantly familiar self-penned song “Second Hand News,” one of numerous “Rumours” tracks to pepper the songlist, much to the delight of the thousands of babyboomers in attendance.
Demonstrating a surprising level of youthful energy and exuberance, the charismatic 63-year-old lead guitarist/lead vocalist can still emote with the best of them, and his raw vocal style and meticulous guitar work earned him some of the biggest ovations of the night.
Maintaining the momentum, Fleetwood’s four-on-the-floor bass drum and Buckingham’s twangy blues riff set up the next “Rumours” classic, “The Chain.”
Mac’s vocal harmonies sounded as rich as ever with Buckingham and Nicks’ rich voices buoyed by two female backing singers with the overall sound fleshed out by a pair of multi-instrumentalists, who adeptly handled keyboards, guitars and other assorted duties above the rock solid rhythm section supplied by founding members and namesakes, Fleetwood and McVie.
A pair of side LCD screens helped the audience catch all the live action while 60’s psychedelia flashed on a stage length screen behind the band.
Sporting her trademark gypsy garb, black dress and shawl accentuating her shoulder length blond hair, Mac’s resident demure diva Nicks took her first lead vocal turn on her self-penned “Rumours” hit “Dreams.”
Nick’s sultry voice still captivates, slinking and winding around the song’s lyrics, while using her expressive hand movements to add even more layers to enhance the song’s hypnotic quality.
Though she still performs in platform boots, at age 64, the iconic singer wisely has eschewed her whirling dervish stage moves and spontaneous banshee wail for a more subdued and mature vocal delivery, which highlights her unique sonic qualities and phrasing ability.
Proving they still have artistic juice, the band next offered up the first of two original songs culled from their new EP titled “Sad Angel,” a surprisingly fresh sounding medium-tempo pop rocker, that featured impressive two-part harmony work from Nicks and Buckingham and received an enthusiastic response from the crowd – to the visible delight of Buckingham.
With some minor tweaking in song order and a handful of trade-outs, the set remained largely the same as the band’s last appearance, primarily highlighting Mac’s huge “must-play” back catalogue of hits and beloved album tracks.
Interesting exceptions, asides from the two EP additions, included the inclusion of Buckingham’s punk-rocker “Not That Funny” and Nick’s “Sisters of the Moon,” both from Mac’s experimental 1979 concept album, “Tusk.”
Evening highlights from Buckingham included the title-track from “Tusk,” his acoustic solo performances of “Big Love” and “Never Going Back Again” along with the slow smoldering rocker “I’m So Afraid.”
Nick’s best performances included the ever-haunting 1975 hit “Rhiannon,” her acoustic version of “Landslide” with Buckingham, whose “snow-covered hills” lyric she dedicated to Winnipeg, and the hit “Stand Back” from her 1983 solo album “Wild Heart.”
Mac had the night cinched and the entire crowd on their feet by the time they reached the initial set closer, Buckingham’s self-penned quintessential break-up hit from “Rumours” – “Go Your Own Way.”
They encored with “World Turning,” which featured a highly energized drum solo spotlight from 65-year-old Fleetwood, followed by yet another “Rumours” mega hit, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.”
Clocking in at just over two hours, the show wrapped with the Nicks-penned “Go Your Own Way” B-side ballad, ” Silver Springs” and ended with Nicks and Buckingham soloing on the Buckingham-penned confessional “Say Goodbye,” written for Nicks.
Judging by the quality of the new material and level of live performances, here’s hoping Fleetwood Mac does not “Say Goodbye” from touring and recording for long.
Fleetwood Mac continues their Canadian tour leg tomorrow night in Saskatoon, SK at Credit Union Centre.
See Fleetwood Mac’s official website for more details.