Home » CONCERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac take 12,000 on trip back in time at Scotiabank Place

CONCERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac take 12,000 on trip back in time at Scotiabank Place

By Aedan Helmer
Ottawa Sun
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

There’s really no mystery behind the astronomical success of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, with the supergroup celebrating 35 years since the landmark album’s 1977 release.

Right from its iconic cover art, with the dapper Mick Fleetwood and the sprightly Stevie Nicks on his arm, it was the perfect marriage of lean British blues-breaking rhythm with sunny soft rock, all polished in an alcoholic California sheen.

It was anything but a perfect marriage that spawned the album’s material, of course, but judging by the mid-set slow dance shared by former lovers Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham onstage at Scotiabank Place on Tuesday night, the sixty-somethings have left lovers’ quarrels far behind.

Nicks later turned to the band’s namesake drummer and thanked Fleetwood for allowing her and her musical (and otherwise) partner to join his “blues band” all those years ago, when the transformation would simply make them one of the biggest-selling bands on the planet and lay the blueprint for all that AOR would come to be.

And the album’s appeal is still going strong, judging by the sales, the rock rotation staying power and the multi-generational crowd of 12,000 that swayed along as Fleetwood Mac rolled out Rumours opener “Second Hand News,” followed by “The Chain” and megahit “Dreams” to open the festivities.

“There’s an axiom that exists in the music business: If it works, run it into the ground and then move on,” Buckingham said. “In other words, when you find a formula that works, use it up until there’s nothing left and move along to something else. It may be a good idea in business, but not necessarily if you’re aspiring to be an artist.”

Uncomfortable within the industry trappings that instant fame would bring, Buckingham explained the band decided “to subvert that particular axiom” when it followed up the Rumours megalith with the dense and weird Tusk.

“When they first put it on in a Warner Bros. board room, it was not what they expected and I’m sure not what they wanted,” Buckingham acknowledged, while reviving Tusk’s tribal title track, the metallic “Not That Funny” and the spacey “Sisters of the Moon.”

That was about all the subversion Fleetwood Mac would muster on this night, though, serving up 1975 hit “Rhiannon,” and the new, but very familiar-sounding tune “Sad Angel,” which is set to be released as part of an online EP within the week.

“Every time we take a break and come back it’s hard to believe there are still chapters to be written in this band, but there are,” said Buckingham, announcing the latest studio effort and pledging, “We’ll see what happens after that.”

After a low-key acoustic set — highlighted by Buckingham speaking of the “power of change” on the solo “Big Love,” which only gained in ferocity since he performed it seven short months ago at Folkfest — the band returned to the formula that made them what they are.

“Gypsy” and “Eyes of the World” followed — both from the synth-drenched ’80s Mirage album — but the remainder of the two-hour-plus set stuck firmly in the mid-70s, with I’m So Afraid, featuring a ripping guitar solo from Buckingham, “Gold Dust Woman” and the anthemic “Go Your Own Way,” sounding just as it did when it breezed its way onto the AM airwaves.

By the time the band busted out “Don’t Stop,” the crowd was right along there with them, reliving those glory days.

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