Home » CONCERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac review… Wait, this is starting to sound familiar

CONCERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac review… Wait, this is starting to sound familiar

Fleetwood Mac perform "Go Your Own Way," among other hits at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul on Sunday night. (Paul Schumann)
Fleetwood Mac perform “Go Your Own Way,” among other hits at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul on Sunday night. (Paul Schumann)

By Ross Raihala
Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Sunday, April 28, 2013

Something felt rather familiar about Fleetwood Mac’s Xcel Energy Center show Sunday, April 28, and it wasn’t just the band’s songs, which remain some of the biggest-selling, most widely known of the rock era.

Instead, it was the set list — the very order in which the group played those songs — that was secondhand news. Four-fifths of Fleetwood Mac’s most famous lineup last headlined the downtown St. Paul hockey arena in March 2009, and Sunday they performed a whopping 17 of the same songs. Of course, with a band like this, there are hits they’re always going to play (“Don’t Stop,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Landslide”). But this wasn’t just hearing the same old numbers four years later, but hearing them largely in the same sequence.

Just like in ’09, “The Chain” led into “Dreams” early in the show and then “Big Love,” “Landslide” and “Never Going Back” occupied the same three-song stretch at the midway point. And once again, the sequence of “I’m So Afraid,” “Stand Back” and “Go Your Own Way” wrapped things up and opened the door for virtually the same encore, with “Say Goodbye” added to “World Turning,” “Don’t Stop” and “Silver Springs.”

So what was different this time around? Well, most notably, Stevie Nicks was much more present and didn’t let her energetic frenemy Lindsey Buckingham steal the spotlight quite as much (even though the crowd cheered at nearly everything he did). At 64, her voice has lost much of its power, but she still looks terrific and she seemed to be enjoying herself much more Sunday night than four years back.

Buckingham reportedly wanted to record a fresh disc for 2013, but Nicks couldn’t get her act together in time. They did manage to work in one brand-new track, the upbeat and poppy “Sad Angel,” and one number they dug out from the vaults, “Without You” (an unreleased snoozer from the pair’s pre-Mac band Buckingham Nicks).

They also upped the total number of songs drawn from 1979’s Tusk — the expensive, Buckingham-led flop that derailed the band’s career — from three to four. In addition to Nicks’ ballad “Sara” and Buckingham’s monstrous “Tusk,” they worked in “Not That Funny” and “Sisters of the Moon,” with Buckingham taking the opportunity to once again harangue the crowd about the album’s initial failure. (Dude, it’s been 34 years. Let it go already!)

Beyond that, the band kept to the oldies, with the vast majority of the songs originally written and recorded in the mid-to-late ’70s. It was a nice surprise to hear “Eyes of the World,” a deep cut from 1982’s under-appreciated Mirage album, although almost any one of the other album cuts from that era would’ve been a better choice. As always, Christine McVie was missed. She retired in 1998 and while she was always a distant third behind Buckingham and Nicks, her softer, more romantic songs lent the band a certain humanity they’ve been lacking in the years since.

Pop music critic Ross Raihala can be reached at 651-228-5553.

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