Home » CONCERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac ageless wonders at Rexall Place

CONCERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac ageless wonders at Rexall Place

By Mike Ross / Edmonton Sun
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some people are griping that Fleetwood Mac touring without a major new album — or Christine McVie — is just a “cash grab.”

So what of it? Gotta make a living somehow, to maintain the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. All those scarves can’t be cheap. No one makes money selling records anymore, do they? But the one thing you can’t download is a live concert (never mind the canned horns in “Tusk”).

The plus side of the cash grab for Mac fans is that the remaining fantastic four Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks are solid. They should be. Since the band broke up for the first time, they’ve been touring on and off as long as they ever did back in the day, except maybe the epic Rumours tour. They’re more stable now, too, by the sounds of it. They’re all great musicians, and so the band has become nice and tight. Sure, Wednesday night at Rexall Place was just another gig in a long string not likely to end soon, but it was still special for that reason — because they’re working it, just like all the other classic rock bands out there.

Turns out Mac did release a new EP recently, very quietly, without any fuss. They pulled a new one tune at the show amongst the classics some 15,000 fans turned up to hear: “Sad Angel,” a brisk rocking groove, and somewhat downbeat message that may or may not be about the end of the world: “Hello, hello, sad angel, have you come to fight the war?” goes the line. Might have to let that one grow on you.

But admit it: Seems fans would rather have Christine McVie back than hear new Fleetwood Mac tunes. Most the thrills were reserved for the aforementioned classics: Like a double shot of “Second Hand News” and “The Chain” to open the show, showing the vocal talents of Buckingham and Nicks, respectively, their voices still blending wonderfully. “Dreams” — probably the band’s biggest commercial hit — was knocked off early, one of several favourites that showed the pair in fine form. The exes still seem to have a spark between them, some chemistry. During “The Chain,” Buckingham turned to his longtime musical and one—time sexual partner and put a little extra oomph into the line, “If you don’t love me now, you never will again!” That actually doesn’t make any sense when you think about it.

There are quibbles. At times it came off like the Lindsey Buckingham Show. Wasn’t it always, though? The guy remains a serious scary monster on the guitar, showing off great guns on a solo version of “Looking Out for Love” (Editor’s note: “Big Love”)— singing while playing an impossibly fast riff at the same time. Nicks made it an acoustic duo next with the lovely “Landslide,” giving of her own extra oomph to the line, “I’m getting older, too.”

It was cool to see the band playing with the arrangements of songs they must’ve played 10,000 times. “Save Me,” (Editor’s note: “Gold Dust Woman”) coming late in the show, was elongated into a psychedelic blues jam and showcased one of Nicks’ best performances. “Tusk,” one of Mac’s weirdest and most wonderful songs, started with a laid—back, almost ambient vibe before breaking into the jungle groove we all know, and did I mention the canned horns? Maybe it was a really, really good synth patch. There were a number of backing musicians and singers toiling in the shadows to fill in the spaces. The best moments were the most stripped down, however. Back in the spotlight not for the first or last time, Buckingham spindled and mutilated the melody to “Never Going Back Again,” making for a simple yet passionate performance that had a lot more soul than if it had been faithful to the studio version. He cranked out more blistering guitar solos later on, proving he’s really the guy driving this band — no offence to the competent and sturdy drumming of Mick Fleetwood, a heavy hitter if there ever was one.

The notion that the parts are greater than the sum in this case were put to rest when the band kicked it up a few notches for the home stretch to end two hours of living, breathing classic rock nostalgia.  “Go Your Own Way” was magic. It’s nice to see the old — timers up there working so hard.

 4 SUNS out of 5



Stevie Nicks

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Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
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BottleRock Napa Valley
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Delta Center
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MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
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Gainbridge Fieldhouse
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JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
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Soldier Field
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European Tour

JUL 3, 2024
Dublin, Ireland

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OVO Hydro
Glasgow, UK

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Co-op Live
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JUL 12, 2024
BST Hyde Park
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Sportpaleis Antwerpen
Merksem (Antwerpen)

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Ziggo Dome

^ Non-Live Nation show