Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Home » REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac leads a loaded reunion at Oracle Arena

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac leads a loaded reunion at Oracle Arena

Stevie Nicks is going for it. She’s been dressed in all black all night — a confusing, drapey, sequined and, yes, Stevie Nicks-esque shawl over a dress, whose shimmering tendrils she seems to be handling like rosary beads — but for “Gold Dust Woman” she’s brought out a sheer gold shawl, and she is putting it to work. With her back to the crowd at Oracle Arena, she spreads her arms out wide before bringing both hands to her blonde head for something that looks like the marriage of headbanging and the gesture one performs when experiencing a migraine; the midway point between rocking the fuck out and being in severe pain.

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

Which is, really, the main thrust of the mood at a Fleetwood Mac show — at least, at the first Fleetwood Mac show in a decade in a half that includes the original ’70s lineup: Christine McVie, notably fresh-faced behind the keyboard after 16 years away; Lindsey Buckingham, whose virtuoso fingerpicking on the electric guitar is rendered nearly unfair when combined with the fact that he apparently doesn’t age at all; John McVie, perhaps the only member of Fleetwood Mac who could reasonably be described as understated, despite providing the crucial bass heartbeat to so many hit songs; Nicks, whose stage presence alone makes Lady Gaga seem like John Kerry; and drummer Mick Fleetwood himself, who — dressed in short pants and red sneakers, wispy sideburn hair a-flying, taking indulgent solos — was quite possibly having more fun than anyone in the room, letting out animalistic yelps between taps of the hi-hat and punctuating his between-song banter with a gesture recognizable as the universal sign for “I am on Splash Mountain and we have just started going downhill.”

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

In short, emotions ran high last night. From Nicks dedicating “Landslide” to her first real boyfriend at Atherton High School, to Fleetwood’s assertion that things get crazy when you let the drummer up front (his headset mic failed to work at some point, and briefly holding court at the tip of the stage seemed to make many people very happy), the whole thing felt loaded. This is, of course, difficult to separate from the soap opera that is Fleetwood Mac’s history, the romantic entanglements and illicit affairs and buckets upon buckets of cocaine that somehow went up people’s noses and came back out transformed into songs as sunny as “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” There’s a theatrically implied underbelly to nearly everything they do, and no matter how much you’ve painted Stevie Nicks into some kind of fantasy-mom corner — and no matter what percentage of the 19,000 people around you appear to be squeaky-clean retirees with varying degrees of former hippiedom in their pasts, all cutting loose with widely varying degrees of rhythm — there’s the ever-present knowledge that yeah, she partied way, way harder than you ever will, and the same probably goes for a lot of these old-school fans. Lived to tell the tale, too.

Which is why you indulge Nicks when she starts telling the same story, verbatim, that she apparently told last week in L.A.: About being a poor student at San Jose State University (crowd: “woooooo!”) and driving up to San Francisco to shop at the Velvet Underground, which was the coolest and most expensive rock star store in the world, as evidenced by having Janis Joplin and Grace Slick as customers. About how she couldn’t afford anything, but she stood there in that store and she knew she’d be able to someday. Cue a curtsy, plus exaggerated fondling of her sequined outfit. Cue “Gypsy,” with the opening lines “So I’m back, to the Velvet Underground…”

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

Can you blame her if it’s cheesy? You can’t. Especially when Christine McVie, her alto and perfect hair seemingly untouched by the ravages of time, launches into “Say You Love Me,” or sits down at the piano for “Little Lies” and you realize that half the Fleetwood Mac songs you hear so often they’ve become background music (in the best possible way) are driven by that almost unnervingly sweet, easy voice. This requires ignoring the weird background visuals — gold dust for “Gold Dust Woman,” strange, unnecessary combinations of water droplets and psychedelic swirls of color for nearly everything else. It also requires removing yourself from the reality of, say, things that actually happened earlier in the day, back in 2014, like the grand jury’s decision in the horrifying police brutality murder case of Eric Garner. It requires shutting off your brain for long enough to live inside a year when Ronald Reagan was a great hope for a great many people.

Noah Graham for Oracle Arena This will, you see, help with getting into the proper headspace for receiving Nicks’ lines about how Christine McVie came back to the band in January of 2014 — less than two years after Nicks told Rolling Stone that was about as likely as “an asteroid hitting the earth” -— because “when you put something out into the universe, it comes true, and you Fleetwood Mac fans all woke up one day and wanted that. You have magic powers. If you want something bad enough, dreams come true.”

If nothing else, it requires believing that Fleetwood Mac believes those things. And last night, there were absolutely zero doubts to be had about that.

Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)
Fleetwood Mac live in Oakland (Photo: Noah Graham)

Emma Silvers / SF Weekly / Thursday, December 4, 2014


LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

JUL 12, 2024
BST Hyde Park
London, England

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton