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REVIEW: Time stands still

Fleetwood Mac at Bell Centre in Montreal: Time stands still

Fleetwood Mac are one of the biggest selling groups of all time. Over 100 million albums sold. Not so bad. Thursday, February 5th 2015 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, they showed why. And then some.

Christine McVie is on board for the first time in sixteen years. Sixteen is sweet. Sixteen is an even number, and now Fleetwood Mac are even once more.

During the almost three hour, no intermission, no opening act show, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham displayed their pleasure of having the ‘prodigal girl’ return. “Complete” was the word Fleetwood used.

Seldom does a group come along which places all the elements of the music universe in one tight package. Vocals as harmonic as angels singing in heaven. A battery section void of any miscues. Songwriting as diverse as music itself. Lyrics as poetic as a romantic dinner by candlelight. Guitar solos straight out of the best ‘”how-to” book. Fleetwood Mac has it all.

Rumours, that 1977 album which everyone in the world owned or owns, was the flagship last night. A collection of songs which defined Fleetwood Mac and placed them into the upper echelons of rock music. A Fleetwood Mac show, because of this,  is also in the upper echelon of rock concerts.

The evening commenced with “The Chain.” A link to that glorious album Rumours which immediately set the tone and lit a fire into the frozen mindset of the almost sold out Bell Centre.

There is something sinister in Mac’s music. An underlying demonic tone which offsets the vocals of McVie and Nicks. A combination of Buckingham’s guitar work and skillful songwriting. Add Fleetwood’s crisp snare-work – no wonder it takes almost every band four albums to match Fleetwood Mac’s legendary disc.

Track list: Side One

1. Second Hand News – Played

2. Dreams – Played

3. Never Going Back Again – Played

4. Don’t Stop – Played

5. Go Your Own Way – Played

6. Songbird – Played

Track list: Side Two

1. The Chain – Played

2. You Make Loving Fun- Played

3. I Don’t Want to Know

4. Oh Daddy

5. Gold Dust Woman – Played

Nine of eleven tracks from Rumours played in a two hour and forty-five minute set. Nine songs which, with eyes closed, placed a patron last night back in the basement on a couch in the late seventies and dreaming of the future. As in “Dreams.”

There were other songs. Tunes which gave the band re-birth with an album called Tango in the Night. A cleaner, post-vinyl Mac which displayed Nicks’ talents and almost placed her above the band. “Everywhere,” “Seven Wonders,” “Little Lies,” and “Big Love.” Four tracks which made purists shudder in 1987 yet are now classics in the songbook of purists. The foursome played and sang last night as pure and true to Fleetwood Mac’s second biggest selling disc.

Stevie Nicks is mystical. Some people have that je ne sais quoi component embedded into their souls. Stevie, complete with a black top hat, is one of those special people. Her voice last evening as defining as is her role in rock history. Along with Anne and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Nicks was a trailblazer in what was ( still is) a music landscape littered with males.

Christine McVie, compared to Nicks, is as mystical in a different way. Grounded, yet with an air of mystery. The Ying to Nicks’ Yang. The “regular” voice compared to Stevie’s distinctive singing style. Together or apart, a duo as important to music as Phil and Don Everly. McVie and Nicks. A pair who caught Montreal in the headlights of a speeding vehicle of talent. The Bell Centre? Dead in its tracks.

Nicks may have won the hearts yet it was Lindsey Buckingham who stole the show. Much has been written of Peter Green, the original guitarist in Mac who is heralded as one of the best Blues guitarists to grace a stage or studio. Buckingham is the engine in Fleetwood Mac. Buckingham is the new Peter Green.

Much as Joe Walsh adds much needed energy to an Eagles’ show, Buckingham does the same with Mac. His guitar solos unmatched almost anywhere in the record stores. An unsung hero who is hailed by those in music yet seldom mentioned among the best by music fans. Time after song, Lindsey displayed piercing riffs with equal amount of old fashioned panache. Screaming into the microphone with wild eyes, dancing from one end of the stage to another, Buckingham was having fun. His head, his gigantic head, bouncing on the giant screen behind the band, comical as a backdrop yet poignant in it’s size.

Egos seem to have always been the dagger in Fleetwood Mac’s dartboard. Larger-than-life size egos not able to fit inside the Bell Center. Alone or together. Last night, it is easy to see why as McVie, Fleetwood, Nicks and Buckingham all took turns in the spotlight within the songs. Each member capable of headlining on their own. Each one stealing songs along the way. From Mick Fleetwood’s manic drumming style and even more maniacal personality to McVie’s contrasting performance. Buckingham’s energy to Nicks’ mellowness. All of the members to John McVie’s best interpretation of a Bill Wyman invisible stage presence. Like Wyman, one of the best, one of the ‘real’ bass players.

An enigma, this band. A musical lottery – winning group of artists – who created timeless music, and thankfully, continue to perform and astound the masses.

Rick Keene / Rick Keene Music Scene / Friday, February 6, 2015



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