Fleetwood Mac's Vancouver show lacks the lustre of yesteryear

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      At GM Place on Friday, May 15

      If ever there was a mutual effort in denial, it would be the classic rock cash-grab reunion tour. Embittered bandmates pretend to put their differences aside for “the love of the music”. And in exchange, hard-core fans shell out hundreds of dollars and convince themselves their idols’ coke-ravaged voices can still deliver the goods.

      This was pretty much the case at the packed Fleetwood Mac show on Friday. If it weren’t for Lindsey Buckingham’s superlative guitar-playing, the concert would have been a total washout. The reason? Well let’s say that, to put things charitably, the voices of Buckingham and Stevie Nicks seemed a little fried.

      As a result, almost every song was a total tease. The intros to the classics were strong and instantly recognizable, but as soon as the ’70s survivors started singing, it became painfully obvious that the sweet blow-fuelled harmonies of yesteryear are long gone.

      Maybe Buckingham and Nicks just needed a big fat rail for old times’ sake, to loosen up the ol’ vocal cords, or maybe they needed former bandmate and “Songbird” songstress Christine McVie to pick up the slack. But, then again, maybe her sagging vocal cords are shot to hell, as well.

      I’m not sure if the way the four remaining Fleetwood Mac members were positioned on the stage was meant to compensate for McVie’s absence. For whatever reason, Buckingham and Nicks were so far apart that they had to use a split screen to show them both on the JumboTron at the same time. And they weren’t even in the same time zone during the predictable spotlight moments.

      In fact, the former lovers didn’t really connect until about halfway into the show, during “Sara”, when Nicks awkwardly reached her hands out to Buckingham and he leaned his head on her heavily padded shoulder. But their hips and chests still weren’t touching, so it looked more like two grade eights slow dancing rather than a couple of old friends warmly embracing.

      Performance-wise, the highlight was the always-beautiful, pared-down “Landslide”. Nicks had this acoustically led ballad down to a T, and the bonus was that it didn’t require much energy, which was good because it didn’t look as though the, um, full-figured singer had a lot to spare. Her eyes were at half-mast almost the entire show. Too much NeoCitran? Bad plastic surgery? Who knows? But I got sleepy just looking at her.

      And it wasn’t just her lids that looked heavy. I couldn’t see what kind of shoes Nicks was wearing, but they seemed to be weighing her feet down like cement blocks. So instead of looking like an ethereal and majestic Gypsy in her black-lace finery, as she attempted to twirl across the stage (her one big dance move of the night), the ultimate goddess of rock ’n’ roll excess looked more like a well-fed Wiccan lumbering around the Maypole in a Beltane fertility ritual.

      It was kind of sad. But, hey, the first 20 rows or so seemed to be enjoying it.

      Other standouts included “Big Love”, in which Buckingham unleashed a wicked acoustic guitar solo. Later, Buckingham got his blues on with “Oh Well”, a Fleetwood Mac song that was written before he and Nicks joined the band.

      After burning through 20-plus hits, they left us with “Don’t Stop”—an ironic choice, considering it might be time for these classic-rock dinosaurs to seriously think about shutting it down.

      Comments

      78 Comments

      RH

      May 16, 2009 at 2:48pm

      I dont know what show Sarah Rowland went to last night but it sure wasn't the concert I went to.Fleetwood Mac was awsome ,and I take insult to the write up that you gave. Either you dont like Fleetwood Mac or you had a bad night but that was one of the top 10 concerts I have been to and I have been to 80 shows.

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      Carli

      May 16, 2009 at 2:57pm

      Say what you will but I had one hell of a good time at the concert and thought they were all terrific.

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      Critiquenotcriticize

      May 16, 2009 at 3:17pm

      Really? Do you have to pick things apart in a negative way like this to feel like a real "critic"?? I am embarrassed for our city that this went to print.
      Their music has been a constant inspiration to myself and many others. It has transcended generations and to those who weren't around in the 70's (like me), it was just amazing to see them live at all.
      Do you expect that anyone is going to sound or look (and who cares what they look like anyways) the same as they did 30 years ago? It's about celebrating their music. If you want a pretty, fancy performance, go see Britney Spears.
      If there is anything to critique about the show, it should be towards the audience. The fans are just as responsible for creating a good atmosphere. There were way too many lazy fans sitting back for the show. Get up and sing a dance!!! A great show is a two way street; both sides have to give.
      Maybe the next time (and I hope there is a next time) the doors should be open only to real fans the 30's and under crowd and we will show them the love they deserve.

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      karenrp

      May 16, 2009 at 3:26pm

      you are aware of course that Ms. Nicks was so ill that the shows in Edmonton and Calgary were postponed. Kudos to her for getting on the stage in Van after only 2 days to recover.

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      lil griffin

      May 16, 2009 at 5:37pm

      delusional if your expectations were fleetwood mac of 30yrs ago i take my hat off to anyone my age with the hutzpah of going on tour! friends of mine saw them in philly and couldn't stop singing there praises maybe concerts aren't your thing supposed to be for fun! lets see how u do at their ages lg

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      Sean

      May 16, 2009 at 5:42pm

      Meow!!! My goodness, has the author of this ever heard, if you can't say something nice then don't say... I would assume by the tone of the article, the author is somewhat younger than the audience who would enjoy the show. Pity, they were a great band who played in a such a wonderful time, that is not only long gone but unfortunatley is now populated by malcontents such as her. She might consider the next time she review's a show to focus more on the music and less on such tivial issues as players stage position and padded shoulders...BITCH!!!

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      bruno1997

      May 16, 2009 at 8:00pm

      christine mcvie is/was the only REAL voice in F. Mc----
      without her they're mediocre to average.

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      bluedenim

      May 16, 2009 at 8:07pm

      this reviewer has issues I say.....get with it....first of all Stevie was sick....I have seen them many times and while she may have been moving a bit slower, had a few off moments I give the woman credit for coming out and giving us really what was an amazing show. It was fun, and they connected to the audience.....the entire arena at its feet can not be wrong....I would like to see this reviewer at almost 61 touring North America with the amount of dates they are doiing and do as amazing job. Like someone else said what an embarssement that this was published. At least everyone else who was there knew what an amazing show this was. Stevie is beautiful, she sounded good, and LIndsey rocked.

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      cooltime

      May 16, 2009 at 8:08pm

      you're an idiot for writing this, but I suppose you'll be all washed up soon as well, difference being no one will care about or even remmber YOU!

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      Jimmy

      May 16, 2009 at 8:09pm

      Music critics suck, the show was an awesome display of talent and longevity. Stevie at 60 is still better than most at 30 and Lindsay put on a guitar show that anyone who can play an instrument would be wowed.
      I have a hard time believing that this tour is a moneygrab as they still make obscene amounts of money from music written in the 70's.

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