At Rogers Arena on Sunday, May 19
"I don't believe Fleetwood Mac will ever tour again," drummer Mick Fleetwood told Playboy last year, dashing the concert hopes of diehard '70s soft-rock fans everywhere. But as seen at Rogers Arena last night, you can't believe everything you read in a girlie magazine.
Fleetwood took the stage—along with the current Fleetwood Mac lineup of singer Stevie Nicks, guitarist-vocalist Lindsay Buckingham, and bassist John McVie—and proceeded to show that a capering 65-year-old codger can still be a force of nature behind the kit. The foursome was supplemented by a second guitarist-vocalist, a keyboard-vocalist, and two backup vocalists, so there was plenty of younger vocal cords on hand to help Nicks (64) and Buckingham (63) hit those high notes.
The show kicked off with "Second Hand News", the perky opening track from the 1977 Rumours album, which has so far sold a paltry 45-million copies worldwide. That song is noted for containing some of the most memorable gibberish lyrics ever, which are tricky to decipher, but go something like: "Bow-bow-bow-bow/da-bas-bow-bow-bow-bow/da-bam-bam-bam-bam-bam-da-bam-bam-bam-bam/do-doodle-doo."
After a couple more Rumours gems, "The Chain" and "Dreams", the band pulled out a new composition from Extended Play, the four-song EP it released on iTunes a few weeks back. "Sad Angel" is a jangly rocker slightly reminiscent of "Go Your Own Way", sans its melodic allure.
The group would showcase one other new tune, "Without You", a rerecording of a pre-Mac, Buckingham/Nicks demo that, as Nicks explained in a rambling introduction, resurfaced on YouTube recently. Unfortunately the song—based on a poem she wrote for Buckingham early on in their relationship—came off a little on the humdrum side.
Apart from the two middling new tunes, it was golden oldies all the way, which was what everyone had come for anyway. The band performed seven of Rumours' 11 deathless tracks, and four each from the 1975 Fleetwood Mac and '79 Tusk albums. Three tracks from the eighties went over extremely well, including the Nicks-sung "Gypsy" (from 1982's Mirage) and "Stand Back" (from her '83 solo album The Wild Heart). One of the night's biggest highlights was "Big Love", a track from 1987's Tango in the Night that boasted ace fingerpicking from Buckingham.
As crowdpleasing as the setlist was, it would have been nice if it had touched ever-so-briefly on the band's history prior to its multiplatinum success. It would have been cool to hear Fleetwood snapping off that triple-time intro to 1973's dreamy "Hypnotized" as an homage to former member Bob Welch, who died last summer.
Even better, they could have selected one tune from the group's late-'60s blues-rock era, when guitar legend Peter Green was in the fold. I can totally picture Buckingham singing lines like: "I can't help about the shape I'm in/I can't sing, I ain't pretty and my legs are thin/But don't ask me what I think of you/I might not give the answer that you want me to."