Fleetwood Mac brings crazy-ass fingerpicking and monster drums to Vancouver

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      At Rogers Arena on Saturday, April 4

      Fleetwood Mac must really love Vancouver. The Anglo-American pop greats played Rogers Arena less than five months ago, on November 18, before returning for last night's gig at the same venue.

      Apparently the feeling is mutual, because hordes of Vancouverites were willing to drop $199 (plus service charges and fees) for the best seats at the quintet's latest appearance. Who knew that Christine McVie had that much drawing power?

      Last year saw the return of keyboardist-vocalist McVie to the concert stage, reuniting her with singer Stevie Nicks, guitarist-vocalist Lindsey Buckingham, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist/ex-hubby John McVie. That's the same lineup that ruled the charts and airwaves in the seventies during its Rumours-era heyday.

      Getting McVie back in the group for its current On With the Show tour meant that it could perform more of the songs she wrote and sang, of course, and last night that resulted in tunes like "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me" (from 1975's Fleetwood Mac) and "Little Lies" and "Everywhere" (from 1987's Tango in the Night) making the setlist.

      McVie—the oldest member of the band at 71—sounded fine on those numbers, but it didn't hurt that she was supported by a trio of youthful backing vocalists. The group also benefited from an extra keyboardist and an extra guitarist. Hey, when you charge that much for tickets you can afford some hired hands.

      And you can also invest a few bucks into getting one helluva drum sound. I don't think I've ever heard such a powerful bass-drum noise in a hockey rink as that booming out of Mick Fleetwood's kit. From the opening track, "The Chain", to the first encore, "World Turning", Fleetwood was a monster on the skins. His extended solo on the latter track turned out to be far more entertaining than what you'd expect from an old guy hollering and hitting things.

      The show's visuals were most impressive too. The massive video screen behind the 10 performers kept your attention, whether displaying footage of the USC Trojans' marching band during "Tusk", a huge moon changing colours on "Sisters of the Moon", or a beautiful lady dancing underwater on "Gold Dust Woman".

      The last time the band played Vancouver without Christine McVie, in May of 2013, the setlist included the Stevie Nicks solo hit "Stand Back", but this time around there were no selections from outside the Fleetwood Mac catalogue. And 14 of the 22 songs played were taken from the multiplatinum Fleetwood Mac and Rumours discs. There was none of that, "And here's a track from our latest album!" nonsense. Mac's latest album came out 12 years ago, anyway.

      The biggest highlight of the night may have been Buckingham's solo performance of "Big Love", which showcased his crazy-ass fingerpicking style and ultra-expressive vocals. Mind you, he did reach similarly dramatic heights seven songs later on the heavy (by Mac standards) "I'm So Afraid", which saw him prowling the stage like a man possessed before unleashing a gonzo solo right out of the Ultimate Guitar Hero Playbook.

      Dude earned his MVP Award right then, I reckon.

      I realize this crappy iPhone shot doesn't fully capture Lindsey Buckingham's guitar prowess, but it's all I got.
      You can follow Steve Newton at twitter.com/earofnewt and check out his website about rock 'n' roll and horror here.



      Norman Fox

      Apr 5, 2015 at 4:39am

      "crazy-ass fingerpicking" Funniest title ever.


      Apr 5, 2015 at 8:13am

      "Mac's latest album came out twelve years ago, anyway"- I don't think the band includes this with the current band lineup. The latest album with Christine/Stevie/Lindsey would be 1987's Tango in the Night

      Nancy Pilling

      Apr 5, 2015 at 9:01am

      I was at the concert last night and it was one of the best shows I've seen in ages. Lindsay was possessed and Mick just was just crazy on the drums. They were so genuinely happy to be all together again and that came through big time. They played a solid 2 1/2 hours at least. Lindsay taking only a 30 second break...or so.
      And they were kicking it! Stevie and Christine were hitting notes that were just insane. Stevie was our sweet little gypsy throughout as she always is.
      She regaled us with stories as did Lindsay which added a fabulous personal touch. And when they were talking you could hear a pin drop. The masses paid attention. We were rewarded with a band that appreciated our adoration. And we expressed that time and again.
      'Don't stop thinking about tomorrow...don't stop...it will soon be here!'

      David Lowy

      Apr 5, 2015 at 10:00am

      That was an amazing show for old time rockers that are near 70!!!! Rock On!!!

      Mac n Sleeze

      Apr 5, 2015 at 10:37am

      You're right about the sound and visuals. Super powerful on both counts. But was Mick Fleetwood shouting at us to take it easy or get it greasy?

      Scott Schumacher

      Apr 5, 2015 at 12:09pm

      FWIW, 90% of the drum sound was Mick, but there was a small drum set augmenting Mick directly behind him, playing on some songs. Unlike the extra guitarist and singers, he received no mention. Still, mick looked and sounded great. Christine and Lindsey sounded great. Stevie seemed to be moving mighty slow around the stage, like the lumbago was acting up on the 'ol gal. But she sounded fine, and still rocked the top hat.


      Apr 5, 2015 at 12:31pm

      Lindsey's guitar solo blew me away. That was one hell of a performance.
      Stevie's explanation to "the velvet underground" and to the song "Gypsey" i was not aware of and thank you for that explanation.
      MF's drum solo at the end was awesome, and welcome back Christie.
      Overall the show was awesome and worth it, welcome back Fleetwood Mac

      Murray J

      Apr 5, 2015 at 2:39pm

      I was at the show last night and they certainly did play all their hit songs. I have to admit though I was disappointed in the sound quality. The bass was amazing right from the first note, you could really feel it hit your chest BUT because they made the bass so strong, this greatly overpowered the vocals and any of the high pitched instruments played. With the band being driven by female vocals on so many songs, I just found their voices were hidden by the bass and made hard to hear clearly most of the time. The second half of the concert the audio guys seemed to make it a little better but still not great. I know Rogers Arena is not the best for concert sound but other top rated acts I have attended have done better on the audio. Also, my ears aren't that old, being 45.

      Still hard to beat an Eagles concert when it comes to sound quality.

      Just my 2 cents worth.


      Apr 5, 2015 at 4:54pm

      I was really hoping they would have played "Don't Stop Believing"


      Apr 5, 2015 at 8:51pm

      I saw Fleetwood in Wichita this past Tuesday, and can relate on every level of this article. Mick & Lindsey brought the house down!!!!!