Over the course of their 40(!) year career, the members of Fleetwood Mac have survived divorces, line-up changes, rehab, and an unfortunate bout of really big hair in the eighties. But the unsinkable group continues to triumph over adversity, and their sold out show at Rogers Arena Tuesday night was a magical tour de force.
Fleetwood Mac made headlines earlier this year when they announced that original songbird Christine McVie was rejoining the fold after a 16 year break. As a foursome, the band played Vancouver just last summer but McVie’s absence forced them to skip over some of their most beloved tracks (and it’s just not a party without a little “Little Lies”).
But much to the relief of the 18,000 fans in attendance, “Little Lies” and a slew of other classics made the cut Tuesday night. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers opened the show with a one-two punch of “The Chain” and “You Make Loving Fun,” both from 1977’s “Rumours.” In fact, nine songs from that iconic album were included in the nearly two-and-a-half-hour show.
McVie’s return was acknowledged very early on by bandmate Stevie Nicks, who screamed “Welcome back Chris!! Where have you been?!” to which McVie replied “you know where I’ve been…” The gold dust women shared a laugh before Nicks admitted “I know where she’s been, and I’m not telling.”
And if you thought for a second that McVie’s hiatus from Fleetwood Mac had left her vocal pipes a little rusty, think again. Her voice was strong and rich, sounding just as pure on songs like “Over My Head” and “Everywhere” as it did decades ago.
The same couldn’t always be said for Nicks, however. The sweet, raspy voice that dominated the second half of the seventies has given way to a deeper, huskier tone. Not quite as impressive as before, but at times just as compelling; her growly vocal on “Landslide” nicely suited the song’s world-weary lyrics, maybe even more so than her take on the 1975 original.
The hits (24 in total) kept coming, with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham delivering a blistering solo version of “Big Love” before slowing things down with a poignant rendition of “Never Going Back Again” with help from Nicks on vocals.
Making a rare live appearance was “Seven Wonders,” a gem from 1987’s “Tango In The Night” that was heavily featured in a recent season of “American Horror Story.” Nicks thanked “the hot witch” (her words, not mine) from the series for introducing the band to a “new generation of fans.” A nice sentiment, but with the exception of some kids working the concession stand, I honestly don’t remember seeing a single person under 30 inside the arena. Their loss.
The band wrapped up with an awesome take on “Go Your Own Way” before founding member Mick Fleetwood killed the mood briefly with a much-too long drum solo on “World Turning” that left some in the audience fumbling for their car keys. The magic returned, however, when the others returned for encore “Silver Springs” and McVie’s haunting “Songbird.”
The quintet took their final bows and exited stage left, but a giddy Mick Fleetwood quickly returned to the stage to announce that “The Mac Is Back!” And the roaring Vancouver crowd clearly agreed.