Toronto Sun (09/21/2003), Big Mac's back
Toronto Sun, Sunday, September 21, 2003
Big Mac's back
Eternal flower child Stevie Nicks keeps veteran 70s rockers and fans in sync
by Jane Stevenson
Air Canada Centre, Toronto
Saturday, September 20, 2003
The last time I saw Fleetwood Mac -- on the Buffalo stop of their wildly successful 1997 reunion tour -- the musical soap opera surrounding the famed '70s group was still playing itself out on stage.
And despite the absence of keyboardist-vocalist Christine McVie from their most recent road trip, the drama continued last night during Fleetwood Mac's long-awaited return to Toronto in front of 15,000 fans at the Air Canada Centre.
Or more specifically, the melodrama when it came to intense guitarist Lindsay Buckingham and manic drummer Mick Fleetwood whose raging solos -- at different times in the concert -- were over the top, to say the least.
As Buckingham himself said early in the show about the band's storied history: "It's been a difficult, sometimes strange, trip."
Naturally, it was up to the group's resident flower child Stevie Nicks -- the undisputed star of last night's two-and-a-half hour concert -- to bring some much-needed balance to the equation. (Let's not forget she had a long relationship with Buckingham and a post-Buckingham affair with Fleetwood.)
Kicking the night off with The Chain and Dreams, from the group's landmark 1977 album, Rumours, the foursome -- now all in their mid to late '50s and rounded out by bassist John McVie -- took a few songs to really get started.
Not surprisingly it was Nicks' Rhiannon -- from 1975's Fleetwood Mac disc -- that provoked the first big crowd reaction of the night as the diminutive singer performed her trademark twirls on stage dressed in a layered, flowing black dress.
The illusion was only slightly destroyed by the presence of black platform sneakers, which these days, have replaced Nicks' much sexier black suede boots from the '70s.
Still, all eyes were on the singer who was in great voice, energetically shook a tambourine and modeled various shawls throughout the night on later standouts Gypsy, Beautiful Child, Gold Dust Woman, Silver Springs and her own Stand Back.
And just in case Nicks' vocals and outfits weren't striking enough, her mic stand was decorated in black satin tassles, silver chains and two red roses.
Fleetwood Mac, backed by seven other touring musicians, have hit the road in support of Say You Will, a brand new album released earlier this year.
The new disc was well represented last night by a half-dozen songs, most significantly the first single, Peacekeeper, and the pretty ballad Say Goodbye.
But, ultimately, it was the Rumours classics Second Hand News, Go Your Own Way and Don't Stop, and later '70s hit Tusk which struck the biggest chord with the boomer-heavy audience.
And it should be pointed out that Buckingham did redeem himself when he kept it simple and straightforward, just singing along to his own astonishing acoustic guitar playing during Never Going Back Again and Big Love.
Or when accompanying Nicks during the concert's emotional high point, Landslide, which saw her hands on Buckingham's shoulders when he was playing and the two ex-lovers holding hands and eventually embracing as the song ended.
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