Behind the Mask Concert Review (Boston Globe)
And so an era ends.
Stevie Nicks, who has toured with Fleetwood Mac for nearly 15 years, and Christine McVie, who has been with them two decades, said their touring goodbyes with the Mac last night before a passionate crowd of 11,000 fans.
"Boston has always been a very special place for me to play," said Nicks, before an acoustic version of the ballad "Landslide," with its poignant verse, "Children get older, I get older too." McVie, in less emotional fashion, later added, "Thanks, Boston, for making me feel so welcome."
Both women will continue to record with Fleetwood Mac, but won't travel with them after this tour. The latest speculation is that former members Peter Green and Danny Kirwan, according to a source last night, may now come back into the fold and return the Mac to its raw, blues-powered origins.
Either way, the band appears ready to embrace more of its late '60s blues. Just as they did at Great Woods this summer (the song list was very similar), they revived three tunes from the founding Peter Green days -- the guitar-boogie of "Oh Well," the back-alley blues of "Stop Messin' Around" and the mournfully repentant "Another Woman," in which singer/guitarist Rick Vito had his best moment.
Reviving the blues seems a logical future step, since the remaining members, unless they make serious changes, won't be able to cover the female-led greatest hits from the late '70s that filled last night's set. Neither Vito, nor remaining singer Billy Burnette, is a first-rate vocalist, so the Mac might have to pursue a more guitar-based instrumental sound. And what this does vis-a-vis the studio records, which will still include the pop-oriented Nicks and McVie, is an open question.
Regardless, the women went out in style last night. A fairly dismal, bass-heavy sound mix didn't help matters, but Nicks and McVie clearly gave an extra effort to make their goodbyes memorable. Nicks' survivalist love song "Gold Dust Woman," hit the deepest mark, while she also soared through lead vocals on "Chain" and "Rhiannon," plus added her inimitably dusky backup harmonies elsewhere.
The classy McVie, who has been an anchor in the group during its soap opera history, shone on the more middle-of-the-road pop tunes, but also stepped up to play some boogie-woogie with the boys on the blues tracks. And speaking of the boys, they again got their adrenalin from the charter rhythm section of bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, whose presence makes you confident that the Mac will land on its feet wherever it goes in the future.
Drummer Fleetwood even managed to improve upon his crazed, fiendish drum solo in which he roved the stage with his Hotz MIDI Translator (touch-sensitive drum pads in his vest) to pound out organic rhythms counterpointed by African accents from percussionist Asante. Fleetwood added manic facial expressions that, along with the flashing strobe lights, put the crowd in an awe-struck trance.
This was not a great show (the newer songs sagged a bit), but it was a step up from the pronounced schizoid tone of the band's Great Woods engagements. There's a looser feel to the group now that the women have made their decisions official --and one sensed a greater cooperative spirit last night.
Above all, Nicks and McVie are definitely not sailing through this farewell tour on their reputations. Rather than take polite, sentimental bows, they came to play last night -- and left on a high note befitting their many contributions through the years.