By Matt Miller / Reverb
Monday, June 3, 2013
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham held hands as they walked onto stage at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night. Here is a relationship in flux for decades — one that has inspired some of Fleetwood Mac’s most memorable works of heartbreak and romanticism — and it may finally be in a comfortable place. What followed was a reflective and ambitious two and a half hour set from the nearly complete Rumours lineup of Nicks, Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.
Whereas a few years ago Nicks and Buckingham could barely make eye contact on stage, Saturday night the two fondly shared anecdotes about writing love poems and joining the band as they played through many of Fleetwood Mac’s biggest hits. And while they had seemingly made amends on stage, musically they can be best talked about as individuals.
Like someone in his 20s — right down to the skinny jeans and v-neck — Buckingham shouldered the charisma of the entire band. He ended “The Chain” with a flying kick, busted out a tapping guitar solo on “Gypsy” and played an interlude on his own half way through the set. Accompanied by only his likeness reflected on a rectangular sheet that had dropped from the ceiling, Buckingham performed an acoustic version of “Big Love.” Where the original is marred with ‘80s synth and drum tracks, on Saturday Buckingham’s fiery guitar picking nailed both the rhythm and lead guitar of the song.
For Nicks, her moments came when her vocals could stay clear of Buckingham’s. While a bit more nasally in 2013, her voice still has its power when she stays in a comfortable range. On the many songs that end with a Nicks afterward, she sustained her haunting melodies for a few bars as if it were the 1970s. Sultry as ever on the smoky “Dreams” and full of soul on “Gold Dust Woman,” she embodied her witch-like persona, though her dancing was confined to a single spot.
When it came time for her to perform “Landslide,” the song took on new meaning given the reflective tone of the night. Written in Aspen decades ago, Nicks prefaced the song by telling the nearly sold out Pepsi Center about a picture from her childhood that showed seven generations of Colorado women in her family. Husky and beautiful, “Landslide” became less of an internalization of struggle, and more of a lesson for her many Colorado relatives in the crowd.
Throughout the night, Fleetwood played his usual role as the backbone of the band. During the second encore, he pounded out a nearly 5 minute drum solo, showcasing his chops even at 65.
With all the great individual performances aside, and the banter like lifelong friends, Fleetwood Mac couldn’t click early in the set as a group, most notably between their trademark vocal harmonies. The choruses of “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” had some jagged edges, the tempos were sleepy and it was clear that these were musicians who had spent time at odds and apart.
But these missteps couldn’t overshadow the sense of calm in the band. And it seemed only right that Fleetwood Mac truly connected on “Go Your Own Way,” the song that ended the main set. The vocals between Nicks and Buckingham finally fit together as they sang about their failing romance.
Glenn Ross is a Denver-based photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work here.