After kicking off a two-and-half-hour tour de force of a concert aptly with “The Chain”’ a song about unbreakable bonds, Lindsey Buckingham beamed and looked to his right.
“And now the beautiful Christine is back,” the vocalist-guitarist said just before Fleetwood Mac delivered “You Make Loving Fun.”
The capacity crowd at the Wells Fargo Center Monday night roared as the band kicked into the tune’s opening notes. The classic configuration of Fleetwood Mac, which will return to the South Philly venue Oct. 29, was back performing in the area for the first time since it played what was known as the Tweeter Center in Camden in September of 1997.
Vocally McVie and her counterpart, the beguiling Stevie Nicks, have to dial it down. The former is 71 and the latter is 66. What they lack in range, they make up for in character.
Fleetwood Mac still has it. It’s just different than it was in ‘97 and especially than it was during the summer of ‘77 when the band’s breakthrough album, Rumours, was ubiquitous.
Fleetwood Mac wowed the enthusiastic crowd with cuts from the emotional Rumours, the second biggest selling album of all-time, and a plethora of other hits.
“Go Your Own Way,” “Rhiannon” and “Landslide” sated the boomers.
Buckingham, the young buck in the band at a mere 65, stole the show. The thin as a rail fingerpicker riveted the crowd with an emotional “Big Love.” His fiery solo and his electric play in general impressed.
“I think he’s been off stage for 30 seconds tonight,” drummer Mick Fleetwood declared.
That’s not much of an exaggeration as the rest of the veteran group took considerable time off during the marathon show. But Buckingham looked like an old school punk pogoing across the stage and grunting, groaning and screaming throughout the night.
McVie, who was MIA since ‘97 due to her fear of flying, was rough around the edges vocally but she’s been out of the game for nearly 20-years.
Nicks and her unique husky voice and subtle gestures made songs such as “Seven Wonders” and “Gold Dust Woman” haunting and compelling. Whenever Nicks would spin like she did a generation ago, fans shrieked.
Fleetwood made like it was 1977 with a wild drum solo.
But it was the hits and the charm of the band that made the night. Nicks, who has always been a great storyteller, often stopped to drop anecdotes. “In the beginning Lindsey and I lived in San Francisco and there was this amazing store (the Velvet Underground) which had incredible clothes and all of the rock and roll women with money shopped there like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick. I remember thinking that when I make it, I’ll shop at that store and I did. If you do believe in your dreams, they can come true.”
The wild success of Fleetwood Mac enables Nicks to shop anywhere and it also gave the band considerable creative freedom to craft some of the most enduring songs from a generation ago.
“We’ve started a new and poetic chapter with Christine,” Buckingham said. “It’ll bear much fruit.”
Ed Condran / The Morning Call / Thursday, October 16, 2014