Canadian Tire Centre
Reviewed Sunday, Oct. 26
With Christine McVie back in the lineup, a revitalized Fleetwood Mac gave a triumphant concert at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, delighting a sold-out crowd of 18,500 fans.
The classic-rock legends had been soldiering on for years without McVie, who departed in the late ’90s because of a crippling fear of plane travel. Although they adjusted the music to work well enough without McVie’s mellow voice, her absence was always noted, as we saw when Mac passed through town last year.
This time, the 71-year-old singer-songwriter-instrumentalist took her rightful place alongside her original bandmates, who voiced their appreciation a couple of times during Sunday’s concert.
“Welcome back, Chris,” said singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks, who seemed genuinely happy to share the spotlight. “I told her I was lonely up here without another blonde. Two blondes are better than one.”
When it comes to the Fleetwood Mac catalogue, two female voices sound better than one, too, as McVie’s well-modulated pipes provide a nice counterpart to the emotional edge of Nicks’s voice. What’s more, it was terrific to hear the songs that McVie wrote included in the set list.
After a sturdy version of The Chain to kick off the show, McVie took the lead, lending her rich, buttery voice to the gently soaring You Make Loving Fun. She also played keyboards throughout the concert, and at one point, stepped away from the piano to wield an accordion. Other highlights of McVie’s contributions include Say You Love Me, Everywhere and Don’t Stop.
Despite the long history of challenging interpersonal relationships among the band members, there was nothing but love displayed on stage.
“On a personal note, I’d like to say thank you for letting me have a second chance at doing this all over again. I love you guys,” said McVie, who’s not usually one to gush.
It was up to Nicks, who occupied centre stage, to create a sense of drama with her arms outstretched and scarves floating around her as she twirled. The 66-year-old singer threw herself into such crowd favourites as Dreams and Rhiannon.
Musically, the band was on fire, thanks in large part to the work of singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. He set the pace by digging into his electric guitar and coming up with some dazzling solos. Anchoring the proceedings was the mighty rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass. A trio of backing singers and a couple of additional instrumentalists rounded out the lineup.
The concert lasted close to two-and-a-half hours and was packed with hits, including most of their seminal 1977 release, Rumours, one of the best-selling albums in rock history. Crowd favourites included invigorating versions of Go Your Own Way and Don’t Stop that demonstrated the band’s new energy.
The Ottawa concert was part of the first leg of their On With the Show tour, which Buckingham described as a new chapter for the band.
“At this particular moment for us, with the return of beautiful Christine, we begin a new chapter, a very prolific, profound and poetic chapter in the history of this band,” he said.
Lynn Saxberg / Ottawa Citizen / Sunday, October 26, 2014