Not that they needed it but Fleetwood Mac got a kind of do-over after their last appearance here only 18 months ago.
That show, in the same venue, was a full-on, fully fulfilling rock show that found the legendary band still playing with commitment and zeal. But it did come with an asterisk in the form of the absent Christine McVie. At the time, it was too much to hope that she’d rejoin her band mates.
But clearly, fear of flying can be beaten, and it was the band’s best-loved lineup that inhabited SaskTel Centre on Wednesday: McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.
The set list was extensive and, if you think about the millions those songs have earned their creators, expensive — 20 plus massive hits that have become part of the cultural fabric without going out of style.
The Chain opened the show fittingly, since the links are again joined. The sound was full and percussive with forceful vocals by Buckingham (and he was just warming up). The big thrill here though was that iconic bass riff by John near the end. The strings sounded thick as fingers, the fathoms deep notes thumping in your chest.
The fans were sure to welcome Christine back with warm applause when she started singing You Make Loving Fun. Later she expresses her thanks for “a rare chance to do this twice.”
With the missing link back, Stevie Nicks seemed more relaxed and into it. “We don’t get to do snow very often so this is pretty cool,” she said after doing Dreams.
After a stirring, fast Second Hand News it was clear this band was in fantastic form. Almost every song was made to be special — Tusk was almost scary and positively demented. Frequent nature scenes on the huge backdrop added mood to songs like Rhiannon. Not to be overlooked were the two backing players and three backup singers. Even the ballads had guts and drive.
This was no nostalgia act, Buckingham hinted, saying a new, prolific and profound chapter has begun. It’s a big claim but hard to dispute. Mac is back.
The band has seen its share of drama but that’s what you get with strong personalities. The payoff comes when everyone is pulling in the same direction. The concert seemed to concentrate that passion and let it fly, whether it was Fleetwood’s god of thunder drumming on Gold Dust Woman or Buckingham’s furious strumming on the very cool I Know I’m Not Wrong. And with post-deadline landmarks still to pass, whether it was Go Your Own Way or Don’t Stop, the well travelled road of this band seems to extend into the horizon.
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Cam Fuller / The StarPhoenix / Thursday, November 13, 2014