EDMONTON – Nostalber? Novemgia?
Gross. Neither roll off the tongue with ease — so let’s just call this month our November of Nostalgia, what with veteran acts such as Darkroom, John Fogerty, Motley Crue and the smalls reliving their glory years on stages around Edmonton.
Saturday night was Fleetwood Mac’s turn — complete with the return of singer/keyboardist Christine McVie after a 16-year respite at her country manor in England.
“Welcome back, Chris!” gushed Stevie Nicks after the classic rockers performed their first McVie-led tune, You Make Loving Fun. “We’ve played about 22 shows and she seems pretty happy to be back.”
So were 13,000 fans after the Mac’s 2-1/2 hour show at Rexall Place.
You make Fleetwood fun: Thanks to the re-inclusion of McVie, the fivesome played nine songs they couldn’t (or didn’t dare attempt without her) during their 2013 visit to Edmonton.
The first five tunes were almost identical to their previous set — The Chain (featuring John McVie’s sublime bass breakdown), Dreams, Second Hand News and Rhiannon — but then the Mac started to change it up with Everywhere, a summery number starring Christine McVie’s husky but airy pipes. Other additions included Say You Love Me, Over My Head, Little Lies and Songbird, a piano ballad which closed the concert. (Of course, the band had to subtract some tunes to make up for all these “new” ones — with Sara and Nicks’ solo hit, Stand Back, being two of the victims.)
Highlights: Tusk, as always, was a raucous crowd pleaser, punctuated with Lindsey Buckingham’s shouts and delirious horn bursts. Little Lies, with its fluty synths and intricate vocal interplay between McVie, Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, was another blissful moment. It might very well be THE perfect Fleetwood Mac song.
Low notes: If I MUST offer a criticism, I’d say all the thank yous — from all three singers — off the top were a bit much. And perhaps I’d cut I’m So Afraid, a mid-tempo rocker featuring one of Buckingham’s blazing guitar solos, from the set. On second thought …
Most valuable performer: McVie, of course. As a kid, I couldn’t stand her voice, but I’ve since realized the errors of my ways. She’s essential to the Mac. No one else on Earth possesses her vocal timbre — she sounds like a rich, smokey red wine with hints of honey. She looks fabulous, too. More than a few men and women in the crowd marvelled at her age. She’s 71. “She’s been working out every day since February,” gushed Nicks. “Not me.”
McVie also seems to make everyone around her better — most notably, Nicks. (A little healthy competition, perhaps?) Her tangy voice sounded more supple than it did last year on songs such as Dreams, Seven Wonders, Gypsy and the poignant Landslide, which she dedicated to the “Universal Consciousness of Edmonton.” Awesome. “And I saw my reflection in the snooooooooooooow,” she warbled, putting extra emphasis on the four-letter word, perhaps just for us.
MacRoyalty: Buckingham was no slouch, either, showing off his furious guitar prowess on Big Love and Never Going Back Again. Not to be outdone, Mick Fleetwood offered a big-grinned drum solo on World Turning during the first of two encores. “Don’t be shy,” he said. Translation: APPLAUSE PLEASE.
Over my head: A large screen at the back of the stage intermittently lit up with images of Pre-Raphaelite women, raindrops, forests and Buckingham’s crazy faces. Otherwise, Fleetwood Mac’s set was short on stage props — and long on heavenly harmonies, impeccable musicianship and mutual love between band members.
Don’t stop: “May Fleetwood Mac come back … again and again. Next time, they’ll need to bring a unicorn (or winged horse) — and Christine,” reads an excerpt from the Journal’s review of the band’s 2013 show.
One out of three ain’t bad. Next time, they’ll need to bring those new tunes they’ve been talking about.
© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal
Sandra Sperounes / Edmonton Journal / Saturday, November 15, 2014