It means whole. It should also mean satisfying. It should mean that everything comes together to be something full, that all the parts form something greater than the pieces to create, or recreate, that larger thing that means more and is more on every level, and is, ultimately, satisfying.
Something that is complete.
So, knowing that, understanding that, it should be a pretty much a given that the reforming of the classic lineup of Fleetwood Mac — the welcoming of Christine McVie back into the fold of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie — should make things whole again, should make things better.
It should have made things more complete.
That’s an understandable thought. That’s something that anyone who walked into Friday night’s Saddledome show by the blues-rock veterans should have have held. Especially considering it was a gig with no opening act, no intermission, and that it was two-plus hours of all the hits that the act delivered in their ’70s, genre-defying heyday.
You can add that the last time Fleetwood Mac came through, sans Christine McVie, it was a pretty mediocre and mailed-in evening of those familiar Fleetwood faves, songs that didn’t need to be performed in any manner other than competently for people to walk way thinking they saw something special.
Which makes it all the more disappointing, the fact that this band, seemingly made whole with the addition of McVie, was so much less than whole, or rather, just as not whole as when she was a missing member.
Friday night’s Saddledome date in front of 13,000 fans was as disappointing as its counterpart just over a year ago. It held none of that magic of previous great Mac concerts, with or without the lady, instead merely a rehash of the past.
Honestly, the band did nothing to harness the energy of that reclaimed member, chugging effortlessly and workmanlike through songs such as opener the Chain, Dreams, Rhiannon, Everywhere, Tusk, Landslide and Never Going Back Again without even vaguely acknowledging the presence of the woman who made them whole. The sound was adequate, not great, but that was only a minor part of the night and what went on.
Just as McVie was a bit player in an evening when she should have been celebrated and, according to other reviews from this tour, has been celebrated. That came only briefly at the end of the evening, prior to the introduction of Don’t Stop, which, again, was a song that your CD player could play with more enthusiasm than those on stage. And then during the final encore, when Nicks gave a weak intro to her friend, talking about the collective will and wishes of Mac fans who mad it happen.
No, despite this review’s focus, McVie’s not necessary, but when she’s there, barely utilized, and the band plugs away as if they are complete on their own, it’s a remarkably empty affair.
And the songs, so much a part of our lives, held very little weight, with main set closer Go Your Own Way little more than an FM shell of itself. It sounded as it should have but not what it could have been.
It didn’t help that there was very little connection with the audience, period, save for Nicks talking about the Calgary Flames physical therapist who helped her out the last time through. They were, as a whole, distant, not showing the results of the fun that their current tour were meant to incite. And us not feeling it either.
And the stage show, well, there was a giant screen disinterestedly displaying images, while the band stood in place, Buckingham perhaps the only member who showed any sort of flair throughout the evening, save for a by rote Fleetwood drum solo that paled in comparison to others he’s shared with a Calgary crowd. (I hope you remember the drum suit? There was none of that. None of that charm.)
Honestly, there are those who will assume this is fed by a dislike, but it’s the opposite. Fleetwood Mac are a band that no honest human being could disregard or dismiss, except for those with a cold, dead heart. This show, with them complete in their classic Rumours form, should have been so much more than the whatever it was.
There were parts, there were moments when it was something. But that never connected, it never connected.
Parts never became whole. It never came satisfied.
It never came complete.
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Mike Bell / Calgary Herald / Saturday, November 15, 2014