Fully-staffed Fleetwood Mac takes adoring Dallas crowd on a roller-coaster ride at American Airlines show.
Fleetwood Mac comprises former lovers, ex spouses, longtime friends and a tumultuous biography. Like any musical group that has survived decades of ups and downs, the members must constantly work at it to recapture their old chemistry.
That workmanlike spirit helped to define the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band’s sold-out show on Sunday night at American Airlines Center. Rejoined by vital vocalist and keyboardist Christine McVie after her 16-year-touring hiatus, the Mac leaned in admirably through a two-hour-plus performance that veered from soul-soothing to serviceable and back again.
Understandably, much fanfare was made of McVie’s return: Her warm, familiar vocals provided several highlights, from the smoky seduction of “You Make Loving Fun” to the melodic bliss of ’80s smashes “Everywhere” and “Little Lies.” Despite her solid performance, McVie was never one to bask in the spotlight.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, however, were more than happy to soak up the love of the audience on Sunday. With McVie on keys, her ex-husband, John, on bass and Mick Fleetwood behind his drums for most of the evening, it was up to the group’s two relative “newbies” to do the crowd work.
Buckingham kept the folks up front entertained by harnessing a twenty-something’s energy, frequently screaming out lyrical lines and jumping into rock-god postures. Nicks was simply herself — a twirling and swaying mystical sage armed with raspy power pipes and a streamer-clad tambourine.
When the band took the stage to kick things off with “The Chain,” the entire arena leapt to its feet and folks around me were pointing out Nicks to each other (“There she is!”). The three vocalists, embellished by a set of backup singers, took a full verse and chorus to fully find their harmonic sweet spot.
Nicks continued to get better and better throughout the night, at first avoiding the highest notes on “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” but later reaching the mountaintops on “Gypsy” and the spine-tingling classic, “Gold Dust Woman.” She and Buckingham shined during what was essentially an intermission for the rest of the band — a three-song mini-set consisting of “Big Love,” “Landslide” and “Never Going Back Again.” All spotlighted Buckingham’s acoustic finger-picking skills, while the middle song benefited from Nicks’ refreshingly unsentimental vocal delivery.
As other legacy bands are wont to do, Fleetwood Mac’s players introduced a few of their songs by recalling elements of the band’s backstory. Nicks charmed while explaining the origins of the first line of “Gypsy.” Buckingham spoke to how certain tunes’ meanings have changed for him over the years. McVie got the biggest laugh of the evening while introducing “Over My Head”: “This goes back to the days when John and I were still married. Remember that, John?”
Thirty or so dates into their current tour, now might be a good time for the Mac to consider making a few edits. For instance, unnecessary drum and guitar solos during “I’m So Afraid” significantly slowed down the pace toward the end of the show, a point when most acts would try to speed it up. And then came another odd drum solo during the encore set. Fleetwood shut his eyes, played a variety of rhythms and screamed at the crowd like a madman — it seemed indulgent, even if it might have given folks one more chance to hit the beer stands.
My few complaints probably won’t register with diehard fans of Fleetwood Mac. Anyone who delights in the band’s unique blend of creative voices would have been thrilled to hear Buckingham toast “a poetic, profound and prolific new chapter” from the stage.
A new album is expected next year, as well as a second leg of the On With the Show tour (it returns to AAC on March 4). If that means I’ll get to see Nicks twirl in the shadows one more time, sign me up.
Hunter Hauk / Dallas Morning News / Monday, December 15, 2014