Fleetwood Mac, the irrepressible pop-rock engine, rolled into Milwaukee Thursday with a huff and puff and as much energy as its aging members could muster. All things considered, that energy proved to be considerable.
Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who turns 66 on Oct. 3, is the band’s youngest member, and the numbers only go up from there. But none of that mattered to a mixed-age audience of the faithful, who all but filled the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Given that the band’s lineup also included stalwarts Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on bass, vocalist Stevie Nicks on ribbon-bedecked tambourine, and for the first time in a long, long time, vocalist Christine McVie on keyboards, Fleetwood Mac’s most successful combination was back together again.
Given the age of its members, the band fairly well rocked the walls with a running list of favorite hits on the 54th concert of its current tour. The group played against a fairly engaging backdrop of downright inventive visual imagery that helped drive some the audience’s elder members to gyrate and throb as if on some virulent form of Ecstasy (or perhaps Metamucil).
You name the hit, Fleetwood Mac played it, with a sometimes manic-looking Fleetwood mallet-thumping the skins with almost youthful abandon. Cancer survivor John McVie literally hid in the shadow of Fleetwood’s massive drum kit, while his ex-wife, Christine, Nicks and Buckingham formed the band’s frontline.
The nearly three-hour concert opened with “The Chain,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Dreams” before the band even engaged its visuals. The concert’s pace was measured and the between-song banter bright enough to keep the musicians familiar and endearing, although Buckingham’s yelps and squawks made him sound like an overage rocker bad-boy long gone to seed.
Years on the road no doubt offered some insights to the aging arena rockers, who were supported by a much younger seven-piece squad of musicians, including three female backup singers, performing in shadow behind the band. The youngsters helped round out the sound and fill the cavernous hall, but Buckingham’s impressive guitar work still fronted the performance, reminding all what an accomplished musician he really is.
Familiar hits filled the show, including “Rhiannon,” a trippy “Tusk,” “Gypsy,” a touching “Landslide” performed by Nicks and Buckingham, “Go Your Own Way” and others for a 24-song lineup.
Early on Buckingham welcomed Christine McVie back, saying the band was on its way to a “profound, poetic and I think a prolific new chapter.” Despite that, Christine McVie’s anthem “Don’t Stop” was not on the evenings’ playlist.
Maybe the future won’t be quite as progressive as Buckingham thinks, but in the minds and hearts of the faithful, the only “tomorrow” they’re concerned about is one in which Fleetwood Mac comes back real soon.
Michael Muckian / Express Milwaukee / Saturday, February 14, 2015