Fleetwood Mac last made new music together in 2003, but the band’s heyday ended nearly 30 years ago with “Tango In the Night,” its final multi-platinum album. That technically makes Fleetwood Mac a legacy act, largely living on reputation.
You wouldn’t have thought so Tuesday night at the KFC Yum! Center, where the band performed with a passion that belied a setlist dating back to 1975. They brought new life to songs that are familiar — overly familiar in some cases — and obliterated any notions that they’re simply cashing in on nostalgia.
Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie clearly have nothing against nostalgia as the show was top loaded with the band’s finest material. It began with a run of “The Chain,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Dreams,” “Second Hand News” and “Rhiannon” — all major hits that remain staples of rock radio.
That’s more classics in less than 20 minutes than many bands can muster in two hours, but Fleetwood Mac didn’t coast. They delivered them all with a powerful conviction that made the music seem almost shockingly vital and alive.
It didn’t hurt that Buckingham, Nicks and Christine McVie all sang as if time hasn’t taken much of a toll. McVie, who came out of retirement for this tour, retains much of the honeyed warmth that gives her songs such tenderness. Nicks was in surprisingly supple form, her reedy vibrato in full effect, and Buckingham didn’t hold anything back.
It’s hard to overstate how much the return of McVie informed the concert. Fleetwood Mac has had a history of rotating members since forming in 1967, but this is the definitive lineup. It just makes sense in every way.
The dynamic of McVie’s delicacy contrasted by Nicks’ multicolored daydreaming and Buckingham’s almost callous directness is what transformed Fleetwood Mac from a mildly successful band of journeymen into one of history’s biggest acts. That combination still makes magic.
Here’s the full setlist:
“You Make Loving Fun”
“Second Hand News”
“I Know I’m Not Wrong”
“Sisters of the Moon”
“Say You Love Me”
“Never Going Back Again”
“Over My Head”
“Gold Dust Woman”
“I’m So Afraid”
“Go Your Own Way”
Jeffrey Lee Puckett can be reached at (502) 582-4160, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter, @JLeePuckett.
Jeffrey Lee Puckett / The Courier-Journal / Wednesday, February 18, 2015