The big news about the current Fleetwood Mac jaunt — dubbed the On With the Show tour — was the return of Christine McVie after her departure in 1998. The recent reconciliation certainly added an element of awe to their Sunday night performance at the Frank Erwin Center, the beloved band’s first appearance on that stage since 1982.
Yet, while the songstress shone during her spotlights — particularly on a rousing romp through “Little Lies” and again with the show-ending, stripped-down piano ballad “Songbird” — there were poignant performances by each musician. During the course of the almost 3-hour show, the real headline became clear: 40 years on, the members of this quintet, filled out by bassist John McVie, drummer Mick Fleetwood, vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, are as essential to each other as they are to the foundations of rock and roll.
One only had to soak in the unassailable chemistry of the tracks pulled from this group’s first and second full-lengths together, 1975’s self-titled Fleetwood Mac and 1977’s Rumours, to attest to that fact. Opening track “The Chain” imbued the audience with an instant jolt, while Buckingham’s virtuoso solo run of “Never Going Back Again” inspired equal parts reverent silence and wild cheers throughout its perfectly-picked valleys and peaks, “Over My Head” was still striking in its perfect pop splendor, and Nicks’ bewitching throes during “Gold Dust Woman” supplanted any notions of age with arresting allure.
Similar transformations occurred throughout the show, first as Buckingham sashayed and shredded across the stage during “Tusk” with the brashness of a teenage boy, and again during Fleetwood’s extended drum solo on “World Turning” where he was reminiscent of a young punk riling his crowd for one final rally.
Those vignettes of eternal youth, signs of a sublime symbiosis between the musicians and their songs, were what made the band’s return to Central Texas so special. Most of the tunes are timeless, and in those moments of pure aural abandon, it felt like Fleetwood Mac’s players could live forever, too.
David Hall / Austin Culture Map / Tuesday, March 3, 2015