What happens when a band wise beyond its years reaches those years?
When Fleetwood Mac took the stage last night at Nationwide Arena for its first show in a 50-plus stop tour - its first in three years - the band played Rumours' "Second Hand News."
Funny, because second hand news the band is most definitely not. The Nationwide show was filled to the rafters with members of pretty much every generation alive. And as our music writer Chris DeVille highlighted in his concert preview, Fleetwood Mac is experiencing a surge of popularity among today's young indie musicians.
The show was a veritable playbook of rock history. The hits were in full supply, dominating most of the nearly two-hour long show. Song after song, it was amazing to think this band only had one U.S. No. 1 ("Dreams") when its hits have become stuff of musical treasure and the butter of classic rock radio.
Though a new song did come out of the evening with the band, starring singer Stevie Nicks, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood (Oh man, by the way, he killed. Fleetwood Mac's invaluable percussion is a primal heartbeat in black sheep's clothing. Fleetwood's the type of guy you'd wish to share a spot of tea and absinthe with if he still drank.). "Sad Angel" is part of an EP of new music the band plans to release in the coming days, Buckingham said. The song received a warm reception thanks to its up tempo, bleeding guitar moments and catchy chorus. They've still got their music writing magic. Nice to see they're not resting on decades-worth of laurels. These musicians are legends who have thrived for a reason.
Buckingham pointed out one of those reasons before singing three songs from the band's 1979 album Tusk. Nicks and Buckingham spoke a lot throughout the concert about their trials and joys as famous artists, and one of the most moving was when Buckingham talked about how the music industry can exploit a formula until it's dead and then move on to the next thing. Tusk was his "line in the sand" to not end up as a band used in that manner. Thank goodness. "Tusk" is one of my favorite songs; it never fails to get my blood boiling and seeing it played live was a personal highlight.
Last night was the first time the band played "Sisters of the Moon" on stage since the late '70s, just one of many treats for the Columbus crowd. Nicks dedicated "Landslide" to the audience, which was brought to its feet when, after playing "Landslide," Nicks and Buckingham gave each other a high five that turned into a hand hold. Another standing ovation came after Buckingham played "Big Love" by himself, calling the song a "meditation on the power and importance of change." We know so much about these two people, but we also know nothing at all. Seeing them still friends after all these years was a testament to how love, in all its forms, evolves and endures.
It would be difficult to see this show and not feel romantic, but from a production standpoint, Fleetwood Mac live rocks. The sound was awesome and the video work and closeup shots of the musicians - particularly of Buckingham playing difficult guitar parts - was thoughtful and much appreciated. Nicks was as radiant as ever.
Even if you are a newcomer to Mac mania (welcome, friends), go see this band live. Your head and heart will thank you.