REVIEW: The Mac is back

Fleetwood Mac hits overdrive for 13,500 fans at Centrum; Fleetwood Mac at Worcester Centrum, Wednesday

Fleetwood Mac was on the spot. Even loyal partisans wondered if they could put aside their famed ego conflicts and pull together in concert. All year there have been rumors of a breakup, piled on top of rumors the band was losing steam and purpose.

But to all worry-warts and doubters came this emphatic news Wednesday: The Mac is Back.

Pledging a new stance of unity, the Mac roared through an exhilarating 160-minute show, leaving a full house of 13,500 fans in a blissful stupor.

“A lot of people thought Fleetwood Mac was no more, but we’re here to show you we’re still doing it!” singer Lindsey Buckingham shouted in a moment of bravado, setting the all-out, committed tone of the night.

Where the band’s new album, Mirage, was short on energy — helping fuel some of the negative rumors — their concert was a high-powered coup. Four songs from Mirage were played (Buckingham’s cascading “Eyes of the World,” Stevie’ Nick’s gracefully haunting “Gypsy,” Christine McVie’s breezy “Love in Store” and the band’s whimsical hit “Hold Me”), but each had an intensity, exemplified by Buckingham’s rejuvenated guitar, that far outshone the studio versions.

A big factor was drummer Mick Fleetwood, who drove the band as in the days of old. Raising his sticks in the air with his aircraft-carrier arms, he constantly pushed the band to smoking crescendos. Add to this John McVie’s reaffirmed bass work (a complete change from his languid jamming on John Mayall’s recent Bluesbreakers Reunion tour), and it was clear the Mac still had the rhythm section of rhythm sections.

After a nifty warmup set from Men at Work, who literally worked hard with an active stage show on top of creative, sophisticated rock, Fleetwood romped through their hits (heavy doses from their Rumours LP), sliced with judicious cuts from their experimental Tusk LP (Buckingham’s “Not That Funny” included a spectacular, African-tinged drum solo by tireless drummer Fleetwood) and a remembrance of Mac founder Peter Green in a cover of his blues-rock anthem “Oh Well.”

Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie were equally keyed up. Nicks staggered at first (she was off-key on “Rhiannon”), but shed her nervousness and joined the festive spirit, kissing the other members in a very intimate, unplanned gesture. McVie, the Mac’s earthy anchor, sang beautifully all evening, pouring out tete-a-tete romantic dialogues.

No songs were done from any members’ solo albums. This was a strictly Fleetwood Mac night, suffused by a camaraderie and unselfishness that laid all worries to rest.

Steve Morse / Boston Globe / September 17, 1982

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