When you have a record in your quiver like Rumours, one of the best-selling albums of all time with 45 million copies sold, you can kick off a concert like Fleetwood Mac did Saturday in its second sold-out stop at TD Garden this month. Especially if you have Christine McVie back after a 16-year retirement to join Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in restoring all three of the lead singers from that 1977 classic.
Hence came the “Keep us together” chorus of opener “The Chain,” one of four straight jukebox-worthy tunes from Rumours, followed by Nicks’ signature 1975 smash “Rhiannon.” Yet beyond the nostalgic joy of having all three voices harmonize those vintage hits, Buckingham then announced a new “profound and prolific chapter” for the band, an allusion to songs reportedly in the works for a comeback album.
But no new songs, solo songs or pre-Buckingham/Nicks songs showed up in Fleetwood Mac’s two-and-a-half hour set, which actually grew stronger as it branched deeper into this quintet’s musical personalities (lengthy banter aside). Pianist McVie, the eldest band member at 71, beamed positivity into edge-of-sappy pop like “Say You Love Me” and “Over My Head.” Nicks tempered her witchy mystique for earthy, resonant delivery even in mid-set “Sisters of the Moon” and “Seven Wonders,” which she admitted wouldn’t have been done if not for its inclusion in the TV series “American Horror Story.” Buckingham hit virtuoso extremes from solo acoustic selections to his stinging, finger-picked guitar climax to “I’m So Afraid” while stoking the rock edge of “Go Your Own Way” with tribal drummer Mick Fleetwood, who fueled the energy of “World Turning” despite his overdone solo bash. Only bassist John McVie, recovering from cancer surgery, played the silent partner.
They all looked good and sounded spot-on musically and vocally, so did they really need three female backup singers, an extra guitarist and an extra keyboardist? “Tusk” was powerful before pre-recorded horns synced to video of the USC Trojan Marching Band that graced the album. Band members seemed in fine spirits as well, complimenting each other left and right, apparently quite sincere and happy about it all. Granted, they’re boosting a lucrative brand, starting with pricey sold-out concert tickets. And they must be in better mental and physical shape than in the cocaine-fueled days that Rumours was made, when relationships (between Buckingham and Nicks as well as the divorcing McVies) were in tatters.
Mac fans (especially many who never caught this full classic lineup) would do well to jump on this bandwagon — if they can afford a ticket, and perhaps before any new songs arrive for better or worse (Saturday’s main misstep was 1987’s glossy “Little Lies,” set to video of made-up young eyes and lips). Beyond a date this Saturday in Hartford, Conn., the band just added shows into the new year, including the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. on Jan. 28 and Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun on Feb. 7.
Paul Robicheau / The Improper Bostonian / Monday, October 27, 2014