In Twin Cities encore, Fleetwood Mac is more relaxed, in sync
The full “Rumours”-era lineup of Fleetwood Mac returned to the Twin Cities on Friday night for a triumphant, wildly entertaining performance at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 15,000 grinning, cheering fans.
Christine McVie, who retired in 1998 after the first “Rumours” reunion, rejoined the group last year. After spending time in the studio with Lindsey Buckingham for some songwriting and recording sessions (Stevie Nicks was busy promoting her solo album), the band hit the road for a tour that kicked off Sept. 30 at Minneapolis’ Target Center.
How much has the show changed in 3 1/2 months? Not at all, judging by the set list. The group played the same two dozen songs and even indulged in some of the same stage banter.
Beneath the surface, though, the evening radiated with a looser, more casual vibe. Back in September, the band played with nervous energy, flubbing some early numbers and echoing the same “I can’t believe I’m seeing this” vibe as the audience.
But the 39 concerts that followed, and several weeks off for the holidays, left us with a more polished, in-sync version of the band.
Now 71 and the oldest musician on stage, McVie impressed with her confident, strong vocals and the glow of a woman half her age. Her presence on stage has forced Nicks, 66, to step up her game in the vocals department. She’s chattier, too, and told Friday’s crowd “Landslide” was dedicated to her friend Prince.
Buckingham, 65 and the baby of the group, spent his time shouting, scowling, gritting his teeth and ripping one fiery guitar solo after another.
“Rumours” famously documents the destruction of three relationships: Buckingham and Nicks; Christine McVie and her bassist husband John; and drummer Mick Fleetwood and his wife Jenny Boyd. Why would, 38 years later, five of the six people involved share the stage and rehash decades-old issues. After all, they played nine of the 11 “Rumours” tracks Friday, along with “Silver Springs,” a b-side from the era.
Well, money has something to do with it. The single Target Center show in September pulled in more than $1.8 million. Scalpers are getting rich, too, as Forbes reported the tour is the most expensive ticket on the secondary market right now, with an average price of $305, above Taylor Swift ($260) and U2 ($255).
At the same time, artistry and mortality both figure in there as well. John McVie underwent cancer treatments in 2013. Buckingham and Nicks have both spent recent years focusing on well-received solo albums. And Buckingham’s grumpiness aside, there is a spark in the 2015 Fleetwood Mac that was missing during the ’00s tours.
As fun as it’s been to see them back together, twice now, it’s exciting to see if they still have got any great new music left in them. They should never break the chain.
Ross Raihala / TwinCities.com Pioneer Press / Friday, January 16, 2015