The return of the band’s classic line-up on their On With the Show tour is cause for celebration – and fascination.
“Let’s get this party started!” isn’t the introduction you expect at a Fleetwood Mac show, and especially not from Stevie Nicks, creator of the Hollywood Hills hippie-mystic archetype. But tonight is the 82nd gig of their year-long On With the Show tour and Nicks, splendid in trailing black lace, feels they’ve turned a corner in their relationship with Christine McVie. The singer-pianist’s nervousness about rejoining after a 16-year break has given way to wholehearted mucking in. Nodding towards McVie’s keyboard, behind which she is tall and commanding, Nicks roars: “Now I think we can safely say our girl is back!”
Mac returning to their classic configuration is cause for celebration, and not just because it lets us hear one of pop’s great songbooks performed by the five people who wrote it. There’s also the fascination of seeing them accommodate each other: Lindsey Buckingham, Nicks and McVie get equal front-time, and use it in ways that make you wonder how such disparate personalities functioned in the same group.
Nicks is the spell-casting sensualist, reedily fronting Dreams, Rhiannon and Landslide (dedicating the last to her father and singer Adele); Buckingham’s emotional collapse after years of “leading the lifestyle” is re-created in the angular battering he gives Tusk and Big Love. And McVie is somehow veiled and private, even when singing about bliss and its turbulent aftermath on Everywhere and Little Lies. Mick Fleetwood also gets his eventual moment, with a drum solo on World Turning, but he and John McVie are the perfect rhythm section – there without being too there.
There’s nothing to fault except Nicks’s getting so lost in her cocaine-warning song, Gold Dust Woman, that it goes on for a week – time that could have been better spent hearing the blaring Tusk again. Apart from that, it’s just about perfect.
Caroline Sullivan / The Guardian / Thursday, May 28, 2015