REVIEW: ‘OK, I liked it’

A last minute thing for me. Didn’t expect to go see Fleetwood Mac. My friend and ex-roommate Max Comeau was also there. Seated somewhere on the floor. A musician himself and very much influenced by the band, he breathes their music to survive. He introduced me to Fleetwood Mac among other music back at the beginning of the millennium. Are friendship didn’t last long though due to many disagreements. Now we’re friends again because we’re mature people, sort of, and we agree to disagree on stuff.

The show was at the Bell Centre. Yawn. On the floor were chairs. Double yawn. I understand having a show at the Bell Centre when you’re a super group but you’ve got to at least have the floor free of chairs no? It’s just more exciting. Max pointed out though that pretty much everybody was standing up from their chairs in the first rows. I had a nice seat in the red zone not so far away from the soundman. A woman in the aisle next to me was having the time of her life, dancing to all her favorite songs, until someone told her to sit down because she was blocking the view. Yes! We’re at the Bell Centre.

The place was packed but not sold out. Still that’s good news. I was told Fleetwood Mac once cancelled a Montreal show. The official reason was scheduling conflicts but Max believes it was because of poor ticket sales. It happens sometimes in Montreal. A show cancelled or moved to a smaller venue. Last year, I was very lucky to see M. Ward at the Petit Campus. He was originally booked at the Corona. This year, Benjamin Booker has his show moved from the Corona to the Sala Rossa.

Back to Fleetwood Mac. I love the album Rumours with its catchy music. Pop rock songs are usually not my thing but in this case the melodies are just too good. I was happy to hear many of the songs from that album. And even songs that weren’t from Rumours I would recognize. Where Max and I differ is our love for the band. I guess I’m not a huge fan like many of the attendees that night. Having Lindsey give a speech between two songs with a certain self-importance bothered me. Max, on the other hand, knows every little detail about them. “This is a nerd talking” he would say before pointing out that Lindsey Buckingham upped the tempo (10% to 15%) to unnerve Stevie Nicks during “Landslide.” I did see some tension between band members but at this point I wonder if it’s real or all for show.

I enjoyed it very much but without getting carried away. Had it been in a smaller venue (in my dreams right?), standing and dancing in a tight crowd to those wonderful songs, I would’ve savored it more.

China Marsot-Wood / RReverb / Monday, February 9, 2015

REVIEW: The gypsy magic is back

I arrived at my seat wearing a fur cape and a newly acquired Fleetwood Mac baseball cap, beer in hand, channeling my inner Miss Nicks, ready to kick it old school to one of the greatest bands in the history of music. The last bit of that previous statement is indisputable; it’s a fact. Little did I know they were about to prove just how iconic they truly are. 

The second they took the stage and started to play the unmistakable first chords of “The Chain” it hit me that there was more magic in that room than at every circus and children’s birthday party in the entire world, ever. I have never in my life seen so many different people, spanning in age from adolescence to old-enough-to-walk-with-a-cane, light up all at once. I don’t mean that in the traditional concert sense, with lighters or cell phones, I mean peoples’ souls lit up.

The fact that they opened the show with four songs off of Rumours (“The Chain,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Dreams” and “Second Hand News”) was enough for me to pack my shit up and go home satisfied but they continued to deliver.

 At one point I had to go pee, and you better believe I ran to the bathroom, and upon realizing my stall was out of toilet paper I asked the lady next to me if she could spare some. She kindly obliged and cheerily added something about how Tusk was a safe song for a bathroom break. I thought, “Hello? There is no’safe song’” and I ran back.

The members of Fleetwood Mac were in visibly good spirits all through the night, laughing and joking with each other, praising each other and even taking little moments to hug and kiss each other. Some of the most notable moments: Stevie’s insane gypsy fashion — which she told a short story about right before singing “Gypsy.” Something about dreaming about shopping at the Velvet Underground store when she was young and broke and harboring a burning desire to channel her inner Janice Joplin and Grace Slick — which was on point as ever. From her various glittery scarves (she wore a gold one during “Gold Dust Woman”! Like…!) to her top hat to her fingerless leather gloves, not to mention her graceful gypsy dance moves. Mick Fleetwood’s energy! The dude is three times my age and did the most epic, ridiculous drum solo I have ever seen, which should be YouTube searched immediately if not sooner. Everything, from the lighting to the melodies to the energy coming from them as a group and as individual artists was perfect.

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham gave a nice welcoming introduction to Christine McVie for those who were unaware that it was a huge deal that she was even there at all. Buckingham called her return “poetic and prolific.” McVie hadn’t performed with Fleetwood Mac for over 15 years, as Stevie Nicks mentioned again towards the end of the show. Nicks stated that she truly believed it was the “collective energy” of the fans that brought her back, that one morning we must have all been putting that one same thought into the universe and that Christine received the message loud and clear. As Miss Nicks said, “We all know that whatever we ask from the universe, we receive.” I don’t know if that really works, but if the Fairy Godmother of This Galaxy says it does, then I believe her.

They ended with “Go Your Own Way,” which may have been an obvious choice but still one I appreciated the humor in, whether that was intentional or not. There were two encores, the last of which was just Christine sitting at her piano performing “Songbird.” I can’t say I didn’t cry a little. I can’t say I didn’t cry a lot. It truly was one of the most breathtaking moments of my life so far. The image of the spotlight focused just on her and all the aforementioned lighters and cell phones lighting up the Bell Center will forever be etched in my memory.

Stevie told us to never give up on our dreams, Mick told us to remember that the Mac is definitely back. But as they took their final bows I wondered if they were aware that they had never really left at all; not our minds, not our hearts and certainly not our ears. Hopefully they’ll be with us for forty more years to come.

Celina Flores / Montreal Rampage / Sunday, February 8, 2015

VIDEOS 2/5: Bell Centre, Montreal QC

Fleetwood Mac performed in the French Canadian city of Montréal on Thursday night.

Lindsey practiced his limited French to the amusement of the crowd just before performing “Big Love.”

[slideshow_deploy id=’38123′]

Date Venue Location Reviews Show # Total
Thursday, February 5, 2015 Bell Centre Montreal, Quebec
  2. Montreal Gazette
  3. Montreal Rampage
  4. Rick Keene Music Scene
11 51


Thanks to Eric Blain, Michael Cournoyer, DailyHoneylie, Gilles Gagné, Tammy Jamieson, Rick Keene, Ken Lawenda, Michel M, Dirk Schlimm, ShookMeBaby LucGrisé, smacksaw, and Frank Tremblay for sharing these videos!

The Chain (Frank Tremblay)

The Chain (Tammy Jamieson)

Dreams (Dirk Schlimm)

Dreams (ShookMeBaby LucGrisé)

Dreams (Gilles Gagné)

Rhiannon (smacksaw)

Everywhere (Ken Lawenda)

Tusk (Frank Tremblay)

Say You Love Me (Tammy Jamieson)

Seven Wonders (Eric Blain)

Big Love – short clip (Rick Keene)

Landslide (Frank Tremblay)

Landslide (ShookMeBaby LucGrisé) 

Landslide (smacksaw)

Landslide (Michel M)

Little Lies (ShookMeBaby LucGrisé)

Gold Dust Woman – short clip (Rick Keene)

I’m So Afraid – partial (Rick Keene)

I’m So Afraid – short clip (Frank Tremblay)

Go Your Own Way – short clip (Rick Keene)

World Turning / Band Introductions (ShookMeBaby LucGrisé)

Don’t Stop – sideways for 35 seconds (Michael Cournoyer)

Band Introductions / Don’t Stop  (ShookMeBaby LucGrisé)

Don’t Stop (Ken Lawenda)

Compilation (DailyHoneylie)

Dirk Schlimm
Dirk Schlimm

REVIEW: No weak links in The Chain

Concert review: No weak links in Fleetwood Mac’s chain

[slideshow_deploy id=’38123′]

For a band that was once famously defined by personal drama and rancour, Fleetwood Mac’s members were almost as generous toward one another as they were to the nearly 12,400 fans who spent 2 1/2 hours in their company at the Bell Centre Thursday night.

The narrative of this tour is the return of keyboardist Christine McVie, which completes the group’s most popular lineup for the first time since 1998. She certainly received her due welcome from the audience and from her bandmates, but the quintet shared the glory, both between its members and as an ensemble.

And what glory. There’s no new album to promote (although one is in the works), and the most recent numbers in Thursday’s show were from the 1987 disc Tango in the Night, with more than half of the set list drawn from the 1975 self-titled release and 1977’s world-conquering Rumours. But this didn’t feel like a nostalgic evening. The performance was absolutely contemporary and, with McVie back, there was an air both of taking care of unfinished business and setting up a new venture.

The crackling energy was there from the walk-on to “The Chain,” while drummer Mick Fleetwood’s clockwork timekeeping, John McVie’s strapping bass and Lindsey Buckingham’s swampy guitar telegraphed that the band’s locked-in interplay hadn’t diminished. (About the only wrong note of the night was a breakdown in the Bell Centre welcome staff’s usual military efficiency, with security checks causing a chaotic logjam at the entrance.)

Speaking of precision, Stevie Nicks made an early note that this was the 51st show of the tour. “In the beginning, I would have said: a) ‘Welcome, Montreal,’ and second, ‘Welcome, Chris.’ … Today I think we can say, with caution abandoned, ‘She’s ba-ack!’ ”

Charismatic even when she was rooted in place, Nicks went on to lose herself inside “Dreams” before Buckingham — the only member to routinely venture to the lip of the stage — led a bracing “Second Hand News” as if the 38-year-old cut was being shared for the first time. Although Christine McVie’s upper-register vocals were a touch strained in Everywhere (but appealingly earthy everywhere else), that sunny delight was also rejuvenated, and stripped of its ’80s gloss.

Buckingham offered his own welcome to McVie when he spoke of “beginning a profound and prolific new chapter.” It may not have been a coincidence that Fleetwood Mac’s most forward-thinking member said this before a mini-block from 1979’s Tusk, the band’s messy masterpiece of art over commercialism.

The title track’s marching-band strangeness remained delightfully odd — and not just by this group’s classicist standards — with Christine McVie on accordion, Buckingham playing the madman card to the hilt, and three auxiliary players contributing more than the almost imperceptible shading offered elsewhere. Nicks’s carefully possessed lead in Sisters of the Moon was supplemented by haunted harmonies from an understated trio of backup singers.

The quick-change pacing of the show’s first hour or so turned far more casual in the back half, starting with an intimate acoustic section that could have taken place in a club setting. Buckingham made conversation before his solo performance of Big Love, once “a contemplation on alienation and now a meditation on the power and importance of change.” True to his words, the solemn but flashy fingerpicking was a revelation, and far removed from the slick original. Nicks joined Buckingham for “Landslide,” stunning in its stillness, before the duo added a note of darkness to “Never Going Back Again.”

“Over My Head” saw the return of the full band, the introduction of Fleetwood’s front-of-stage “cocktail kit” and a reminiscence from Christine McVie about the time spent “sort of floundering, looking for a new guitarist” before Buckingham joined for the eponymous 1975 album. Setting up “Gypsy,” Nicks offered a history lesson of her own, a touching recollection of window shopping at San Francisco’s Velvet Underground rock-star clothing boutique before she was a star herself. The songs-and-stories format may have helped slow the show’s momentum, but they also helped make one of the top-selling bands in the world seem approachable.

The home stretch included a number of extended showcases: “Gold Dust Woman” climaxed with Nicks swaying across the stage in a glittering shawl; Buckingham enjoyed a caustic centrepiece in “I’m So Afraid”; Fleetwood had the stage to himself for a crazy-eyed shamanic routine in the middle of “World Turning.”

But of course, “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop” were the real climactic crowd-pleasers, with those larger-than-life harmonies as potent as ever. The quintet’s camaraderie was at its strongest in the former, with the tireless Buckingham speeding around Nicks, who had donned a bejewelled top hat, and careering into John McVie.

Fleetwood’s splashy introductions of his colleagues in the encore were brimming with affection: Buckingham with his “beady eye on the future,” Nicks the “eternal romantic,” John McVie “always on my right-hand side,” Christine McVie “making all of this so complete — our songbird has returned.”

Nice tee-up, as McVie returned for a second encore of “Songbird,” delivering her most tender vocal of the night accompanied only by Buckingham. It was a poignant final word, given an equally poignant afterword when Nicks made an endearingly rambling speech. In all her cosmic wisdom, she credited the audience for willing McVie back into the band. Her gratitude for the circle being unbroken tied into Buckingham’s earlier prediction of a “profound and prolific new chapter.” We’ll see about prolific. In light of the rewards from Thursday’s concert, profound is a fait accompli. |

Jordan Zivitz / Montreal Gazette / Friday, February 6, 2015

REVIEW: It’s only a goodbye

This review was translated by Google Translate. The original review appears after the translated review.

Fleetwood Mac in Montréal: It’s only a goodbye

MONTREAL – It was nostalgic evening at the Bell Centre on Thursday night for the last tour of the legendary group Fleetwood Mac. Baby Boomers and amateur folk 1970 atmospheric rock have made an appointment in an atmosphere where the quintet chained success.

Wasting no time, the five members of the group that as with British American veterans Mick Fleetwood and John McVie (who gave their name to training), first met in Montreal, began the show by performing one after The Chain, You Make Loving Fun and beautiful Dreams, all derived from Rumours, their legendary album, which sold 40 million copies.

Then the singer Stevie Nicks, still with his charismatic look wolf and her long sparkly scarves that kink around his hands, came to charm Montreal by mixing French and English. “Good evening, thank you. Let’s get this party started, “said she shouted to the adoring crowd.

She later said the return to Montreal pianist Christine McVie who was not present at previous shows. “Welcome back Chris,” commented Nicks. Moreover, on several occasions, training members celebrated the return of the artist.
Rock virtuoso

The group followed with Second Hand News and Rhiannon. The show became more rock with parts Everywhere, I Know I’m Not Wrong and Tusk where the stripper guitarist Lindsey Buckingham can show all his virtuosity. “We are so happy to be here in Montreal,” he proclaimed after releasing a cry.

Stevie Nicks continued with Sisters of The Moon Tusk album and Say You Love Me. A very folk rock followed the Seven Wonders where the artist showed again the extent of his voice.

Lindsey Buckingham, very comfortable on stage, has also made a ham trying to sing in French. Then he delivered a moving speech about his past experiences and the power to change before going with the song Big Love, heartfelt. A moment of mastery by this exceptional guitarist, a true showman who was strongly applauded by the crowd of more than 12,000 attendees.

Nicks came then join his former partner on stage for another magical moment. Surrounded by stars that seemed to escape the screens, the singer sang the beautiful Landslide, folk ballad with country overtones. Again asked the crowd, the applause was at its peak! The beautiful and great American music.

All hits marched one after the other. In Over My Head to Go Your Own Way that the group had saved for last.

As a reminder, Fleetwood Mac again pleases its fans with another piece grand, Don’t Stop, revived in the 1990s by Bill Clinton, who had used during his election campaign.

In the end, only disappointment some sound addicts especially during times over rocks which made us lose the musical nuances. But no hide his pleasure and all would like to review these tireless soixantenaires for another lap.

Original Review

Fleetwood Mac à Montréal: ce n’est qu’un au revoir

MONTRÉAL – C’était soirée nostalgie jeudi soir au Centre Bell pour l’ultime tournée du groupe mythique Fleetwood Mac. Baby-boomers et amateurs de folk rock atmosphérique 1970 se sont donné rendez-vous dans une ambiance où le quintette a enchaîné les succès.

Sans perdre de temps, les cinq membres du groupe britano-américain dont les vétérans Mick Fleetwood et John McVie (qui ont donné leur nom à la formation), pour la première fois réunis à Montréal, ont amorcé le spectacle en interprétant coup sur coup The Chain, You Make Loving Fun et le superbe Dreams, tous tirés de Rumours, leur légendaire album, vendu à 40 millions d’exemplaires.

Puis, la chanteuse Stevie Nicks, toujours aussi charismatique avec son regard de louve et ses longs foulards scintillants qui s’entortillent autour de ses mains, est venue charmer Montréal en mêlant le français et l’anglais. «Good evening, merci beaucoup. Let’s get this party started», a-t-elle crié à la foule conquise.

Elle a par la suite souligné le retour à Montréal de la pianiste Christine McVie qui n’était pas présente lors des spectacles précédents. «Bon retour Chris», a lancé Nicks. D’ailleurs, à plusieurs occasions, les membres de la formation ont célébré le retour de l’artiste.

Rock virtuose

Le groupe a enchaîné avec Second Hand News, puis Rhiannon. Le spectacle est devenu davantage rock avec les pièces Everywhere, I Know I’m Not Wrong et Tusk où le décapant guitariste Lindsey Buckingham peut montrer toute sa virtuosité. «Nous sommes tellement contents d’être ici à Montréal», a-t-il clamé après avoir lâché un cri.

Stevie Nicks a poursuivi avec Sisters of The Moon de l’album Tusk, puis Say You Love Me. A suivi la très folk rock Seven Wonders où l’artiste a montré encore l’étendu de sa voix.

Lindsey Buckingham, très à l’aise sur la scène, s’est aussi fait cabotin en essayant de chanter en français. Puis, il a livré un très émouvant discours sur ses expériences passées et le pouvoir de changer avant d’y aller avec la chanson Big Love, bien sentie. Un moment de maestria par ce guitariste d’exception, véritable bête de scène qui a été fortement applaudie par la foule de plus de 12 000 personnes présentes.

Nicks est venue alors rejoindre son ancien compagnon sur scène pour un autre moment magique. Entourés d’étoiles qui semblaient s’échapper des écrans, la chanteuse a entonné la magnifique Landslide, ballade folk aux relents country. La foule en a redemandé, l’applaudimètre était à son apogée! De la belle et grande musique américaine.

Tous les grands succès ont défilé les uns après les autres. De Over My Head à Go Your Own Way que le groupe avait gardé pour la fin.

En rappel, Fleetwood Mac a encore fait plaisir à ses fans avec un autre grandissime morceau, Don’t Stop, relancé dans les années 1990 par Bill Clinton qui l’avait utilisé lors de sa campagne électorale.

Au final, une seule déception, quelques accros sonores surtout lors des moments plus rocks qui nous faisait perdre les nuances musicales. Mais personne n’a boudé son plaisir et tous aimeraient revoir ces infatigables soixantenaires pour un autre tour de piste.

Ismaël Houdassine / / Friday, February 6, 2015

REVIEW: Time stands still

Fleetwood Mac at Bell Centre in Montreal: Time stands still

Fleetwood Mac are one of the biggest selling groups of all time. Over 100 million albums sold. Not so bad. Thursday, February 5th 2015 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, they showed why. And then some.

Christine McVie is on board for the first time in sixteen years. Sixteen is sweet. Sixteen is an even number, and now Fleetwood Mac are even once more.

During the almost three hour, no intermission, no opening act show, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham displayed their pleasure of having the ‘prodigal girl’ return. “Complete” was the word Fleetwood used.

Seldom does a group come along which places all the elements of the music universe in one tight package. Vocals as harmonic as angels singing in heaven. A battery section void of any miscues. Songwriting as diverse as music itself. Lyrics as poetic as a romantic dinner by candlelight. Guitar solos straight out of the best ‘”how-to” book. Fleetwood Mac has it all.

Rumours, that 1977 album which everyone in the world owned or owns, was the flagship last night. A collection of songs which defined Fleetwood Mac and placed them into the upper echelons of rock music. A Fleetwood Mac show, because of this,  is also in the upper echelon of rock concerts.

The evening commenced with “The Chain.” A link to that glorious album Rumours which immediately set the tone and lit a fire into the frozen mindset of the almost sold out Bell Centre.

There is something sinister in Mac’s music. An underlying demonic tone which offsets the vocals of McVie and Nicks. A combination of Buckingham’s guitar work and skillful songwriting. Add Fleetwood’s crisp snare-work – no wonder it takes almost every band four albums to match Fleetwood Mac’s legendary disc.

Track list: Side One

1. Second Hand News – Played

2. Dreams – Played

3. Never Going Back Again – Played

4. Don’t Stop – Played

5. Go Your Own Way – Played

6. Songbird – Played

Track list: Side Two

1. The Chain – Played

2. You Make Loving Fun- Played

3. I Don’t Want to Know

4. Oh Daddy

5. Gold Dust Woman – Played

Nine of eleven tracks from Rumours played in a two hour and forty-five minute set. Nine songs which, with eyes closed, placed a patron last night back in the basement on a couch in the late seventies and dreaming of the future. As in “Dreams.”

There were other songs. Tunes which gave the band re-birth with an album called Tango in the Night. A cleaner, post-vinyl Mac which displayed Nicks’ talents and almost placed her above the band. “Everywhere,” “Seven Wonders,” “Little Lies,” and “Big Love.” Four tracks which made purists shudder in 1987 yet are now classics in the songbook of purists. The foursome played and sang last night as pure and true to Fleetwood Mac’s second biggest selling disc.

Stevie Nicks is mystical. Some people have that je ne sais quoi component embedded into their souls. Stevie, complete with a black top hat, is one of those special people. Her voice last evening as defining as is her role in rock history. Along with Anne and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Nicks was a trailblazer in what was ( still is) a music landscape littered with males.

Christine McVie, compared to Nicks, is as mystical in a different way. Grounded, yet with an air of mystery. The Ying to Nicks’ Yang. The “regular” voice compared to Stevie’s distinctive singing style. Together or apart, a duo as important to music as Phil and Don Everly. McVie and Nicks. A pair who caught Montreal in the headlights of a speeding vehicle of talent. The Bell Centre? Dead in its tracks.

Nicks may have won the hearts yet it was Lindsey Buckingham who stole the show. Much has been written of Peter Green, the original guitarist in Mac who is heralded as one of the best Blues guitarists to grace a stage or studio. Buckingham is the engine in Fleetwood Mac. Buckingham is the new Peter Green.

Much as Joe Walsh adds much needed energy to an Eagles’ show, Buckingham does the same with Mac. His guitar solos unmatched almost anywhere in the record stores. An unsung hero who is hailed by those in music yet seldom mentioned among the best by music fans. Time after song, Lindsey displayed piercing riffs with equal amount of old fashioned panache. Screaming into the microphone with wild eyes, dancing from one end of the stage to another, Buckingham was having fun. His head, his gigantic head, bouncing on the giant screen behind the band, comical as a backdrop yet poignant in it’s size.

Egos seem to have always been the dagger in Fleetwood Mac’s dartboard. Larger-than-life size egos not able to fit inside the Bell Center. Alone or together. Last night, it is easy to see why as McVie, Fleetwood, Nicks and Buckingham all took turns in the spotlight within the songs. Each member capable of headlining on their own. Each one stealing songs along the way. From Mick Fleetwood’s manic drumming style and even more maniacal personality to McVie’s contrasting performance. Buckingham’s energy to Nicks’ mellowness. All of the members to John McVie’s best interpretation of a Bill Wyman invisible stage presence. Like Wyman, one of the best, one of the ‘real’ bass players.

An enigma, this band. A musical lottery – winning group of artists – who created timeless music, and thankfully, continue to perform and astound the masses.

Rick Keene / Rick Keene Music Scene / Friday, February 6, 2015