Photographs by Lee-Ann Richer.
Fleetwood Mac graced Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, Saturday, October 18 and showed a sold out crowd what they are made of!
The band has been restored to its original five piece lineup. Christine McVie, who has not been with the band in 16 years due to her fear of flying, is back. For someone who is 71 years young, she showed that she can give it like the rest of the young’uns in the band. Who, by the way, range from 65 – 68.
The 2 ½ hour show opened up with the thunder of Mick Fleetwood’s kick drum sounding like something out of Jurassic Park. Then the eerie bluegrass sound of “The Chain” started, reminding me if a sunrise emerging from the dark. The next three songs were also off Fleetwood Mac’s top selling album “Rumors”. They were “You Make Loving Fun” sung by Christine McVie, “Dreams” sung Stevie Nicks and “Second Hand News sung by Lindsay Buckingham.
“Rumors” is one of the top selling albums of all time. It shares this honour with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller:, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, “Eagles Greatest Hits”, AC/DC’s “Back In Black” and Bee Gee’s “Saturday Night Fever”. It was their eleventh album released in 1977.
Stevie Nicks was the first to welcome Christine back into the Fleetwood Mac family, then said’ “Let’s get this party started!” And a hits party it was!
During the show, Lindsay’s also welcomed Christine back and said that Fleetwood Mac has evolved over the years and grown. He said with having Christine back she will allow them another new chapter and bear them new fruit.
After Stevie Nick’s heartfelt comments, Christine thanked the band for having her back and giving her a second chance.
They played 24 songs during the evening, nine off “Rumors” and numerous hits off their 10th album “Fleetwood Mac”, and a few off “Tusk” (their twelfth album, released in 1979).
The question is, can these ladies still belt it out vocally after all these years? The answer is YES! They were a pleasure to listen to.
Songs like “Rhiannon”, “Everywhere”, “I know I’m Not Wrong” had the crowd singing along. A special treat was to watch Christine McVie play accordion in the song “Tusk”.
After “Sisters of the Moon”, “Say You Love Me” and “Seven Wonders” the band left the stage in Lindsay’s capable hands for a solo acoustic song, “Big Love”. Up until then he had been bouncing around the stage like an 18 year old rather than someone who is 65. He has mastered playing without a pick that he uses only in the studio for certain applications. His finger picking style that he showcases in “Big Love” was flawless!
Stevie Nicks dedicated “Landslide” to Toronto’s talk show host, Marilyn Denis as she says she always does. This was an evening of amazing musicianship and great performing of some historical tunes. Also there were numerous stories and moments of a band that was so happy to be on stage, doing what they love. Side jokes were thrown in that had everyone laughing. At the beginning of “Over My Head” Christine said she wrote this song when her and John were married. Then she said, “You remember that, do you John?”
At this point another drum kit was brought out front just to keep things changing with the show.
Stevie Nicks told her story just before “Gypsy” of how there was this clothing store in San Francisco (The Velvet Underground) where all the top Rock and Roll women shopped. She said they had opened for bands like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin but at the same time, were a typical, poor musician! Nonetheless, she went in to The Velvet Underground and bought two outfits, and jokingly said, “Which I wore for five years”. She went on to say, with the continued success of Fleetwood Mac she now shops wherever she wants, so, don’t stop believing in your dreams, as dreams do come true!
I noticed something that I have never seen in bands before. When they are singing, they sing to each other, a lot. I noticed Lindsay looking over at Stevie numerous times. They have a very tight past with relationships so they may be closer personally than most.
“Little Lies”, “Gold Dust Woman” and “I’m So Afraid” followed with some exceptional lead guitar playing by Lindsay. These leads were doubled at times by the guitarist in back. Fleetwood Mac was accompanied by three ladies doing backup vocals and two other musicians: one on guitar and the other guitar/keyboards.
“Go Your Own Way” was the last song of the set and was a great finale. Lindsay was out from leaning into the crowd allowing fans to strum his guitar.
The band came out for their first encore which included “World Turning” including a drum solo by Mick Fleetwood. He was yelling to the crowd, “are you with me still?” and getting them to chant during his drum solo. Afterwards he was prancing around the stage like a court jester. “Don’t Stop” and “Silver Springs” rounded out the evening, we thought. Then they came back and Christine took the piano and charmed everyone with a final song, “Songbird”. The band took a final bow as one happy reunited family. During the final moments they shared a few moments chatting with each other as if they hadn’t had a chance to talk in a long time.
The band shared a few moments talking with the crowd and left us all with another chapter for Fleetwood Mac and brought back some very special memories from the seventies and added few new ones to 2014. Keep your eye on them as they have now proved they can make a strong comeback, and as hinted by Lindsay, new songs are in the works!