Fleetwood Mac

22 November 2014

Moda Center, Portland, OR


I've wanted to see the classic Fleetwood Mac lineup for a long time, and I held out hope for long-time member Christine McVie to re-join after retiring a little over a decade ago. Late last year, Christine telephoned Stevie Nicks and asked, "What would you think if I re-joined the band?" Without hesitation, Stevie responded by saying, "Well, Chris -- this is your band, you don't even have to ask!"

My uncle and I were both very glad to hear that Christine decided to step back into the fold for this tour -- her singing and songwriting has added another dimension/flavor to the sound of this band. Many are of the opinion that Christine has, over the years, received far less attention than Stevie and her partner in music since the 1960s, Lindsey Buckingham. But, the response from tonight's audience painted a substantially different picture -- after the time-proven opener of "The Chain", Christine received a domineering standing ovation for taking lead vocals on her classic "You Make Lovin' Fun". Throughout tonight's sold-out performance at the former "Rose Garden" arena, both Stevie and Lindsey gushed with praise and excitement about Christine's return to their live show.

The band continued with more Rumours tracks, namely their sole #1 hit "Dreams", and "Second Hand News". Smash hits from their past continued with "Rhiannon", and "Everywhere" from their 1987 hit album Tango In The Night.

Lindsey then collected the spotlight by performing two tracks from the expensively produced 1979 double LP, Tusk, namely "I Know I'm Not Wrong" and the title track. Stevie then followed with her own contribution from the same album, "Sisters Of The Moon".

Then, more smash hits: "Say You Love Me", a lower-pitched "Seven Wonders", and Lindsey's solo-acoustic version of "Big Love".

"Landslide" by Stevie and Lindsey is about as obligatory as "Guinevere" by Crosby and Nash -- reliably beautiful. Lindsey stayed out for a slowed-down acoustic version of "Never Goin' Back Again".

Then, even more smash hits: "Over My Head", "Gypsy", and "Little Lies". Stevie introduced her 1982 hit "Gypsy" from Mirage with an interesting, several-minutes-long explanation of the song's origin -- involving going back to the Velvet Underground clothing store in San Francisco, where she and Lindsey lived back in the 1960s. For "Over My Head" and "Gypsy", Mick brought out a rolling, downsized drum set to front and center for a more "intimate" interaction with the rest of the band.

Stevie danced dramatically, yet modestly, around the stage towards the end of "Gold Dust Woman".

Lindsey ended the set by leading the vocals on "I'm So Afraid" and "Go Your Own Way".

During the main set, Lindsey, Stevie, Christine, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie performed with an additional keyboard player, guitar player, percussionist, and three backing vocalists including Stevie's former sister-in-law Lori Nicks.

In the first encore, after "World Turning" Mick rolled out a ten-minute, impressive drum solo. "Don't Stop", and the magnificent "Silver Springs" concluded the first encore.

For the second encore, Christine rolled out a grand piano and performed a brilliant solo version of "Songbird" to a huge ovation.

Almost anti-climactically, a few minutes later Mick stood at a center stage microphone and offered some kind thoughts, and subsequently Stevie offered her own kind parting words. The only concert I remember in which the last encore didn't involve performing/singing. Interesting.

No new material whatsoever, and perhaps with good reason given the nostalgic nature of this reunion tour with Christine. Maybe some new material next year?

[****1/2] - Steven T.

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