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June 11, 2009

Concert review: Fleetwood Mac at 1st Mariner Arena

lindsay buckinghamMy esteemed colleague Chris Kaltenbach was also at last night's Fleetwood Mac show at 1st Mariner Arena. Here are his thoughts:

Fleetwood Mac played an energetic two-hour-plus set of their greatest hits at the 1st Mariner Arena Wednesday night, clearly revelling in their status as elder rock statesmen with a boatload of crowd-pleasing standards to play for their fans.
 
With Lindsay Buckingham playing the role of guitar god to the hilt and Stevie Nicks basking in her role as spiritual muse, the band relied almost exclusively on songs from their monster-selling Fleetwood Mac (1975) and Rumours (1977) albums.

The result was an evening that seemed strangely stuck in time, but in the best of ways. The fans ate it up, and didn't even seem to mind it when the band dragged out two of the hoariest '70s concert cliches, the extended (and defiantly excessive) guitar and drum solos.
 
Opening with "Monday Morning," from Fleetwood Mac, the band quickly set the evening's tone. Buckingham played shamelessly to the crowd, pointing, cajoling, jumping up and down, making like a whirling dervish able to lay down some fairly vicious guitar licks, yet never removing the leather jacket, no matter how much the sweat came pouring down ...

Nicks, meanwhile, swayed gently on the other side of the stage, adding harmonies and putting out the same mystical hippie aesthetic that made her a charming anomaly even 30 years ago. When Nicks took over the lead vocals for her "Dreams," the crowd greeted her like an old friend.
 
Drummer Mick Fleetwood, meanwhile, hammered-away with his bat-size drumsticks. Melodically, the sound they made was a little heavy sometimes, but Fleetwood's never been known for his subtlety. Bassist John McVie, meanwhile, unobtrusively went about his business, rarely calling attention to himself, content simply to drive the evening's beat like nobody's business.
 
stevie nicksThe set included a fascinating take on "Tusk," with Fleetwood's incessantly propulsive downbeat making up for the USC marching band that wasn't there. Although she also wasn't there, Christine McVie was hardly absent, thanks to hard-edged renditions (maybe harder-edged than McVie would have liked) of two of her best songs, "Say You Love Me" and the encore of the challengingly optimistic "Don't Stop."
 
Buckingham, meanwhile, tore through a version of "Go Your Own Way" (from Rumours) that suggested the hurt feelings in the song haven't entirely gone away -- one reason why it was no nice to see him and Nicks embrace so warmly at one point. Maybe, like the band members said in interviews leading up to the current tour, these shows really are all about celebrating a legacy, and leaving past frictions behind.
 
Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham admitted during one of the show's many spoken introductions, has had a "complex and convoluted emotional history. But in the long run, it worked to our benefit."
 
The band's miscues were few, and easily overlooked. As befits performers moving past 60, the energy level wavered at times.

Fleetwood couldn't keep up the same manic beat that fueled "Go Your Own Way" on record -- even though Buckingham's guitar didn't seem to notice its absence. That made the song sound peculiarly schizophrenic, as though it didn't really know which pace to follow. And Nicks started off slowly, rarely even attempting the sustained pitch that once punctuated her best songs. Still, her voice warmed as the evening proceeded, and when, toward the end of the set, she finally appeared wearing her trademark black top hat, the evening's welcome nostalgia trip was complete.

(Photos by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:21 AM | | Comments (11)
Categories: Concert reviews, Local music
        

Comments

saw them in the late 70's and the were very good! (Ex band member Bob Welsh started off the show, and even joined The Mac on stage with renderings of Sentimental Lady and Hypnotize) it appears that they still have it even at 60 yrs old. the long drum and guitar solos were intrinsic of the 60s/70's and were expected. just shows how concert expectations and audiences have changed.
nice review, brings back good memories.

Have seen them numerous times over the past decades (!) and still thrilled to hear them last night. As was everyone else in the Arena.

Although the inevitable result of "I'm getting older too" has limited Stevie's once astonishing voice, Lindsay seems even better in the last 10 years than ever. As someone closing in on 60 myself, I find some small comfort in seeing them showing some of their age while still rockin' the house.

I actually think that Stevie's voice is in many ways even better than it was in the past - very strong and elastic. Also, when mentioning McVie, you forgot to mention World Turning.

While it is true that a lot of songs from 'Fleetwood Mac' and "Rumours' were played, it is incorrect to say that those albums were used 'almost exclusively'. Of the 23 songs that were performed, 8 of those songs (AKA a third of the set list) were not from those albums. In any event, great show.

Saw them in the 70s also and they are great!! She looks fanastic for 60 if you ask me!!! Still beautiful!

you should of used some shots from the show last night and not stock images - the arena has an amazing house photographer that I met at the Motley Crue concert.

Stevie is the best.

Nelson, if you have a way to get a hold of him, I'd be glad to post or link to his photos.

Glad to hear Lindsey's still got it, but I can't imagine wanting to see/hear Fleetwood Mac without Christine.

I, too, thought the show was pretty awesome. They still sound really great, especially when you consider their age.

Man, was that upper level empty or what. I was in the back in the cheapies, but the upper levels on the sides of the arena were almost entirely empty. Was that intentional? Were the tickets up there just too expensive?

I just saw Fleetwood Mac in NH. It was so awesome to see Stevie perform, but Lindsey took over the stage most of the night, he did some kind of screeching on the guitar right in the middle of on of Stevie's. It kind of appeared off and on that night that there was tension with Stevie and Lindsey. He thinks he's Gods gift to all.

Otherwise the concert was great, especially Mick

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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