As was the case when I saw Meat Loaf, this was a ‘last chance’ concert for a band who meant a lot in my childhood. This was another stupidly expensive concert that I felt would be the final opportunity that I would ever get to see Fleetwood Mac. My Mum came with me, and I’m convinced that she really enjoyed it. A lot more than she did than she assisted me to Erasure. The only moment that she didn’t especially enjoy was down to the audience – to be precise, a mad middle-aged couple who we were sat next to. They were calmly seated throughout the show, but went ballistic and stood up for ‘Say You Love Me’. I assume that that was ‘their song’. Their first dance perhaps.
The setlist itself was pretty great, and had some awesome highlights. ‘The Chain’ was a brilliant choice to open the show, as it began atmospherically in relative darkness (they looked deadly serious until…) before the white lights emerged for the final guitar bit. Fleetwood Mac were here, and within minutes, it was solid confirmation that the next two hours would be marvellous. In spite of the seemingly endless banter by chatterbox Lindsey Buckingham, ‘Big Love’ was great, and the “OOH! AAH!” section was as furious as ever. ‘Little Lies’ was also great, although there may be a slight bias, considering how Tango in the Night’s singles are my favourite Mac tracks.
There was a bit of a giggle from the audience as tusks appeared on the screen, in the least subtle hint ever, that they were about to perform ‘Tusk’. On that subject, I think that Mum zoned out a few times, which I find a bit disappointing. She seemed very confused, and didn’t get why the crowd were reacting as they did when the tusks appeared. This was also the case during two of the best songs of the night, which neither of us knew – ‘Gold Dust Woman’ and ‘I’m So Afraid’. The former was extended from five minutes, to eleven minutes, and Stevie Nicks danced around the stage in her signature fashion, twinkling in her gold robe (it might have been handy for her to have been wearing that for more of the show because from so far back, and due to her being so tiny, she was very easy to lose). The latter is another piece to commend for sheer scale, as Lindsey’s solo was incredible, and he looked so into it. He even let people in the front row strum his guitar, and like ‘Gold Dust Woman’, the song lasted for over ten minutes. As these two songs were next to each other in the show, that was almost half an hour of solid confuzzlement for Mum.
As great as it was, that’s not to say that there weren’t any disappointments. Most irritating? They had dropped my favourite ‘Seven Wonders’ from the set, so I was gutted! They also wouldn’t shut up about the return of Christine McVie – sure it marked the reunion of the classic line-up after many years, but it didn’t need to be mentioned every couple of songs!
On that subject, the banter was pretty atrocious. As much of a nutcase as Lindsey Buckingham can be, it couldn’t justify some of his chatter before ‘Big Love’. In spite of the many, many shows before this one, not even he knew where his analogies were headed – discussing what it meant when he wrote it, and the ‘karmic’ qualities of what it means now. It upstages Cristina Scabbia at Download Festival 2015 for the title of cheesiest ‘spirituality’ speech that I have witnessed onstage. That said, it was quite humorous to see him discuss their troubles (although it lasted forever): “bygones should be bygones” and giggling as he mentioned that “some of them were pretty well publicized”. While there is no arguing that Fleetwood Mac don’t have a long and fascinating history to reflect upon, it did last a little too long sometimes.
However, the most awkward moment of all, unsurprisingly, was courtesy of Mick Fleetwood, during his drum solo. The audience did one thing that I have never witnessed – THEY CLAPPED IN TIME WITH THE MUSIC and therefore the impressive acceleration by Mick never came to be, even though he tried twice! Eventually he gave up and the band returned to the stage. There were only so many times he could grin and say “nice and easy!” and “nice and slow!” to state that he intended to speed up, but it just didn’t work!
Notably, I’m convinced that they ran out of time, as they didn’t return to the stage to perform standard closer ‘Songbird’, instead closing on ‘Silver Springs’. Perhaps Mick spent a bit too long with his infamous ‘balls’, literally squatting and tea-bagging into Stevie Nicks’ top hat.