Everyone has their musical bucket list. It could be filled with elusive bands that rarely venture to local territories or giants of the past that rarely grace a stage.
Either way, you’re likely to be drawn into a range of emotions in the prolonged build up. Unbridled joy and giddy anticipation of seeing a legendary band in action, gives way to creeping doubts that they could never live up to the lofty heights of expectation that have been unfairly set.
When Fleetwood Mac announced a UK tour with the returning Christine McVie, fans could have been forgiven for going through the aforementioned spectrum of emotion. They needn’t have worried. Playing their 83rd show of the current tour, Fleetwood Mac haven’t missed a beat and fans of all ages were treated to a master class of classic rock, with more than a hint of nostalgia throughout.
A 23 song set-list featuring two encores and a handful of anecdotes almost played as a greatest hits album, but contrary to belief the overwhelming feeling was a return to the main stage rather than one last hurrah.
Kicking off with The Chain, the band set the tone of the night at a blistering pace. Atmospheric as ever, the infamous bridge has lost none of its potency with John McVie’s simple yet deadly bass guitar drawing rapturous applause.
Having officially left the band in 1998, it wasn’t long before Christine McVie was re-introduced with You Make Loving Fun. It could be argued some of the power has been lost over the couple of decades or so, but her dulcet vocals provide the perfect foil to the beautifully raspy Stevie Nicks.
Nicks, as free-spirited and bewitching as ever, twirled and danced her way through the night, grabbing the limelight for her fair share of the night during Dreams, Gypsy and Rhiannon. Reminiscing about the early days of the band and acknowledging the infamous fallouts gave a personal touch to the evening and variations on classics such as Never Going Back and a Peter Green-esque intro into Tusk were welcome touches.
The highlight of the night was the majestic and marvellous Lindsey Buckingham. The fact he isn’t lauded to the same level as Page, Clapton and Slash for his incredible guitar skills is a personal travesty. Barely leaving the stage in two and a half hours, Buckingham’s deliciously furious solos come with such elegance and ease its hard not to watch on in sheer awe. His now near exclusively acoustic version of Big Love was met with roars of approval, but it was a lengthy solo during I’m So Afraid that stole the show, rightly receiving a standing ovation from all sides of the mammoth arena.
Of course all the classics were aired – Everywhere, Landslide and Little Lies proving to be evergreen fan favourites.
The first encore consisted of Mick Fleetwood, ever the showman, riling up the crowd once last time with a fun drum solo during World Turning before launching into a sing along version of Don’t Stop that had the sold out crowd on its feet. The only complaint that could be had was the strange ending to the setlist that finished with Silver Springs and Songbird. To finish on such a haunting and sombre note threatened to halt the flow of the night, but such is the beauty of the latter it’s hard to hold a grudge.
Retrospectively the tour name, couldn’t be more apt. Fleetwood Mac are just getting On With The Show. Gone is the feeling of inevitable self-combustion, replaced by good old fashioned rock and roll for the masses. With a supposed new album due out in the next year or two, Fleetwood Mac may be living in the here and now, but it’s great to know they haven’t stopped thinking about tomorrow.