December 6, 2014
On Saturday, Fleetwood Mac played their last of three sold-out shows at the Forum. And who cares, right? Reunion tours at the Inglewood arena are as plentiful as scarves on Stevie Nicks' mic stand.
But in the 16 years since a Fleetwood Mac tour featured the entire Rumors lineup, something notable happened: The band, long a favorite among baby boomers and Gen X'ers, got discovered by a new generation of fans, many of whom are themselves making emotionally dramatic pop music laced with lush harmonies and fiery guitar parts.
Tame Impala, Haim, the Entrance Band, even Miley Cyrus: all have worshiped at the altar of the Mac. Foxygen told L.A. Weekly that they recorded their new album while listening to Tusk on repeat, and Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino breathlessly tweeted out “Fleetwood Mac is honestly THE most important band in my entire life” after one of the band's first two Forum shows.
So Saturday's show — not their last in L.A., as we had originally described it, since they announced an additional Forum date next April just a few days ago — felt important. With the return of singer/keyboardist Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac are now the biggest band of their era whose “classic” lineup remains intact. And they've become, arguably, the most influential.
The importance of McVie's return can't be overstated. Though far less flashy than her fellow lead singers, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, her cool alto, underrated piano skills and flair for an irresistible pop hook provided the perfect foil to Buckingham's histrionics and Nicks' witchy balladry. She wrote the first and last hit singles of the quintet's remarkable 12-year run (“Over My Head” and “Everywhere,” respectively) as well as their signature anthem, “Don't Stop.” More than once, her bandmates expressed elation over her return — though no words could convey more than the ear-to-ear grin Buckingham wore for much of “Say You Love Me,” one of Christine's most indelible tunes and perhaps the evening's best showcase of the band's pinpoint harmonies.
Though the night in many ways belonged to McVie, Buckingham and Nicks still provided most of the highlights. After nearly 40 years, Buckingham remains the band's wild card, a guitarist so brilliant — and so clearly enamored of his own brilliance — that his admittedly jaw-dropping solos at times threatened to hijack the whole show. The shrieking cascades of notes pouring forth from his signature Renaissance Model One guitar earned their fair share of cheers from the crowd — but no moment of the show got a bigger cheer than Stevie Nicks' first twirl during “Rhiannon.”
It is Nicks, more than any other member of the Mac, who has captured the imagination of a younger generation of fans. During her songs “Dreams,” “Gypsy” and especially “Landslide,” women who clearly weren't even born when Rumors came out could be seen throughout the crowd, singing along rapturously with every word.
Wisely and graciously, the band let Christine McVie have the last word, rolling out a baby grand piano on which she delivered a haunting rendition of “Songbird,” the prettiest song on Rumors, accompanied only by some admirably restrained acoustic guitar by Buckingham.
Afterward, when the band came out to take their final bows, Stevie Nicks credited Fleetwood Mac's fans for McVie's return. “You made this happen. You're magic! You have magical powers,” Nicks declared. And maybe she's right, but our magical powers pale in comparison to those of a reunited Fleetwood Mac.
Overheard in the crowd, after Stevie Nicks' twirling performance of “Rhiannon”: “She knows how to work a shawl.”
Random notebook dump: The giant floating Lindsey head on the projection screen during “I Know I'm Not Wrong” is freaking me out. It's like his ego made manifest.
Set list on next page…
You Make Loving Fun
Second Hand News
I Know I'm Not Wrong
Sisters of the Moon
Say You Love Me
Never Going Back Again
Over My Head
Gold Dust Woman
I'm So Afraid
Go Your Own Way