Dispatches from the Show: Fleetwood Mac On with the Show Tour @ The Verizon Center Washington, D.C., October 31, 2014
Fleetwood Mac—THE END.
I feel I should just write this band’s name, walk away, and let the music simply and astoundingly speak for itself—and it does. Fleetwood Mac deserves the highest accolades and sky-leaping ovations for being one of the most phenomenal, charismatic, and talented rock music assemblages in existence. And I can now safely say one has not lived until they’ve experienced Fleetwood Mac live.
They kicked off the concert in max mode with “The Chain,” and as soon as that first Mick drum strike settled in, the pre-show rumble of excitement and anticipation cracked and crashed in waves of tears. By the second song (“You Make Loving Fun”), everything became acutely clear. With the return of Christine McVie, the links for this band had been fused and reconnected, and once again, their lively energy could run seamlessly through its completed chain of members (the mainstream five).
And this powerful connection, which also surged through the audience, never broke, as each band component continued to contribute to a fast-swinging, sequenced timepiece that kept us all hypnotically spellbound by their stage presence. Stevie Nicks wooed us with her soul-reaching, clean-raspy vocals and her seductive supernatural spins. She also offered entertainment beyond the music with her personal stories and amusing group banter (offering anecdotal, pre-fame inspiration on “Gypsy”, tales of always desiring to be a witch on Halloween—even when her mom insisted she be Martha Washington—and an American Horror Story shout out). Lindsey Buckingham charmed with his always shrewd and impeccable finger work on guitar (the man shreds). Mick Fleetwood hammered on drums like a beam banshee vigorously bouncing around in a prism. John McVie never faltered as he methodically pushed the bass. And the songbird herself, Christine McVie, served to sweeten the poised harmonizing pot with her alluring voice.
Part of the Mac appeal resides in their powerful choruses and skillfully poetic and empathy laden, relatable lyrics which became blaringly apparent when I found myself in a sold out arena in the company of fellow fans. I would wager most of us have mistakenly engaged (and been tempted by) a “Gold Dust Woman,” we’ve longed to be held, we’ve “sail[ed] through the changing”, we’ve maintained hope “thinking about tomorrow”, and we’ve wished to tell someone to get bent—in a classy, fierce, resilient, “go your own way” manner. Yeah, I strained and practically lost my voice singing along to that last one.
The concert ended with two encores, and of course, with Christine McVie’s homecoming the finale song had to be “Songbird”. And the show concluded precisely as expected—with breathtaking splendor carried on the wings of Christine’s heartfelt, entrancing vocals and her lovely delicate, luminous, and solacing piano playing.
Following “Songbird”, the performers came back out for one concluding bow. Mick Fleetwood wrapped up the show with a reminder to be kind to one another and a reiteration that “the Mac is back!” And may they create another memorable concert DVD (like ‘97s The Dance) from this tour experience, because they are back—and they are better than they’ve ever been.
Like Fleetwood Mac, I feel obliged to come back out on my paper stage so that I may leave you with one resonate exiting dose of gypsy encouragement from the concert –
Stevie – “If you have a dream, and you believe in yourself, and you know you’re good, and you have a passion … and hopefully you do have a passion … you [should] follow that passion, because otherwise you’re going to be so bored. You need to do what you love […] Do it. Follow it. Love it. Be it.” Indeed.
With those words, we should all allow her voice to haunt us.
Also, check out my Fleetwood Mac playlist on Spotify.