Fleetwood Mac in Boston
TD Garden *
Fleetwood Mac doesn’t really have to prove anything to anyone at this point in their career, but that doesn’t mean they are simply going through the motions. Bringing their 2013 tour to Boston on an unsettled night in the wake of the Marathon bombings, the four veteran members of the band – Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – showed why their appeal has lasted as long as it has. They put on an old master’s performance before a welcoming crowd of 20,000 at Boston’s TD Garden.
The set list has not changed dramatically from their two previous tours, in 2009 and 2003, and includes most of the songs their predominantly Baby Boomer fan base will want to hear. Of course, it’s hard to argue with any set list that starts off with “Second Hand News,” “The Chain,” “Dreams,” and also includes the likes of “Rhiannon,” “Sara,” “Landslide,” “Gypsy,” “Gold Dust Woman,” “Go Your Own Way” and “Silver Springs.”
But there were some unexpected gems throughout the two-and-a-half-hour set. They debuted a pair of new songs – “Sad Angel” and “Without You” – that were both worth sticking around for (meaning don’t use them for the obligatory beer and bathroom run). The latter of these Nicks called a “lost track” from the Rumours sessions. “It was actually a poem I wrote to Lindsey before we even moved to L.A.,” she said, in the first blush of new love. “This was definitely before we hit the hard times.” Somehow she came across a demo of it recently on YouTube, of all places, and brought it to the band’s attention. After listening, Mick told her “These are the voices and the phrasings that we heard that made us want to have you in our band.” It’s an acoustic number that feels very 1975, and carries echoes of another California classic, the Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band.”
The middle of the show featured a solo acoustic version by Buckingham of “Big Love,” which has become something of a signature tune for him. It’s easy to forget just how good a guitar player Lindsey Buckingham truly is, until reminded of it by seeing him in concert. His fingerpicking guitar play seems only to get better as he ages, and he was the most energetic member of the band on the Boston stage, repeatedly moving to the very edge of the stage to play only inches from the front row of fans. He came close to stealing the show with an extended, fiery solo during “I’m So Afraid” – one that brought the crowd to its feet and, in his only nod to advancing age, forced Buckingham to put his hands on his knees and catch his breath for a moment or two at song’s end.
Stevie Nicks may no longer be the whirling gypsy of the late 1970s, but her singular voice has lost none of its emotional depth. Clad in a silky black dress and 4-inch heels, she did throw in a few twirls during “Gypsy,” as if to show that she’s still got it, and reached into the dress-up box for a gold shawl and black top hat during a stellar version of “Gold Dust Woman.”
The band made note at several times through the evening of Boston’s trying week; the show was the first major concert in the city following the Marathon attacks. “We’re so happy you all came out night,” Nicks said near the end of the evening. “We know what you’re going through. You and New York are the toughest cities. You are definitely Boston Strong.”