Stevie Nicks still the highlight of newfangled Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks still the highlight of newfangled Fleetwood Mac

Pittsburgh Post Gazette   |   Written by Scott Mervis

Article From Pittsburgh Post Gazette
The Chain was supposed to keep them together, wasn’t it?

But, in the buildup to the current tour, it broke over what appears to be a fairly petty argument and now we’re in the midst of the ultimate Fleetwood Mac drama.

It didn’t stop the 11-piece band that showed up at the PPG Paints Arena Thursday from starting the show with “The Chain,” one of the signature songs of frontman Lindsey Buckingham, who is currently suing his old mates.

Their “take that, Lindsey!” moment put them in the position of sounding like a Fleetwood Mac tribute band from the outset, albeit with a pair of well-respected ringers in Neil Finn (from New Zealand’s Crowded House) and guitar hero Mike Campbell (from the Heartbreakers). Finn has a pleasant voice similar in tone to Buckingham but without the angry edge.

But then, there’s Stevie Nicks, the real drawing card, the one who has fans dressing up in black, lacy clothes. Sometimes it takes a minute for her to warm up those husky pipes, so “Dreams” was a little uneven. That went with a fairly flat “Little Lies” from Christine McVie at the keyboards, Finn doing Lindsey again on “Second Hand News” and Campbell, though very solid, making us pine for Santana on “Black Magic Woman,” reclaimed on this tour by Fleetwood Mac from the Peter Green days.

Shortly after that, though, Nicks was ready to take over the show, starting with a stunning, hard-rock version of “Rhiannon” driven by her fiery vocal. That she is 70 is a miracle…of something.

Her momentum was briefly interrupted by an intermission in the form of Mick Fleetwood’s maniacal 15-minute drum and hollering solo at the end of “World Turning,” ably assisted by percussionist Taku Hirano.

Nicks returned with a lovely “Gypsy” and then handed the stage back to the “two gentlemen [introduced] into this crazy band.” Campbell did a rare vocal turn, kind of a talk-sing, on “Oh Well,” the killer blues-rock song that first put Fleetwood Mac on the radar in the late ‘60s.

Finn’s evening highlight was a beauty. “This is a song of unity and I’d like to dedicate it to the grieving families of Squirrel Hill and Pittsburgh throughout…my heart goes out,” he said, introducing a very pretty version of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” with lighters and cellphones all aglow.

Then, Nicks did her part for the healing.

Before a screenshot of the city skyline lined with candles, she said, “My mom always told me, ‘Stevie, you’re on a mission, you’ve always been on a mission, and your mission is to go out into the world and sing your songs and try to make people better when they need somebody to come sing something that will just take them away for maybe one moment in time.’ … I have a favorite phrase that’s called being a spiritual warrior …

“What I want you to know is, we are so sad for you,” she said, choking up, “and there’s nothing to say, except that, you know, they can’t win, and you will come around and your spiritual warriorness will take over at some point and you will get better. So, I’m going to dedicate this song to you like we have so many times in times of trouble — after 9/11 and after, we went into Boston the day after what happened in Boston, and so it always seems we end up coming in these times. It’s called ‘Landslide,’ it’s for you.”

She poured all that emotion into the melancholy ballad, cheered by her faithful along the way. A few songs later came her show-stopping moment on “Gold Dust Woman,” complete with her gypsy shawl dance and an impassioned climax channeling pain and rage while wailing lines like “you should see me now” and “you can’t shake me down.”

McVie, by contrast, brought her cool delivery to “You Make Loving Fun” and the deep cut “Isn’t It Midnight.” The main set climaxed in full-blown rocking style with “Go Your Own Way,” sparked by Campbell’s stinging guitar work.

When I saw “Free Fallin’” on set lists, I wasn’t sure who would be singing it, but I didn’t expect it to be Stevie. The song is actually perfect for her voice. She had her own wonderful history with Tom Petty, and with pictures of the late rock icon filling the screen, she thrilled us with one of her finest vocals of the night.

After bouncing through “Don’t Stop,” they brought the evening to a quiet close with Nicks and McVie sharing a duet on “All Over Again.”

In the end, it was a fine, joyful show and an interesting tangent in FM’s history, but if and when they come back, and let’s hope they do, it would be nice to see Buckingham back in his spot.


The Chain

Little Lies


Second Hand News

Say You Love Me

Black Magic Woman



Tell Me All the Things You Do

World Turning

(with drum solo by Mick Fleetwood)


Oh Well

Don’t Dream It’s Over (Crowded House cover)


Isn’t It Midnight

Monday Morning

You Make Loving Fun

Gold Dust Woman

Go Your Own Way


Free Fallin’

(Tom Petty cover)

Don’t Stop

All Over Again