Attending fans’ opinion of last night’s Fleetwood Mac concert at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena depended entirely on whether or not they were present at the same venue four and a half months ago, the last time the band graced the city.
For those for who last night was their first taste of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘On With The Show’ tour, their senses are still tingling from the experience today. The Kings and Queens of Soft Rock still reigned, cranking out two and a quarter hours of gems with energy and style.
The long absent Christine McVie, now firmly re-entrenched in the line up, gave the band the vocal ammunition to roll out classics like “You Make Loving Fun,” “Little Lies” and “Say You Love Me.” After a touch of trouble on certain high notes early on, she soon slotted into her musical groove, finishing the night strong with a honky tonk piano solo adding an extra sheen of fun to “Don’t Stop.”
In terms of vocals, Stevie Nicks was in richer form than on her previous visit to Vancouver, wisely navigating her way around the high notes during “Rhiannon,” “Landslide” and her opus, the lyrically merciless “Gold Dust Woman.”
Stealing the show throughout, Lindsey Buckingham was the undisputed star of the evening, his guitars taking centre stage through opener “The Chain,” the perfect power pop of “Second Hand News” and “I Know I’m Not Wrong,” and hosting finger picking acoustic wizardry on “Big Love” and “Never Going Back.”
Those who were lucky enough to be at Rogers Arena back in November probably have a different view of last night.
Because Fleetwood Mac, for all their song writing and technical excellence, delivered the exact same concert that they brought with them four-and-a-half short months ago. Same set list. Same pre-song stories. They were even wearing the same clothes.
The band has their reasons. At an arena level, lighting and video cues are not immediately changeable through the tap of a laptop.
And yet, with such a significant gap between Vancouver dates, musicians of their ability and back catalogue should be able to switch up their set list. It seems inconceivable that select changes couldn’t be made to prevent the same songs appearing in the same order, punctuated by the same scripted introductions and anecdotes the band have been relying on through the tour.
Read the review in the link in the first paragraph. Apart from an absent “Songbird” last night, nothing had changed.
This is no reflection on Fleetwood Mac’s unquestionably excellent music. But playing the same concert to (presumably) a significant percentage of repeat ticket buyers destroyed the illusion that band and audience was sharing a unique, never-to-be repeated moment. That’s what makes the rock concert such a special experience. Its magic is fleeting.
Even if a tour remains constant day after day, that time it visited your city was unforgettable. You had to be there to feel it.
By repeating themselves so thoroughly, what seemed like moments of in-the-moment passion were revealed to be merely an act. Like the magician explaining the slight of hand behind the tricks, you admire the skill, but the wonder is gone.