On a whim, day of concert – found Ticket Master on the web and did a search for Fleetwood Mac. Figured there may just be one solo seat somewhere in Calgary’s Saddledome. Voila. Second row of first balcony next to the aisle with a clear stage view. Click.
Ambience was quiet and friendly in eager anticipation. Folks next to me found tickets, same way. We all beamed in delight over our luck. Wouldn’t you know it – new friend in next seat has a mutual acquaintance and we share a passion for squash.
Lights go down and up comes Second Hand News. Good opening number that immediately had me feeling that these guys are still hitting their notes. Looked to my new friend and exclaimed, it’s like a time warp. Stevie’s long blond locks still flowing softly with features that defy her age. Yes, monitors gave us the close ups while a digital backdrop added color and imagery.
Next comes The Chain which has always been a favorite. The moment seems surreal. I can’t believe I’m sitting listening to these songs that I spun over and over again on my turn table in my bedroom as a teenager listening attentively distracted from homework. Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be listening to a favorite rock group going hard and strong 34 years later.
Stevie takes the wheel and demonstrates her unique vocal prowess with Dreams. This sentimental favorite has everyone settling in now. It’s becoming apparent that we’re going to get all the big hits and there’s going to be no holding back. Incidentally, Stand Back was featured later on in the evening.
Lindsey speaks about Tusk and this creative foray in which he bemuses that Warner Brothers may not have actually expected this tangent on the heels of such a string of classic rock hits. In the spirit of Tusk’s place in FM’s ensemble, Lindsey offers up Not That Funny and only he with his guitar greatness could pull something off with this song lacking in melody.
Lindsey referenced creative forces still at work at this late stage in their career with a couple of tracks for EP release. Sad Angel was profiled along with Without You. Not gripping but an admiral effort.
The biggest surprises of the night were Lindsey’s Big Love and I’m So Afraid guitar solos. Simply stellar performances. Lindsey Buckingham at 64 showcased lead guitar in such fashion that rivaled anything ever produced in a studio.
No Fleetwood Mac performance would be complete without Landslide. Stevie and Lindsey teased us with their chemistry with their glance and thought of one more chorus line on wrap.
A particular pleasure was the intros. They kept us guessing as to what was being led. Support musicians chimed in with rhythm and chord work whenever Lindsay wasn’t standing alone. It would have taken the hundred plus plays of the classics from the past to appreciate the play on the rudiment riffs. Gold Dust Woman exemplified simplicity flavored with timely marks of musical magic in a calmness that the audience felt as Stevie’s aura faded from the backdrop in a golden haze.
The climactic pulse of the event unfolded with and exhilarating version of Go Your Own Way. This enchanting rhythmic delight abounded in fun and fervor. The whole band came together and unleashed an energy only achieved by the harmonious inputs of a musical force aged to perfection.
Admittedly, Mick Fleetwood has lost some acumen with the drumsticks but with a boyish enthusiasm in his 65 year old body –he gave us his best drum solo with World Turning. Everyone was pulling for him and he came through in style.
I gave my new friend to the right a tap in my gesture of departure and walked the corridors alone. I discovered the back stage along concourse and caught a glimpse of Stevie Nicks and gave her a wave. Don’t Stop has lyrics of positivity making for a fitting close.