It was touted as a note for note cover of Rumours. I thought, I’m definitely qualified to be the judge of that. I’m going despite hearing of the event a mere hours before show time. Lo and behold, there was a single ticket left in upper deck of Jack Singer upon navigating Calgary’s Art Common website.
With the opening of Second Hand News, I could immediately tell that this was no joke. This group of eight were spot on and certainly would have been unimpressed by two apparent mixing mistakes during this track one of side one. Dreams arose next and was performed in perfect tempo and rhythm despite a somewhat undramatic delivery by Stevie of this sauntering classic melody.
Precision note for note playing was acutely evident in Never Going Back Again and Don’t Stop and a calm affirmation was developing throughout the hall. However; by the end of Go Your Own Way having witnessed the accompanying exquisite guitar solo, the audience was stirring in delight.
Christine McVie next makes her appearance with Songbird. One now contemplates the voice characteristics and personality similarities of original artists and portrayals on stage. McVie’s modesty was a bit overshadowed by the confidence of this particular mature professional musical imposter. With exception of the tonal voice difference, it would have been tough to distinguish from the recording.
Onto the flip side with The Chain. Obviously the bass player gets a mention here with the classic bass line on full display. What bass player hasn’t played it? The trick was not to screw up. He succeeded. As for the solo, in my glee I’m watching a pretty woman in fish nets laying into a Les Paul. The young couple next to me is providing more feedback than the 100 watt Marshall at stage center. She’s got her groove on and realistically there was embellishment beyond the actual bends vibratos of the recording.
I frankly thought that “Oh Daddy” here was better than the recording with some subtle acoustic scale over lay to add fruitfulness. Golddust Woman showcased more of the real Stevie in action. The hip sway and draping witchy aura was broadcast with more verve than earlier in Dreams. I was impressed by the deep low tone voice quality similar to the Queen of Rock herself.
I’d be amiss in not closing with the powerful voice of the lead male singer. Not only did he stay in key, and never waver but he sang with authority and charisma. Unsurprisingly, two accomplished guitarists exchanged rhythm and lead roles here and as we know it was a combined job of one underrated guitarist Lindsey Buckingham back in the day.
At break I shared the Peter Green story with some lonely looking soul. Certainly, 90 per cent of those in attendance would not have known of Green’s influence on Fleetwood Mac during the early days blues roots.
After the break having finished up Rumours, the band moved on to other Fleetwood Mac favourites and particularly gelled as a group in a nuanced version of Tusk. The drummer took the stage with fury in a thunderous solo and reminded all about his ever present skill set as the back drop of the evening’s performance. I was looking forward to what they’d do with I’m So Afraid but was mildly disappointed by the guitar solo. The Rhiannon intro had everyone abuzz and Stevie nearly missed her last line of Landslides while the audience drew breath.
The night finished with a rhythmical escape and surreal sense that this has all been experienced some forty years after those junior high school dance memories.