Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, ON
A chilly evening in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, which is also where I currently reside. My first time seeing any version of Fleetwood Mac, not just this rather controversial one.
Expectations were not extremely high, I was persuaded to go by a friend of mine who is no fan of the post mid seventies line-up. He is, however, the biggest fan there probably is of the sadly recently departed Danny Kirwan (a member from 1968-72 who later slid into a desperate world of alcoholism and homelessness). Just one of a number of grim tales regarding this band’s ex guitarists. Word on the street was that a Kirwan song would be played.
A decent turn out in the hockey stadium, we settled into our lofty seats in the 300 section and first up was The Chain. Instantly it seemed the harmonies were present and correct and the switch to the instrumental passage at the end ( “Grand Prix” theme music as I will always know it) was genuinely thrilling. Mike Campbell’s guitar work being superb.
A good start, next up stepped Christine McVie somewhat nervously, but beautifully took the lead on Little Lies. On it went, strange to hear Neil Finn’s vocals on Lindsay Buckingham songs but he acquitted himself well. i will never be a big Stevie Nicks fan, and to these ears, she was distinctly off her game, only the Welsh witch song being passable. On the other hand, Christine got better as the night went on, peaking with a lovely You Make Loving Fun just before the encores.
There was indeed a tribute to Kirwan (All the Things You Do) and Peter Green (Oh Well, Black Magic Woman), on these blues based songs the band really stretched out and demonstated that the venerable Fleetwood/McVie rhythm section still had it’s chops. Even got some impressive blues keyboards from Chtistine McVie. Campbell took the lead vocal on a scintillating Oh Well, his singing was ok, but his playing on this track and throughout the evening was simply magnificent.
Finn’s solo spot was Don’t Dream It’s Over (I Got You having been dropped earlier in the tour) introduced as a “song about unity”, it was a transcendental experience that not even Nicks’ warbling in the final verse could ruin. Fleetwood’s one was a crazed drum solo (with vocals) that doubled as a bathroom break song for me, in fact it went on so long I could have used the one in my house and still got back before it finished.
So largely a very enjoyable evening, I didn’t miss Buckingham. I am glad I saw them, would I go again? Probably not.
Younger than I expected, 40 and 50 somethings with a reasonable sprinkling of youngsters.
It made me think..
Glad that I finally got to see this “crazy band” *
* as announced by Mick Fleetwood