Thursday, March 26, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac - Orlando, FL (3.23.15)

Fleetwood Mac
Amway Center / Orlando, FL 

"Legendary," "classic," "iconic"
 such standard rock and roll
"praise & worship" buzzwords
are used with such frequency,
they've become tired clichés
void of any significant punch.
In the case of Fleetwood Mac,
however, those terms actually
apply — quite perfectly.

Concert #68 of Fleetwood Mac's On with the Show world tour brought the platinum-selling powerhouse to Central Florida on Monday, March 23. Heralding the highly-anticipated return of perennial singer / songwriter and keyboardist, Christine McVie, the well-publicized event drew an estimated crowd of 19,000 ardent followers to Orlando's super-colossal Amway Center. And as the house went black at 8:20pm, and the fully reunited Fab Five took the stage, pandemonium ensued.

The still "Mighty Mac" kicked off their spectacular two-hour-plus juggernaut with four ferocious fan favorites from the 45 x platinum 1977 Rumours album  a magnificent mini set that included "The Chain," "You Make Loving Fun," "Dreams" and "Second Hand News."

Leading the charge throughout  founding namesakes, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie. For his part, McVie would provide the ever-stoic and dignified yin to Fleetwood's endearingly energetic and animated yang — a delectable rock and roll Reese's-type combination that continues to "taste great together" — even now, after nearly 50 years.

Looking elegantly rock and roll chic — dressed in skin-tight black skinny jeans and a black velour jacket, accented by a super-fun, silver sheriff's badge, Ms. McVie was welcomed back lovingly into the Fleetwood fold in short order by the band's iconic, longtime songstress, Stevie Nicks  and the crowd goes wild! The cavalcade of classics continued with a slew of the ladies' signature staples, including McVie's "Everywhere," "Little Lies" and "Say You Love Me" as well as Nicks' "Rhiannon," "Sisters of the Moon,"  "Gypsy" and "Gold Dust Woman."

Amway Center / Orlando, FL
Lindsey Buckingham, the celebrated songwriting / production genius who is oft credited for taking the once-struggling early version of Fleetwood Mac and transforming it into a world-renown mega force, also brought his "A-game" to the Amway stage. Possessing unparalleled musicianship and unbridled showmanship, the dashing 65-year-old guitar hero slayed the masses with his own powerful arsenal that included "Tusk,"  "Big Love" and "Never Going Back Again." Been down, three times, indeed!

Although the band's performance was a start-to-finish tour de force, there were several stand-out "WOW" moments, including Mick Fleetwood's dynamic, front-and-center, cocktail kit demonstration during "Over My Head," as well as his show-stopping, ten-minute drum solo. Another memorable highlight was the chilling acoustic duet between Buckingham and Nicks on the much-loved Nicks standard, "Landslide."

However, the brightest gem of the set, oddly enough, was Buckingham's dark and moody, "I'm So Afraid," from the 1975 Fleetwood Mac album. The honest and pure, raw emotion generated on the stage for those seven glorious minutes was simply magical. And as the band members all became bathed in intense rays of red, orange and purple, the electronic lighting trusses were brought down so low to the stage that it created an exciting nightclub-style vibe — effectively offering even the guy sitting in Row QQQ a bit more of an intimate perspective. BRAVO!

The band wrapped the show up at around 10:30 with the 1977 Top Ten hit, "Go Your Own Way" only to return to the stage moments later for a rousing three-song encore that included "World Turning," "Don't Stop" and "Silver Springs."

Amway Center / Orlando, FL
After soundcheck earlier in the day, Mick Fleetwood conducted a private pre-show, VIP meet-and-greet with 52 of his most faithful followers. During the well-organized, hour-long event, fans were each afforded personal onstage photo ops with the 67-year-old legend, proceeded by an insightful Q&A session. Openly sharing various "Behind the Music"-type stories, Fleetwood came across as personable, genuine and quite likable  an unassuming, old school blues / rock chap who says "shit"  a lot! He revealed that his passion for performing was first fueled by his exposure to the theater world as a young lad hanging out with his older, aspiring actress sister. He also recalled the rather unexpected meteoric success of Rumours as being a "mutant event." Referring to the infamous click-clack-type balls "dangling about" on the Rumours album cover, Fleetwood confessed that to this day, he never performs without them. "I've always got me balls," he added. And although he clearly had no definitive choice, Fleetwood stated that due to his pure rock and roll spirit, the guitar-driven, "Go Your Own Way," might be his favorite Fleetwood Mac tune. 

It took 40 years, but I finally made
it onstage with Mick Fleetwood! 
In sum, Fleetwood Mac currently is at the top of their live game. And based on the very broad Orlando audience demographic, it's safe to say that their music continues to breakdown generational barriers. The band members looked fantastic, performed famously, and the production was absolutely, second-to-none. And despite the rumors (no pun intended), Mick Fleetwood maintains that is not the band's final tour. In fact, he commented that he's even looking forward to making new music with the reunited classic line-up in the (semi) immediate future. 

-Christopher Long
(March 2015)

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C'MON! -

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