The story of Fleetwood Mac is a complicated one. The band that artfully blends blues, rock and folk with just the right amount of crystal visions, has a well-documented history of drama and romance within its constantly evolving lineup. But it’s that story and the undeniable chemistry of its core members that created (and continues to create) some of the greatest music of our time.
So when John McVie, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and Mick Fleetwood take the stage on May 28 at Anaheim's Honda Center, they seem to have one mission: to prove the story isn’t over.
“It would seem,” Buckingham muses, “that there are still a few chapters left in the book of Fleetwood Mac.”
The group is sharp and gleeful from start to finish, with energy that never lets up, never slows down and makes no apologies. They tell their tale with charging versions of “Dreams” and “The Chain” off their Rumors album, followed by an aggressively adoring tribute to their risky follow-up album Tusk, including a rowdy rendition of the title track, backdropped by projections of USC’s 1979 marching band.
It’s the first time they’ve all been on stage together in three years and while it’s mostly as if they’ve never left, the fact remains that some have, mainly McVie’s ex-wife, Christine. For the most devoted of Fleetwood Mac fans, Christine’s absence is one not permitted to go unnoticed and Nicks acknowledges it by promising she is there in spirit.
Nicks herself is in fine form, twirling enchantingly to “Gold Dust Woman” and mercilessly crooning “Sisters of the Moon,” a track not performed on stage since 1981. Buckingham bangs his chest as he pants at the end of a harrowing version of “Big Love,” just to be clear he is giving us everything he’s got. McVie remains the shadowy backbone of the band and Fleetwood, the self-proclaimed “lord of percussion,” expertly mans an impressive drum setup that includes an imposing gong he bangs ceremoniously. By the time they get around to Nicks’ solo effort, “Stand Back,” the group sounds speedy, but not sloppy and it seems to simply be going with the magic momentum building through the show, opting to ride it rather than try and slow it down.
While they are aggressive with the music, they are not aggressive with each other. There is a distinct tenderness among them and when Nicks and Buckingham pause to embrace during a hauntingly beautiful “Sara,” it’s apparent the book of Fleetwood Mac is a book of love.
And there is heartache too. The detection of a hint of a rueful smile when Nicks, who recently celebrated her 65th birthday, sings the line “I’m getting older too” during “Landslide,” says the passage of time is undeniable. But the sadness this might evoke is curbed by the introduction of Fleetwood Mac’s latest chapters.
Music from their new EP is offered and graciously accepted by an audience that instantly takes to the rambling run of “Sad Angel.” It’s the best kind of reaction to new, unknown material a band who has been doing this as long as Fleetwood Mac can hope for.
“You are the dream catchers,” Nicks says to the audience as they wrap up. “You listen to the songs like you’ve never heard them before. And you’ve been doing that for 35 years.”
They encore with “Silver Spring,” the hopeful and inspiring “Don’t Stop” and “Say Goodbye.” Except, they are not saying goodbye quite yet. Fleetwood Mac is a book that is still being written, a story that is still being told, a love that still has so much to say.