- 01 Dec 22
As tributes continue to pour in for Christine McVie, following news of her death yesterday, we're revisiting Stuart Clark's live report of Fleetwood Mac's July 2015 show at the 3Arena, Dublin...
38-years after unilaterally taking a loan of it off my brother – you’ll get it back soon, Rick, promise! – I’m finally getting to see all five of the people who made Rumours on stage.
Fleetwood Mac’s visit to the 3Arena last month split the vote with two of the potted Twitter reviews I read mentioning the word ‘autopilot’.
Tonight though everything’s switched to manual with Lindsey Buckingham the maniacal guitar hero who kinda wishes he was in Aerosmith; Stevie Nicks doing that time-honoured ethereal witchy thing of hers; Christine McVie exuding delighted-to-be-back bonhomie; Mick Fleetwood pummeling seven shades of what have you out of his outsize kit, and John McVie doing his best to be inconspicuous beneath a white cap, but mesmerising everybody with his peerless bass-playing.
It'd be hard not to be energised when you’ve got a crowd cheering/clapping/dancing/singing along as furiously as tonight’s is, although there's no excuse for the mass olé-olé-olé-ing.
When following the opening double-whammy of ‘The Chain’ and ‘You Make Loving Fun’ Stevie says, “We love playing for you crazy Irish!” you get the impression she really means it. Ditto the comment about, “We’re lucky to have our favourite girl, Christine, back with us.”
As McVie later points out, her return to the fold started two years ago in the 3Arena when she came over to rehearse ‘Don’t Stop’ with the bandmates she’d been estranged from for over a decade.
While you get the impression she’s just happy to go with the flow, egos dictate that Nicks and Buckingham both get an equal number of starring set-pieces.
The former comprehensively nails ‘Rhiannon’, with the giant video screens whisking us off to a medieval Welsh church while Stevie emotes every word of her signature tune. A woman who's not short of adoration, she looks genuinely gobsmacked by the roars of approval at the end. Her former beau also hits the bullseye with an acoustic ‘Big Big Love’, which along with an almost heavy metal ‘Tusk’ showcases the band’s experimental side.
Nicks is guilty perhaps of being a little too communicative – we really could have done without the rambling ‘reach for the stars’ (and head to the bar!) intro to ‘Gypsy’, even though the rendition of the Mirage album track which follows is thoroughly beguiling.
While ‘Tell Me Lies’, ‘Go Your Own Way’ and obligatory encore airing of ‘Don’t Stop’ are all pretty damn amazing, it’s the exquisite three-way Stevie/Christine/Lindsey harmonies at the end of ‘Everywhere’, which make you realise you're in the presence of rock 'n' roll greatness.
It might be showmanship for our benefit, but it’s good to see Nicks and Buckingham high-five each other at the end of ‘Go Your Own Way’, and then walk back on for the encore hand-in-hand. Whatever the offstage relationships are like at the moment, onstage this is as good as you could hope Fleetwood Mac to be.