Fleetwood Mac celebrates hits with help from Kid Rock
Yesterday's gone, as the song goes, but it was a celebration of yesterdays gone at the Palace of Auburn Hills on Wednesday night as Fleetwood Mac hit the stage for a 2 1/2 hour love fest honoring keyboardist Christine McVie's return to the band after a 16-year absence. It was an occasion to look back at the group's legacy with fresh eyes, even though it had only been a year since the band — sans McVie — had been here in concert.
Even Kid Rock got in on the action, hitting the stage midway through the show after Lindsey Buckingham dedicated "Big Love" to the hometown rocker and Stevie Nicks mentioned him during her intro to "Landslide." As "Landslide" was coming to a close, Rock hustled onto the stage — his American Badass trucker hat atop his head — and stood behind Nicks, wrapping his arms around her in a reverse bear hug. Rock's appearance brought the crowd to its feet and jump-started the show's revved-up second half.
Rock's walk-on aside, it was McVie's night to shine, and she brought a wave of early cheers two songs into the show when her signature vocals opened "You Make Loving Fun." "Thank you Detroit!" she exclaimed at the close of the song. (The current tour marks her first outing with the band since 1998's campaign behind "The Dance.")
"I guess you did notice there is yet another blonde on the stage," Nicks said after McVie's brief hellos. "Two blondes are better than one!" She then asked McVie, "where you been?" but the answer was beside the point. This tour is about the famously contentious band coming back together for one more go-round and fans having one more shot at seeing them back together.
The packed house proved there was plenty of interest in the billing, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers delivered a solid 24-song show of hits and album cuts from its long and winding history. Everyone got a chance to shine, from Mick Fleetwood's carnival ride drum solo in "World Turning" to Nicks' free-form interpretive dance during "Gold Dust Woman," but it was Buckingham's searing guitar solo during "I'm So Afraid" that was the night's highlight.
The band's stage set-up was simple, with a largely open stage backed by a stage-length video screen that projected on-the-nose images cued to the songs (gold dust and a woman during "Gold Dust Woman," for example). The band was augmented by several auxiliary musicians and a trio of backup singers, who added ghostly howls to "Sisters of the Moon."
The interplay between the band members was lively, especially with Buckingham and Nicks, who took on "Landslide" together. Buckingham joined McVie at the close of the show for a poignant reading of "Songbird," a quiet capper on the night after a free-wheeling "Silver Springs" brought the first encore to its end.
It's clear McVie's return has energized the band, sparking "a brand new, beautiful, profound, poetic chapter that will bear much fruit," as Buckingham put it at one point. Yet for all the talk about the group's future, Wednesday's show was a nostalgia play, the youngest songs in the set older than this year's Rock Hall nominees. Not that there's anything wrong with that, and there's plenty to be said for playing the hits to a receptive audience. But call it what it is.
"Don't Stop" came late in the show, and while the song's and the band's optimistic message still rings, it's an ironic anthem for a band that is focused on raising a glass to yesterday.