The return of Christine McVie brings back the balance in Fleetwood Mac.
It’s a symbolic choice for Fleetwood Mac to open their ‘On With The Show’ tour with ‘The Chain’. In the history of the band, the chain has been broken and repaired many times. It is now as strong as it ever was before with the return of Christine McVie on stage after a 16-years absence.
With the slow build-up of ‘The Chain’ and the instruments are playing softly, there is full emphasis on the band’s distinct vocal harmonies. It is a delight to hear Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie sing the opening verse ‘Listen to the wind blow’ accompanied by the female backing vocalists, Sharon Celani, Lori Nicks and Stevvi Alexander. The warm voices emanate a sense of community and unity on stage and amongst the public.Fleetwood Mac’s warm voices emanate a sense of community and unity on stage and amongst the public.
Together with her ex-husband John, the McVie’s have always remained somewhat in the background. During this tour, Christine McVie can’t escape the limelight when Nicks and Buckingham welcome her extensively in-between songs. Mick Fleetwood follows suit at the end of the eighty-fourth concert in Amsterdam, when he introduces the band on stage and calls her “our songbird”.
It’s lovely to hear McVie sing her own songs. Her singing voice which has been described as “smokey falsetto”, is still rich and comes straight from the heart. She performs, ‘You Make Loving Fun’, behind her keyboards, but steps down to the front of the stage with three maracas to perform ‘Everywhere’.
Fleetwood Mac is gifted with three talented singer-songwriters. McVie has written effortless songs about love such as ‘You Make Loving Fun’, ‘Everywhere’, and the hit songs ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Over My Head’. Simple, optimistic, feel good songs. Nicks and Buckingham have written about the darker side of love wherein they express their feelings of frustration and anger about their tumultuous relationship. Alternating these light-heartened love songs with intense ones brings diversity and balance to the band’s set list.
Usually McVie’s ballad ‘Songbird’ is played as an encore, however, ending the show with this song is a tribute to her return to stage as well. For this song, a classic piano is wheeled onto the stage and she delivers a moving performance accompanied by Buckingham on guitar.Alternating these light-heartened love songs with intense ones brings diversity and balance to the band’s set list.
My only wish was that she had played more songs on the classical piano, which has a warmer sound to accompany, for instance, Nicks’ riveting song ‘Silver Springs’, about her broken relationship with Buckingham. The refrain is a demonstration of the band’s vocal chemistry which can be considered a ‘dialogue’ between Nicks and the rest of the group. The group sings the refrain with a sense of shared grief and acceptance of a relationship that is over, whilst Nicks’ singing on top of that “Give me one more chance” is the last cry of resistance.
It looks like the return of McVie has boosted Fleetwood Mac’s confidence on stage and they emanate an aura of invincibility. There is some banter on the stage and sheer joy of playing together. (Fleetwood and Buckingham even play their instruments as if their lives depend on it). Fleetwood Mac radiate good karma which was once different during the band’s troubled history with glorious ups and tremendous downs. This aspect is what draws people to Fleetwood Mac as a source of inspiration in the sense that if they endure can endure this, perhaps I can endure certain situations that occur in my life.McVie’s return has boosted Fleetwood Mac’s confidence on stage and they emanate an aura of invincibility.
Buckingham told the audience that the band has stepped into a new chapter. Wouldn’t that be, to put it in Christine McVie’s maiden name, Perfect?
Written by Thierry Somers