Fleetwood Mac Reunites in Madison Square Garden: Concert Review

Fleetwood Mac - H 2013
Jason DeCrow/Invision/AP

Fleetwood Mac - H 2013

Fleetwood Mac displays their familiar chemistry and musical virtuosity in this standout  2-1/2 hour concert.

The venerable band rocks Madison Square Garden with classic hits and enough relative obscurities to please die-hard fans.

Any longtime fan of Fleetwood Mac must have relished a particular exchange between Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks during the band’s Madison Square Garden concert, the third stop in a 50-date tour. Introducing the song “Without You,” a previously unreleased track from their Buckingham Nicks days, Nicks explained that she and Buckingham differed on when exactly the vintage song was written. It’s somehow comforting that after all these years these longtime collaborators can still disagree.

Otherwise it was a virtual lovefest between the two, who displayed a deep personal and musical chemistry on that song and such numbers as “Landslide,” performed as an acoustic duet.

Performing their first shows in three years, the band demonstrated that they haven’t lost a step, with the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie brilliantly anchoring the proceedings, Buckingham once again proving that he’s one of rock’s true guitar gods, and Nicks’ vocals displaying their familiar husky beauty.

Coinciding with the recent 35th anniversary deluxe reissue of their classic Rumours, the show not surprisingly began with three songs from that 40 million copy-selling album -- “Second Hand News,” Chain” and “Dreams” — which immediately jump-started the crowd.

Delivering 23 songs over 2-1/2 hours, the band delivered a generous portion of hits while also including enough relative obscurities to justify a return visit even for those who’ve seen them many times. Besides the aforementioned “Without You” -- which Nicks said she rediscovered via YouTube, of all things -- they included the gorgeous “Sister of the Moon,” which they haven’t performed since the late 1970s; “World Turning,” featuring a titanic drum solo by Fleetwood; the B-side “Silver Springs”; and “Not That Funny,” from their landmark album Tusk. They also unveiled a new song, the propulsive and jangly “Sad Angel,” which Buckingham announced would be appearing on an EP to be released as soon as next week.

The band’s familiar tropes were well on display. Buckingham delivered endless virtuosic guitar solos, including one on “I’m So Afraid” that brought down the house. Nicks engaged in her signature twirling on “Gypsy,” and turned “Gold Dust Woman” into a mini-opera, her voice movingly cracking as she repeated the lyric “You can’t save me” over and over; and Fleetwood drummed with a maniacal fervor, his eyes gleaming with delight at his own prowess.

Highlights were plentiful, including an epic rendition of the title song from Tusk; Buckingham’s goose bump-raising solo turn on “Big Love”; and a rousing version of Nicks’ solo hit “Stand Back.”

The evening’s final song, “Say Goodbye,” featured just Buckingham and Nicks onstage. While it marked a lovely and fitting way to end the show, it left one hoping that it wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

Set List

Second Hand News
Sad Angel
Not That Funny
Sisters of the Moon
Big Love
Never Going Back
Without You
Eyes of the World
Gold Dust Woman
So Afraid
Stand Back
Go Your Own Way
World Turning
Don’t Stop
Silver Springs
Say Goodbye