Saturday 5 October 2013

Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac
Phones 4U Arena, Manchester

Fleetwood Mac rocked Manchester with a stunning set clocking in at approximately two hours and 30 minutes. There was no support act - there wasn't time. Indeed, the tickets indicated an 8 p.m. start and I think it caught a lot of people by surprise when they realised the start of the show was imminent as they entered the Phones 4U Arena (formerly the MEN Arena). Fleetwood Mac emerged at 8.20 p.m., with Mick Fleetwood's thunderous drums announcing the start of Second Hand News.

Popular favourites dominated the set list, with seven songs from Rumours enjoying an airing. There were one or two new inclusions, namely Sad Angel and Without You (both from this year's surprise EP of new material), but it was the big-hitters that inevitably grabbed the attention - particularly the likes of Gold Dust Woman, which brought out the full theatrical side of Stevie Nicks.

Gold Dust Woman
Lindsey Buckingham, with his unnatural energy, held centre-stage for virtually the entire evening. The others all took breaks at various points but he somehow kept going.

Lindsey Buckingham - larger than life, as usual
The songs were enhanced by projected backdrops featuring various scenarios and, at times, huge versions of the main players.

The band's not-so personal history is well documented. It seems that their performances are somehow still feeding from the energy - good and bad - of several decades ago. It takes a while for Lindsey Buckingham to interact with anyone else on the stage but tension - staged or otherwise - relents during certain closer songs with Stevie Nicks, with occasional hugs and brief holding of hands.

Retired band member Christine McVie had appeared for one song at one of the London O2 shows but was not to repeat the cameo here.

There were a couple of slower moments during which Stevie Nicks chatted to the audience and related a few anecdotes (probably to give everyone a breather). However, her lengthy preamble to Without You (a ''lost'' song recently rediscovered) proved a little too long for some vocal local yokels, much to Stevie's apparent frustration. Nevertheless, the overall reception to the evening was overwhelmingly positive - a ''Fleetwood feelgood'' by anyone's standards.

The first encore took the show over the intended stopping time (10.20 p.m. had been officially quoted) and there was such a gap before the second encore (and we'd already witnessed Mick Fleetwood's drum solo) that some of us were already departing to beat the rush. A chap in one of the side rows put his hand on my shoulder and excitedly informed me ''There's two more songs to come, mate!'' so back we went for Silver Springs and Say Goodbye.

Set List

Second Hand News
The Chain
Sad Angel
Not That Funny
Sisters of the Moon
Big Love
Never Going Back Again
Without You
Eyes of the World
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Stand Back
Go Your Own Way


World Turning
Don’t Stop

Second Encore

Silver Springs
Say Goodbye

Both Mick Fleetwood and Lindsey Buckingham delighted in announcing that ''The Mac is back!'' Although nothing is confirmed beyond this particular tour, the prospect of more new material and tours intrigues and excites.

Here are a few more photos to finish with.
John McVie on bass 

The inimitable Stevie Nicks

Mick Fleetwood

Drum solo!

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