It’s been less than two years since Fleetwood Mac last played Birmingham and for the most part not much has changed. The LG has been rebranded the Genting Arena, you get a little change from tickets and T-Shirts that cost an arm and a leg, and there are only five changes to their set list. This change in repertoire, however, has been prompted by one major shift – the return of singer Christine McVie. This has not only heralded the restoration of a handful of her songs, but sees the band’s all-conquering Rumours line-up reunited for the first time in 16 years.
Not surprisingly the platinum album is the cornerstone of the live show, contributing eight (nine if you count Silver Springs which appears on the expanded edition) songs tonight, including an opening salvo The Chain, You Make Loving Fun, Dreams and Secondhand News that has the packed venue on its feet from the off.
The rest of the show does not maintain that momentum but the set flows with stirring renditions of Rhiannon, Everywhere, Tusk, Gypsy and Little Lies. There is, however, the occasional bout of self indulgence. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, an incredible talent (but doesn’t he know it), is the main guilty party in this respect. From making a dog’s dinner out of Never Going Back Again to providing another (just like last time) unnecessary explanation of the writing of Big Love, which he delivers with some stunning acoustic plucking – if only he’d let his playing do the talking.
Christine McVie provides the perfect counterpoint to Buckingham’s ego trip by playing and singing beautifully despite evidently struggling. Stevie Nicks looked pleased to have her girlfriend back too, not least because it meant the on-stage dynamic was less reliant on the forced chemistry between her and Buckingham. The former lovers can still conjure up some magic though, especially on a beautiful acoustic reading of Landslide and revved up versions of Go Your Own Way and Don’t Stop, which bring the house down and accentuate the meaning of drummer Mick Fleetwood’s parting words, “The Mac are back.”
Words: Steve Adams