Fleetwood Mac – O2 Arena

Why this gig?

Fleetwood Mac have been part of my life for almost as long as I can remember – and I’ve never seen them live. I considered seeing them on their previous tour a couple of years ago, but the ticket prices were insane and Christine McVie wasn’t part of the band. When I’d heard that she had rejoined them and I saw the ticket prices were slightly less insane this time, I decided to go along.

Support

No support. Just hours and hours of Fleetwood Mac.

Headline

They open with “The Chain”, one of the best-known songs from Rumours. When the next three songs are also from the same album, I start to wonder if they’re in danger of peaking too soon. But there’s plenty of good stuff to go round, Rumours may be their most famous album but you’d know most of the songs they play from other albums.

The band are all on pretty good form. It’s understandable that they aren’t quite at their peak of forty-odd years ago but no-one seems to care one bit. Obviously the big news is the return of Christine McVie but, given that this reunion tour has been on the road for about a year, some of the band’s excitement about this seems rather forced.

At one point, the most of the band leave the stage and Lindsay Buckingham plays “Big Love” completely solo – and it’s an impressive display of acoustic guitar pyrotechnics. It’s just a shame that only two songs later he ruins the effect by completely over-milking “Never Going Back Again”.

But over-milking songs is a crime that Fleetwood Mac are rarely guilty of. Most of their best songs are just three or four minutes long. Towards the end of “Everywhere” I find myself musing that in the hands of a lesser band, the final guitar solo would be the mid-point of the song and we’d still have three minutes of pointless repetition to go. Fleetwood Mac know the power of playing a song and getting it over with before everyone gets bored.

There’s one more unfortunate exception to this rule. The first song of the encore is a little-known album track called “World Turning” which seems to be included just so Mick Fleetwood can play an overlong and uninteresting drum solo. Does anyone other than drummers enjoy drum solos?

Apart from those two small indiscretions, the show is tight and really enjoyable. I’m glad I left it until McVie was back in the band before seeing them, but I’m thinking that I’ll probably see them again in the not too distant future.

And speaking of Christine McVie, the end of the evening is given over to her as she comes on alone to sing a second encore – her song “Songbird” from Rumours. It’s a lovely end to the night.

But I do think it’s a shame that after all these years they still can’t find space in the set for even one Peter Green era song.

The set-list is on Setlist.fm.

Reviews

The band played two nights at the O2 at the end of May and another four at the end of June. These reviews are for all dates.

 

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