One of the laws of the universe is that galaxies cluster and are bound together by gravity.
They rarely escape from each other, and such is the case in the unlikely, but thoroughly lovely, gravitational attraction between Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie.
The legendary Fleetwood Mac members — McVie rejoined the once-volatile fold in 2014 after a 15-year hiatus — brought their acclaimed Buckingham/McVie tour to the Majestic Theatre on Tuesday. They are on the road promoting a new duo album.
Both were in incredibly good voice – Buckingham much more powerful and emotional than on record; McVie as velvety voiced and wistful as ever — and their pairing is a reminder of what they brought to Fleetwood Mac in its heyday.
Buckingham is all about kinetic passion and exquisite precision. McVie adds simmering soul and something of a genteel British hippie vibe.
Some 1,500 fans took it all in.
The show opened with the two walking onstage and performing a slowed down, acoustic version of Buckingham’s “Trouble.”
Buckingham finger-picked the familiar hook. At times, like the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn used to do, he managed rhythm and melody simultaneously.
McVie, standing behind her keyboard rig, added the faintest hint of synth behind the muscular vocal. Then it was her turn on Fleetwood Mac’s “Wish You Were Here.”
The two were setting the stage to introduce the new material. But Buckingham was not going quietly into the night, easing the crowd into the show. His take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” achieved a new level of defiance.
It garnered the first standing ovation of the night.
The first new song, the chiming “Sleeping Around the Corner,” was song number five in the set and was performed with four additional musicians.
Buckingham talked about the duo’s album.
“It’s not something we saw coming,” he explained, describing it as an unlikely but “very happy occurrence.”
Obviously, it’s impossible not to conjure Fleetwood Mac with the new songs. It’s in the bounce, the arrangement and the Buckingham sheen.
But other elements sneak in. There is a poppy Talking Heads/Blondie/R.E.M vibe to “Feel Around You,” and “In My World” recalls, at times, Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” with a little Hall & Oates.
McVie stepped out from behind her keyboards to shake maracas and belt out the blues rocker “Too Far Gone.”
The two kept the energy up with “Hold Me,” a reminder of how their vocal blend was a touchstone of mid- and late ’70s pop.
“Little Lies” and a raucous take on “Tusk,” with McVie on keyboard accordion, found Buckingham singing as if under a spell.
The new “Love Is Here to Stay” made the case that the duo’s pairing was, as Buckingham put it, a karmic gift.
These are adult love songs of the highest order, and evidence that the project was collaboration of music and emotion.
Buckingham and McVie prove that it’s possible to follow one’s muse, take a chance and make some great pop and folk-pop music. That they’re also able to gift-wrap it with monster hits like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Go Your Own Way” is part of the magic and history of their universe.
Hector Saldana is curator of the Texas Music Collection at The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.
Hector Saldana / My San Antonio / Wednesday, November 15, 2017