NORTHFIELD, Ohio – Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie may just be two-fifths of Fleetwood Mac, but the pair are dandy as both halves of Buckingham-McVie.
Stevie Nicks, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood don’t need to practice fetching carts for Walmart shoppers just yet, but the fact of the matter is that guitarist and co-lead singer Buckingham and keyboardist and singer/background vocalist McVie are just fine as a duet.
More than fine, actually. The two wowed a nearly sold-out Hard Rock Rocksino Friday night, rocking through eight of the 10 songs on their new collaborative album, along with nearly a dozen Mac attack hits.
In a large way, the 2,600-seat venue was a perfect place to showcase the “new” old sound from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band mates. I say new because the album Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie is all songs written by the pair, and I say old because on the recording, the rhythm section is bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. On top of that, the union of their voices is reminiscent of the pairing first heard on “Hold Me” nearly four decades ago.
And yet, you can’t call this hybrid “Fleetwood Mac Lite,” because while the MacDNA is clearly evident, songs like “Sleeping Around the Corner,” “Feel About You,” “In My World” and “Too Far Gone” are anything but “lite.” Buckingham kept saying it is a newfound chemistry, but really, it’s more like post-graduate chemistry, the kind that only comes from time and experience.
To be fair, the electricity and pizazz of the full band is irreplaceable, so this new pairing just doesn’t have time to eclipse the marks that the group has set in a career that began 1967 and really jelled with the addition of Buckingham and Nicks in the mid-’70s.
That doesn’t belittle in any way, shape or form what McVie and especially Buckingham have done.
The Rocksino is an interesting venue, largely because of its clientele. Few fans stand throughout an entire show – something commonplace at arenas and amphitheaters. The comfy seats get a lot of action, so to speak. Add that the calendar usually boasts legacy acts (frankly, like the two Fleetwood Mac stars) and you come up with a concert hall that’s just right for “veteran” music lovers who prefer to listen, remember and relive rather than party.
To their great credit, while Buckingham and McVie are touring to promote their new duets album, they still gave Fleetwood Mac aficionados plenty of opportunities to “listen, remember and relive,” too.
McVie’s voice at 74 isn’t as strong as it once was, but her unique delivery scored in turns as lead vocalist on “Wish You Were Here” and “Little Lies,” and her underneath alto added just the right seasoning to 68-year-old Buckingham’s frontman vocals on “I’m So Afraid.”
It’d be kind of tough to pick a highlight in the short evening, not because there were no highlights, but because there were so many. But “Go Your Own Way” and especially “Tusk” showed off just why the band was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1998. And any time Buckingham went into a lead guitar riff with his finger-picking style — why on earth did he even bother to put picks in the holder on his mic stand, anyway — we all knew we were getting a master class in guitar virtuosity.
Because of that, none of the night would’ve worked with a lesser band. Bassist Federico Pol perfectly captured John McVie’s celebrated, driving bass line for “Go Your Own Way,” and Jimmy Paxson could be Mick Fleetwood’s drummer brother from another mother. Guitarist Neil Heywood and multi-instrumentalist Brett Tuggle rounded out the band, with background vocals from Pol, Heywood and Tuggle providing the lushness the Fleetwood Mac tunes required.
In dandy fashion, natch.
Chuck Yarborough / The Plain Dealer / Friday, November 3, 2017