Concert Review: Fleetwood Mac at St. Pete Times Forum

Overall, the band delivered a competent performance. It featured some rousing spots: "Tusk," "Second Hand News," a Buckingham/Nicks duet of "Never Going Back Again"). It dragged in spots: “Sara,” the dreary “Storms,” a rote “Rhiannon.” Notice the latter are all Stevie Nicks showcases. Rarely has a pop singer gleaned more success from a set of pipes that are as texturally unpleasant as Nicks’. During the Forum show, she avoided high notes as if they were poison ivy, choosing instead to rephrase lines downward.

Buckingham is walking proof that you can still be very much a SoCal dude at 59. Trim, sharply dressed in painted-on black jeans and a short leather jacket — and still sporting cheekbones that could cut glass — he preened and made a few lofty pronouncements to the crowd. Pretty precious.

But give him this: The fellow can play guitar. During a mid-set, acoustic segment, he killed on “Big Love,” raining arpeggios over the crowd. At the mic, he reached for the tough notes, although sometimes he ended up yelping more than singing. That’s nothing new, actually.

One last observation: Big acts really seem to be perfecting the art of arena concert production. Last night, the sound was crisp and at an ideal volume (loud enough to deliver rock punch; not so loud you had to plug your ears). Two big screens, high-definition big screens, hung from the rafters about a quarter of the way into the crowd. So each time Buckingham played a guitar solo, I could simply turn my head to the left and watch his fingers go at it — in hi-def. Nice.

A little more than halfway through their set at the St. Pete Times Forum last night, Fleetwood Mac played “Say You Love Me.” A Christine McVie song. She is the only member of the re-assembled (yet again) Fleetwood Mac who opted out — she departed, apparently for good, in 1998 — and to these ears her presence was sorely missed.

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham traded verses on “Say You Love Me,” and although it was nice they included the song, this version lacked the airiness of the original pop gem. Buckingham played the brief guitar solo note-for-note, which made the performance seem obligatory.

“Say You Love Me” was also a reminder of all the McVie songs Fleetwood Mac did not play last night. And seeing as Chrissie was always my favorite of the combative quintet, to me the concert was left lacking.

Fleetwood Mac — which also included drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, two sidemen and three female backup singers — ran through a compendium of their mostly impressive songbook, touching on some obscure stuff (“I Know I’m Not Wrong”) but mostly sticking to such recognizable tunes and monster hits as “Dreams,” “The Chain,” “Monday Morning,” “Gypsy,” “Sara,” et al.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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