Fleetwood Mac Awes Houston Audience

Fleetwood Mac | Photo by Cynthia Isabel Zelaya Ordonez

Cheers erupt from the audience as they rise with the house lights, standing in awe as the legendary band takes the stage. Fleetwood Mac performed at the Toyota Center on Tuesday, Feb. 5th to a sea of fans, with hardly any unfilled seat left.

The evening starts with “The Chain,” forever their opener since its first appearance on their 1977 number one album, Rumours (a statement on how the music will keep the band together for better or worse, regardless of the inner turmoil). They follow this with hits “Little Lies” and “Dreams” before settling in to some tracks that haven’t been graced with as much commercial success, giving older and less invested fans a chance to sit down. Yet the crowd is sprinkled with people dancing, singing every word of every song. A middle-aged couple sway to “Say You Love Me,” a teenage boy jumps to “Black Magic Woman.” But everyone is on their feet again, some gasping or cheering in delight, as the first notes of “Rhiannon” play.

The band’s chemistry really shines through, everyone taking turns under the spotlight, smiling at each other, and interacting on stage. Mick Fleetwood proved he still reigned king of the skins with an extended drum solo, featuring Takuya Hirano on his own kit. Mike Campbell (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) and Neil Finn (Crowded House) also have their moments to shine in a guitar duet as well as solos of their own. They work well together, both carrying a stage presence and energy akin to rockers in their 20s. They’re affectionate towards band members, Finn playfully dangling his hat over Christine McVie and Campbell turning to Stevie Nicks to exchange words or smiles whenever someone else has center stage. It’s less tense then it was during the prior leg of the tour from which key member Lindsey Buckingham was dismissed, although he claims to have left on his own accord.

Conflict has always been an element in the band, this time partially stemming from Buckingham wanting newer and obscure cuts to take prominence in the setlist. As tensions rose, Nicks set an ultimatum; she leaves or Buckingham does. The band made its choice, one that fans are clearly in favor of, many of which came dressed as their favorite era of Stevie through the years.  They scream for Nicks as she glides across the stage, twirling her many shawls which she changes at intervals to match the songs. She still commands the same mystic allure as she did when young, and it just wouldn’t be Fleetwood without their white witch. She takes it a step further right before “Landslide,” getting intimate with Houston as she recalls her recent trip to the city to adopt a new puppy after her prior dog of 18 years passed away. She thanks the local shelter owner, Melissa, who seems to be in the audience, and proceeds with the show.

The band closes with an energetic rendition of “Go Your Own Way,” coming out for an encore soon after. They start the final stretch of the show with a cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’ accompanied by a slideshow of the late singer. Nicks and Campbell finish the song facing the screen, her hand on his shoulder. The show closed with “Don’t Stop” and “All Over Again,” the band bowing together before exiting, the crowd still cheering even after the house lights came on.

Overall, the band still has the talent and energy of yesteryear. Buckingham or not, it’s well worth the money to come out and see them. Even though it’s not an official farewell tour, the members are old enough to make each tour worth seeing. Not only are they living legends and a genre-defining band, but it’s late enough in their careers that we shouldn’t take them for granted. In the meantime, rest assured that The Chain will keep them together.

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