Review: Fleetwood Mac Live at the Hartford XL

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On Saturday, November 1st, the Hartford XL center fell under a spell…one of Fleetwood Mac, that is—and a kind that managed to reach the monster arena’s top tier, hexing even the nosebleed-seat occupants.

The sold-out, 70s mystical-rock affair hosted Stevie Nick’s witchy enchantment (complete with dreamy twirls and gypsy garb), a so-youthful-it’s-creepy dose of Lindsey Buckingham acoustic/electric jamming, John McVie’s unfaltering bass guitar, former-wife Christine’s sweet vocals, and band vet Mick Fleetwood’s drum touches. Each musician was on, alive, and in the moment–voicing abundant praise and gratitude between nearly every song.

Appearing under dim and dreamy blue lights, the band broke right into “The Chain”, intro-ing with an extended version of the embittered classic. Within the first few biting strums of the song, audience roars let loose and the magic commenced.

Clocking in at a generous 2 hours and 40 minutes, the set satisfied fans hungry for greatest hits (“Gold Dust Woman”, “Everywhere”), as well as those more absorbed in the band’s obscure material (“Sisters of the Moon”, “Silver Springs”).

While Christine McVie, the band’s most treasured return, crept in with softer hits like “You Make Loving Fun” and “Say You Love Me”, Stevie balanced out the fluffier tracks with a hint of her signature gloom, nailing back-to-back performances of “Dreams” and “Rhiannon”.

Forty years old and only getting cooler, the newly reunited fivesome provided nothing but a full set and flawless harmony, complemented by an electric solidarity only intensified by a long 16 years apart.

Lindsey grabbed his share of the spotlight with the rowdy and feral “Tusk”, executing full acoustic force, and hypnotizing all the front-row baby-boomer ladies in the process. And with Christine on the accordion, the understated 1979 track woke up any who ever slept on it.

Other Lindsey highlights of the night included a goosebumpy performance of “Never Going Back Again” and the fiery “Big Love”, delivered in a burst of blistering string work.

A few anecdotes from Stevie and others reinforced the personal band-to-crowd feel. Sharing the meaning of “Gypsy”, the singer spoke about her Woodstock-era experience in San Francisco and entry into The Velvet Underground, a haute hippy-couture shop where inspiration sparked for the later hit and band membership.

The show was thorough, to say the least–with enough unruly Mick drum solos and John McVie’s bass work to power everyone on stage. When the band’s unusually happy cover of “Go Your Own Way” seemed to contradict the once-bitter song’s words, anyone observing the smiles and musical play-off between the five knew that it now signified something a lot sweeter.

Check out some footage below:

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