April 24 2013 – Tonight T-Mak World saw Fleetwood Mac perform at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. This was a very special experience and and one that we wish to share in great detail, if that sounds interesting then read on dear fans of good music…
Warning: If you want a generic Fleetwood Mac concert review, go to the website of the daily newspaper of any city the band played in so far and you can read dozens of similar stories. If you instead prefer a more in-depth look of Fleetwood Mac’s 2013 tour from a fan’s perspective – you came to the right place. The following article is presented in 2 parts; the Mick Fleetwood VIP event (found here), and the actual concert review from Newark New Jersey on April 24 2013 (this story), we recommend reading them both in order for full enjoyment. We also have an article with videos of the night here.
Note: If you are a Stevie Nicks fan make sure you check out our video of her full interview at her In Your Dreams Canadian film premiere in Toronto here from a few days ago.
Fleetwood Mac Concert Review.
The VIP package mentioned in part 1 of this story enabled me to purchase seat number 4 in row 1. The section had 14 seats in total so dead center would have been seat 7. Seat 7 however had a speaker in front of it so seat 4 was the absolute best seat in the house. A bit closer to Lindsey Buckingham than to Stevie Nicks, this seat provided an up close experience like no other.
Arriving in my seat I found a throng of people camping out right in front of the seat up against the stage. It turns out that security only cared if they had a seat in the first 4 rows and if they did they didn’t care about the unjust fact that people paying for first row seats had people in front of them. Evidently Fleetwood Mac want people to cram up against the stage. Odd but that’s how it goes. Eventually it seemed that everyone that was rightfully entitled to be up against the front was there and the woman that had bribed one security guy to stay up front was asked to leave when a second security guard checked her ticket. The cool thing is that there was no security bars or anything – people in the front could actually have their hands on the stage itself.
Coming out with guns blazing Fleetwood Mac delivered a 1-2-3 punch that set the tone for what was to come. Second Hand News, The Chain and Dreams all from Rumours and all within the first 15 minutes of the concert. Welcome to rock and roll nirvana folks. The first time the audience gets addressed is after The Chain in which Nicks claims that “We just got back from Canada, its cold in Canada…. This party starts now” which kicked off Dreams. Cool first choice of opening remarks for the Canadian guy in front row center . [Ed Note: it was not cold in Canada as they came back but she is from California after all ;-) We did catch Nicks doing a Q&A after the Canadian premiere of her movie In Your Dreams and have the full video of that event right here.]
Buckingham then address the audience by stating that “it is over 3 years since they were on the stage together, and for a group that’s been around for a while it’s great to know that there are still chapters to be written.” He mentions they were in the studio to cut new material before the tour and it’s the best stuff they have done in a long time “in about a week we will be dropping an EP on iTunes” and this is one of them called Sad Angel. For a song that has not been released there were an insane number of people around me singing along to it. The song itself is a catchy uptempo soft rocker with Buckingham taking lead on vocals but Nicks backing up solidly most of the song. The obligatory little guitar solo in the middle of the song is there as well.
The star power of Nicks is very evident as the loudest audience roar of the night so far happens about 5 notes into the opening of Rhiannon. The whole stadium seems to be singing along as the words are almost as loud behind me as they are in front of me. I may be wrong but Nicks’s mic level for this song seemed to have been turned down a notch – perhaps her voice was a bit off tonight and they wanted to make the music louder. She clings on to her lace and bead adorning mic stand as Buckingham steps back for this song to stand beside Fleetwood’s drum kit. Clearly the spotlight is on one person at this point and time and she delivers.
“If it works, run it into the ground and move on” is how Buckingham starts off the next segment. The very well-known history of the follow up album to Rumours and its absolute disregard to the pop formula is presented and Buckingham recaps the brief history (again). “It was a line in the sand that helped remind me of what aspired to be an artist”. A four song segment from Tusk followed. Buckingham takes lead on a very energetic Not That Funny a song not played live since 1997. The much more familiar Tusk is next including videos of the marching band. Nicks goes in the spotlight again for Sisters Of The Moon a very typical Nicks song in the sense that it emphasizes her hypnotic drawn out vocals presented with moody dark music. The theme continues with the better known Sara.
As is often the case tonight the spotlight and pedestal goes back and forth between Nicks and Buckingham and what appears to have become Buckingham’s trademark we are treated to the well-known acoustic version of Big Love with nobody else on stage. The introduction is very familiar as Buckingham uses the same lines as his solo tour of last year (reviewed here) – “it describes the person I was at that time… one of the lines in the song is “looking out for love” but you know I wasn’t looking for love, I was looking out for it…. It was a contemplation of alienation it has now become a meditation on the power and importance of change”. Needless to say he delivers it with all the passion and rawness that makes him truly a rock legend. The sweat is dripping off his forehead at this point.
The mellow theme continues on for a couple of more with Nicks belting out Landslide with Buckingham providing the guitar support on stage, same situation for Never Going Back Again but with Buckingham singing as well. Nicks then introduces the next song Without You by saying this is a poem that she believes was written in 1970 before they (Nicks and Buckingham) moved to Los Angeles but Buckingham believes it was written in 1974 right after the Buckingham Nicks album. They both agree this is the nicest most beautiful song ever written and Nicks claims that it is Buckingham that made it beautiful. They found this song on YouTube in 2010 and now made it part of this tour.
Fleetwood came out from his big drum kit to play in front of a smaller kit for Gypsy wearing bright red shoes, shorts and of course his trademark hanging balls. This is the first time one could see him up close this concert. Speaking of Gypsy the power of Stevie Nicks is very evident when a few twirls by her causes the loudest cheers of the night.
The band kicked into high gear with the up tempo and energetic Eyes Of The World – and Buckingham lets loose on the electric guitar. Nicks is back in the spotlight for a very strong Gold Dust Woman with her gold shawl on at this point and with her on stage posing with her arms outstretched and back to the audience.
The highlight of the night for me was the riff fueled So Afraid whose Buckingham guitar wizardry was front and center. From where I stood the sweat dripping from Buckingham was inches away from my hand. His passionate playing and singing really blows everyone away.
Next up to end the main set is Stand Back and Go Your Own Way – the last song is when Nicks wears the top hat. The encore has World Turning (and this is where Mick Fleetwood performs his drum solo) and Don’t Stop. A bow from all four band members and off they go.
Buckingham and Nicks come back for one last song. They tell us this is the last song of the night and I scream out “two more!” and Nicks looks right at me mouths to me “I’m too tired” with a smile. Say Goodbye is indeed the last song but before they perform it, a fan that was waving a Buckingham Nicks CD in the air gets it autographed by both Nicks and Buckingham. Say Goodbye was written 10 years ago and the familiar Buckingham finger picking style is heard – very beautiful duet to end the night. The final good nights were offered by Nicks and Fleetwood. “Take care of yourselves and more importantly be kind to one another” – declared Fleetwood.
The stage set up constituted of a massive video screen behind the whole band and two smaller screens at the sides of the stage. There were also four big panels that moved around a bit at the top of the stage that gave a nice peripheral glow to the stage.
The band’s two “front persons” Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were in top form tonight. Recounting tales of lovers scorn most of the night, they shone the brightest when they shared the spotlight and their eyes were locked on to each other. No doubt a well-rehearsed theatrical act at this point, and yet many in the audience still held on to the romantic notion of teenage lovers still clinging on to a 40 year forbidden romance. City after city the same looks are exchanged, the same lines recited, and the audience cheers at the exact same moment – such is how modern day concert experiences are. The foundation of thundering drums and booming bass were properly represented by Mick Fleetwood and John McVie respectively. There were also two supporting musicians and two supporting singers on stage.
Was tonight a throwback to the excess of the 70’s and a full celebration of the band’s long hair, cigarette stained fingers, bell bottoms and beards? Absolutely, but done in a way that romanticized a bygone era both in the failed relationships of the band members as well as the timelessness of their music. There is a reason why Rumours is the 9th biggest selling album of all time in the States and tonight was an accentuated reminder as to why.
The setlist was no surprise as Fleetwood Mac has been playing the exact same songs every night of this tour so far. What was quite a disappointment was that for some reason this show was the only one where a song was dropped as Silver Springs was not to be played tonight. 7 songs from their defining album Rumours, 4 from Tusk and Fleetwood Mac, 2 from Mirage and their upcoming EP, and 1 each from Say You Will, Tango In The Night and Stevie Nicks solo The Wild Heart. Compared to the band’s 2009 tour the setlist showed very little variation. Of the 29 songs played tonight only 6 were not played on the band’s Unleashed: The Hits Tour of 2009. Not That Funny and Sisters of The Moon from Tusk, Eyes of the World from Mirage, Say Goodbye from Say You Will and Sad Angel and Without You from the upcoming yet to be released EP constituted the “new” songs this tour.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 – T-Mak World’s best concert of 2013 so far. Fleetwood Mac elevated Newark to a much better place for 150 minutes and there is no other band that can boast two epic singers like this band. Having a front row center seat is the ultimate throne in the arena – try and sit there at least once in your life.