There was something old-fashioned about the way Fleetwood Mac casually arrived on stage last night at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, the site of the first date of the band’s 50-date reunion tour. Playing together for the first time in 3 years, band members strolled onto the stage without any major hoopla (though drummer Mick Fleetwood had his arms hoisted high above his head as if he were a referee indicating a touchdown). After a bit of tuning, the group launched into “Second Hand News,” and if the song sounded just a bit out of sync, the band set things straight on “The Chain,” which sounded just as eerie as ever and the group proceeded to play a flawless two-and-a-half hour set that showed it hasn’t lost a step despite the hiatus.
“There will never be another show like tonight,” singer Stevie Nicks told the capacity crowd in reference to the fact that it was the first date of the tour. After a spot-on rendition of the hit “Dreams,” the band played “Sad Angel,” a new song from an EP that guitarist Lindsay Buckingham said would be released in the coming weeks. The song had a driving guitar riff but suffered from its wimpy keyboard riff. Still, it was hardly a disaster and it led nicely into “Rhiannon” and a reworked rendition of “Tusk” that benefited from vintage footage of the USC marching band that played on the studio version. One of the 20-song set’s highlights, “Tusk” culminated with Buckingham at the front stage where he furiously soloed and provided a punctuation mark with an exuberant leg kick. That energy carried over into “Sisters of the Moon,” a song Nicks said the band hadn’t performed live since the ‘70s.
Band members then exited the stage so Buckingham could play the solo tune “Looking Out for Love,” which he described as a “meditation on the power and importance of change.” While Buckingham is a phenomenal guitarist and showman, he fared better when he had Nicks by his side and the two delivered a beautiful rendition of “Landslide” and then resuscitated the Buckingham Nicks tune “Without You.” Nicks changed into a gold shawl for the rousing rendition of “Gold Dust Woman” and then kept things going strong for her solo tune “Stand Back,” which sounded great with the Mac musicians backing her up. The concert concluded with the crowd favorite “Go Your Own Way” and the band returned for an encore that included rousing renditions of “World Turning” — which included a Mick Fleetwood drum solo — and “Don’t Stop.”