You may have noticed over the years that I’m not one for going to large stadium gigs. The intimate, smaller venues are almost so much more engaging – and generally a lot cheaper – for most bands that I love. That said, I have been very lucky with the bands I have seen in smaller venues. Sometimes though, you just have to bite the bullet and Friday night was just such a time – to see Fleetwood Mac play Wembley Arena – and I’m very glad I did.
The band came on around 8.30pm and started off quite slowly, with a bit of chat and a few slow songs. Stevie Nicks seemed a bit faltering and the energy was a bit off, but then, suddenly, everything turned around as they belted out hit after hit with barely a pause in between. Lindsay Buckingham did most of the audience interaction for the night, and seemed to be on stage more than any other band member performing a number of solo acoustic versions of classic songs. Never Going Back Again was stunning and moving and Buckingham’s guitarmanship is outstanding. Around an hour in the band was on top form, Nicks seemed to be more comfortable and started engaging more with the audience, and during World Turning we were treated to an extended guitar solo with shouted audience instructions from Mick Fleetwood, which culminated in a turntable/drumming head to head before the rest of the band came back on stage to finish the song.
I don’t think any Fleetwood Mac fan was disappointed, other than by the absence of Christine McVie. They played songs from all stages of their career – even solo efforts from Nicks and Buckingham and, most wonderfully, the blues classic ‘Oh Well’ from their pre Nicks and Buckingham incarnation – with Lindsay carrying off Peter Green’s singing and searing guitar with energy and impact. The only downside on the night was that we were so far back and the video screens were a bit crap, but the energy carried around the arena to keep us hooked. The full set, with no support, was about two and a half hours – three encores – impressive stuff and a wonderful night.