We attended the Fleetwood Mac show in San Diego last night. Overall, I enjoyed the show but it was up and down to say the least. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. Neil - Neil was great as usual. Well-dressed and happy throughout. Seemed more subdued than I was anticipating clearly in the supporting player mode drifting in and out of the spotlight. He would move to the front of the stage to sing lead on a song or two and then drift into the background allowing others to take the spotlight. Interacted a bit with Stevie, Christine, and Mike but didn't have much of a chance to show the humor and chemistry that he usually displays. His shining moments were singing "Don't Dream It's Over" and accompanying Stevie for an acoustic version "Landslide". Other than that, he was a team player.
2. Stevie - very up and down. At times, she was magnificent - especially when she dialed down the improvisation and staying in key. At other times (esp Gypsy), she seemed off key and the band didn't seem comfortable. Stevie was clearly the "boss" on stage and others seemed a little tense and staged around her. She clearly got the biggest crowd responses throughout the night and most of the fans were there to see her although the couple next to us were huge Neil fans and said to me that they thought that the band should be backing him up ... . Her voice was actually quite good most of the time; strong and on point. Her singing issue is staying on key and avoiding improvisation - her singing wasn't nearly as good when she was improvising. She seemed to have tremendous respect for Neil and Mike, but my sense is that she doesn't view them as equal members as of yet. She made one cringe-worthy comment trying to complement "Don't Dream It's Over" and Neil. She said the song is one of those one in a million songs that everyone knows and loves ... but then said that "you may not know who sang it". Neil then made a funny gesture putting his hands out to say "c'mon ...". Neil tried to make it a cute moment but it wasn't the smoothest moment of the night. Stevie is much better staying on script.
3. Christine - seemed happy, however, her voice sounded quite fragile and required a lot of vocal assistance from the backup singers on stage. Her keyboard work also sounded off at times requiring assistance from the backup keyboardist. From her performance, I would think that this may be her last tour with the band.
4. John - stayed in the background as usual, but hit all the bass parts with precision and authority.
5. Mick - Mostly as energetic as ever. Seemed to tire a bit as the show went on but his drumming was really good. That being said, there was a fantastic co-percussionist on stage who did a lot of the heavy lifting and Mick didn't do many of the wonderful drum fills that he's done in the past (especially on "You Make Lovin Fun") and I missed hearing those.
6. Mike Campbell - I have mixed feelings about Mike in the band. He's a great guitarist ... no doubt. He and Neil have good chemistry ... no doubt. He's happy to be a team player so fits in well. That being said, he seemed a bit too restrained last night which is how I felt about Neil as well. Neil and Mike played too much of the team player role last night. I understand that Fleetwood Mac is a classic rock band where the main focus is playing the "hits" but this lineup sorely needs Neil and Mike to pump some energy into them. And that's only going to happen if they're freed up to be themselves and that was lacking last night. Neil's humor and banter were missing. Mike's passionate guitar shredding was missing. Sure Mike nailed the guitar parts but it was sort of like having a session player on stage rather than one of the world's great guitarist which Mike undoubtedly is.
That all being said, the band sounded generally good. The songs were performed well although I will say that they seemed "tighter" on the Stevie and Lindsey songs than the Christine songs.
One interesting side note is that they dropped "All Over Again" as the closer which Stevie and Christine have been performing together as an acoustic closer. They closed with "Don't Stop". Dropping "All Over Again" is oddly coincidental coming on the day that Lindsey was on CBS This Morning saying that Christine believes that Stevie wants Lindsey back in the band "in her heart". I wonder if this had anything to do with dropping the song from the set. Stevie and Christine didn't acknowledge each other on stage which also struck me as odd. Perhaps this was just a coincidence.
Overall, it was wonderful to see Neil, my favorite musician, last night. He seems happy which is great to see. The band is worth seeing and some of the issues (outside of Christine's vocals) can be easily worked out by allowing a bigger role for Neil/Mike and Stevie sticking to the script. I definitely recommended checking out the band if they come to a city near near.
My best guess, based on body language from last night, is that Neil leaves the band after this tour and returns to his other projects while Mike stays in the band until Lindsey returns for the "reunion tour".