Though key members are now in their 70s, the band still brought the house down in Tulsa.
Fleetwood Mac’s frontwoman Stevie Nicks once said in an interview, “If you can’t rock and roll, you’re old.” Apparently early 70s is not old, as the longstanding members of Fleetwood Mac who still perform together are all between 70 and 75 years old. Their level of talent and performance at the BOK Center last week does not reflect these numbers. The only aspects of the show that remind you that you are not in a time machine back to the 1970s is Mick Fleetwood’s balding white hair and new guitarists Neil Finn and Mike Campbell.
The show began with the formidable drum rhythm of “The Chain,” a song which I hope that most people my age knew before hearing the “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” soundtrack or Harry Styles’s cover of it on his recent tour. Intricate video projections with visual effects over live filming accompanied each song in true 1970’s hippie fashion. The hits kept coming with “Little Lies” and “Dreams.” The latter was featured on the 1977 album “Rumours,” as was “The Chain.” To this day, it is one of the highest-selling albums of all time. In the middle of the show, Fleetwood played the longest drum solo I’ve ever seen. The band gave the whole stage to him, save for a hipster guy playing the accompanying bongos. The joy that Fleetwood clearly gets out of performing was infectious, spreading to the entire arena.
Fleetwood Mac’s touring roster has changed multiple times over the band’s nearly 50-year history, and the new guitarists are part of the band’s new line-up. Founding members such as Bob Welch and Peter Green parted ways early on. Earlier this year, the band decided to fire Lindsey Buckingham, who became a key member in the 1970s. Finn and Campbell joined Fleetwood Mac this year as replacements for Buckingham. Finn was a frontman for Crowded House and Campbell was a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, a legendary group in its own right. These two proved themselves to be incredible additions to the band with each epic guitar solos from classic hits, one after another.
These changes are only small pieces of the band’s tumultuous timeline that was largely due to personal relationships within the band. However, the household names of Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood have remained resilient enough through almost five decades to come together once again for another nationwide concert tour. Tulsa was the first stop and therefore the first to see the new show. My mom could hardly stay in her seat from beginning to end. And yes, I went to the concert with my mom. It’s her favorite band and one of mine as well.
Fleetwood Mac and particularly Nicks have a history with Tom Petty that predates the addition of Campbell. One of the first singles of Nicks’s solo career was a duet with Petty titled “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” in 1981. They did special performances together on many occasions. Upon the one-year anniversary of Petty’s untimely death, Fleetwood Mac gave a tribute to him at the BOK Center by singing his song “Free Fallin’” and showing photos of the two together over the years. Sitting next to me, my best friend and huge Tom Petty fan started crying, so I started crying. We were a mess. The concert was one for the books.
The Fleetwood Mac concert reinforced one principle that I have held for quite some time: if your music doesn’t have a pants-ripping guitar solo, then you’re doing something wrong. Not to say that there is a correct way to make music. But the world needs more music with real instruments and real standout moments like those from Fleetwood Mac.