“After eighty-two shows I think we can safely say our girl is back!” yells self-proclaimed party-starter Stevie Nicks, and certainly the return of Christine McVie after 16 years away gives a symmetry, solidity and sanity to folk rock’s freakiest family.
There’s Nicks flouncing around in flowing black lace like the LA hippie Miss Haversham to Dreams, Gypsy and Rhiannon, the ultimate mystic moon sister. There’s the rhythm section – John McVie and Mick Fleetwood – that look as though they’ve just hopped off a narrowboat to show you the pet mouse in their pocket. And there’s Lindsey Buckingham, spindly and virtuoso, roaring and barrelling through Tusk and pouring so much bark, blood and desperation into a breath-taking solo Big Love, a 1987 single about living the cocaine lifestyle “to its ultimate conclusion”, that you’d think he’d only just been forced into rehab. Christine doesn’t just return bearing authentic takes on Little Lies, You Make Loving Fun and hipster catnip Everywhere, but also a calm centre for this happy band of brilliant, incompatible crazies.
Sure, they fluff some of their finer moments – Buckingham destroys Never Going Back Again with painfully drawn-out verses, Fleetwood babbles like a deranged Gollum throughout his _World Turning _drum solo and Christine plonks out a workmanlike, inelegant finale of Songbird that we’d have loved her to savour. But these are niggles amid an otherwise faultless set of smashes. The Mac deploy their formidable catalogue without mercy or pause. Stunning