There was a moment Sunday night when Stevie Nicks began recounting all of the acts she and Lindsay Buckingham once opened for, prior to joining the ranks of Fleetwood Mac.
It was an impressive roster of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers — Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, et al — but also an anecdote making the refrain from Landslide (“I’m getting older too”) take on an extra, poignant dimension.
The years continue to accumulate (Nicks is 66), and bands like Fleetwood Mac begin to crumble and fall away — almost anything can be survived, whether it’s romantic entanglements or prodigious drug use, but no one can outrun time.
Such a feeling hung in the air Sunday at American Airlines Center as a sold-out and terrifically enthusiastic crowd welcomed Fleetwood Mac back to North Texas.
While the band itself was in town just last year, they didn’t have a key member in tow then as they did Sunday: Christine McVie, rejoining the ranks of the rock band after more than 15 years away, was a welcome addition to the core foursome of Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.
The familiar elements of a Fleetwood Mac performance were present in abundance — Fleetwood’s gaped-mouth timekeeping; Nicks’ mystical twirling and top hat; Buckingham’s incendiary guitar solos — but with Christine McVie back in the mix, the two hour-plus set felt slightly elevated, an extra, key ingredient making the well-worn (You Make Loving Fun; Little Lies; Say You Love Me) feel altogether revitalized.
Her lovely alto laid in alongside Nicks’ own gruff, feathery alto and Buckingham’s razor-wire tenor gave the show a feeling of balance, a restoration to the last, best possible version of the band beloved by the screaming thousands stuffed into the arena, something even Buckingham noted midway through.
“A band that has prevailed through good times and bad,” the singer-guitarist observed, “[And] with [Christine McVie’s] return, I believe we have begun an profound, prolific new chapter in this band.”
While that might seem hyperbolic, watching Fleetwood Mac — the main quintet augmented by two more musicians and three back-up singers, who were mainly in place to sing the high notes Nicks and Christine McVie can no longer quite accurately hit — rip into a stomping, searing Tusk and a freewheeling Go Your Own Way suggested there might be a little gas left in the tank. (The current “On With the Show” tour continues to be extended, with the band already planning a return trip to the AAC March 4.)
That said, Buckingham and Nicks’ mystifying decision to render Never Going Back Again, a sprightly acoustic ditty, at half-speed, as though dosed with elephant tranquilizers, indicates that not every current creative impulse is solid.
Still, the sway of staples such as The Chain, Gold Dust Woman and Don’t Stop is considerable. Even in its heyday, Fleetwood Mac was already cognizant of the value of cherishing memories while maintaining forward momentum.
Put it another way: Yesterday’s gone, but don’t stop thinking about tomorrow — for as long as you’re able, at any rate.
Preston Jones, 817-390-7713