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Classic East Festival Day Two: Fleetwood Mac steals the show

Keaton Bell / Red Dirt News
The inaugural Classic East Festival featured classic bands like Journey, Steely Dan, The Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac over two days.
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The first night of the inaugural Classic East festival set a pretty high bar.

Between The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and the Eagles, Saturday night was a roaring affair filled with good vibes and even better music. So it says a lot about the talent on display the following night of the festival that the quality was somehow amplified even more. 

But you knew you were in for a treat the second Earth, Wind, & Fire took the stage at Citi Field. The group has always been one of the grooviest bands in the game, and watching them get down to “Shining Star” and “September” was a reminder of just how great they are. Their music is decidedly dated in the best possible way, with a song like “Boogie Wonderland” able to make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time to an episode of Soul Train.   

Journey may be known more today for the hordes of drunk girls who insist on belting out “Don’t Stop Believin’” at karaoke, but that doesn’t give them nearly enough credit. They’re one of those bands whose signature song is so iconic, that it threatens to overwhelm all of their other notable hits (of which there are many). After all, who doesn’t know all the words to “Any Way You Want It” or tear up at “Open Arms”? 

People without a heart, that’s who.

While lead vocalist Steve Perry left the band in 1998, they’ve been in good hands with his replacement Arnel Pineda. It may feel a bit strange given it’s not the original lineup, but Pineda’s voice is eerily similar to Perry’s to the point that it’s easy to just give in and enjoy yourself. His manic energy was a joy to behold, and he gave his all to every single song on the set-list. Ending with an encore of their sensual pop-rock ballad “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” Journey gave the fans exactly what they wanted. 

But regardless of how kinetic Journey and Earth, Wind, & Fire were, all they did were whet the crowd’s appetite for Fleetwood Mac. While initially an English blues band in the ‘60s, the soft-rock super-group have been national treasures ever since the release of their iconic Rumours album.

And as Sunday night’s performance at Citi Field came along, it’s easy to see why they’ve amassed hundreds of millions of fans over their storied career. While the music of Fleetwood Mac is certainly mesmerizing on its own terms, a big part of its appeal has always lied in the stories behind each track and the romantic (or sexual) entanglements they’re rooted in. 

Which is why you could hear the crowd gasp when the lights went out and Mick Fleetwood’s instantly-recognizable drum-beat from “The Chain” began to play. Just the sight of the five key members of the group – Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, and John McVie – was enough to illicit mass cheering before anyone had sung a single note. 

What followed was two hours of bliss from a band working at the peak of their powers. Every member had their moment, with Christine belting out “You Making Loving Fun” like it was 1977 and Buckingham shredding it on his guitar during the obnoxiously superb “Tusk.” 

But the real center of attention was The White Witch herself. Fleetwood Mac has always been a band filled with creative types fighting for power, but more often than not Nicks came out on top. And watching her sing “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” while wearing her signature black suede boots with a flowy shawl to match, it’s obvious why. The woman bleeds music and you feel honored watching her pour her heart out onstage, such as when she dedicated “Landslide” to the late Glenn Frey (of the Eagles). 

But never one to dampen the mood, Fleetwood Mac kept the hits coming and the energy high for their entire set. In a set-list almost identical to their record-breaking On with the Show tour, the Mac managed to touch on big hits (“Everywhere”), underrated cuts (“Big Love”), and fan favorites (“Sara”). The only downside was that the condensed time-frame meant there was hardly any time for the stories and anecdotes their live shows have become so well-known for. But that’s a minor criticism for a set-list that delivered on all other fronts.

 

Ending the night with “Go Your Own Way” before popping out again for a fireworks-fueled encore of “Don’t Stop,” Fleetwood Mac reminded audiences what we’ve been missing. In a festival landscape that’s become a monotonous blur, Classic East stands out in terms of the level of talent on display and the sheer spectacle of the environment.

Now we can only hope that this becomes a yearly tradition.

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About the Author

Keaton Bell

Born in Minnesota but raised in Oklahoma, Keaton is a senior at the University of Oklahoma...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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