It was French fries and Cokes on the concourse of the Capital Centre last night, but inside the arena it was a hard-edged Big Mac attack for 21,000 delirious fans of Fleetwood Mac.
The rock quintet has two essential elements. Its heart lies in the crisp, cutting drumming of Mick Fleetwood and the thunderous rolling bass lines of John McVie, survivors of Fleetwood Mac's birth 10 years ago. The soul of the group has come in two installments, first with Christine McVie's earthy musings and then five years ago with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. The latter two brought a realistic spareness and a mystical sense of wonder, respectively. The Big Mac list of ingredients was complete.
In concert last night, the band surpassed the coolness that marked "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumours" and has become less evident on their latest album, "Tusk." They are simply one of the most exciting and energetic bands now working. Drawing equally from those three most recent albums, Fleetwood Mac showcased each member's strengths while covering up occasional weaknesses, such as Stevie Nicks increasingly evident vocal limitations. Nicks may be the obvious focal point of the group, but Buckingham is the magnet drawing out Fleetwood Mac's primal rock energy.
On "The Chain" and the new "What Makes You Think You're the One," Buckingham's vibrantly inventive guitar leads and exhausting vocal extremes made a strong case for Fleetwood Mac's breaking down traditional barriers in rock and pop sensibility.
There was no shortage of older material, most of it given a density and tough insistency through increased instrumental coloring and blistering solos. Toward the end, the group launched into one of its biggest hits and best songs, "Go Your Own Way." Fleetwood Mac had insisted on going its own way, and as rock enters the '80s, its audience is all the better for it.