FLEETWOOD Mac seems to revel in its own ironies.
It's the classic case of the more things change the more they stay the same.
The band's strongest entity has always reflected its name, and Wednesday night's show at the Capital Centre was no different, as the groove laid down by drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie was as tight as ever.
But where keyboardist Christine McVie and tambourine queen Stevie Nicks used to be the unquestioned leaders of the band on stage -- the crowd used to "ooh" and "aah" just at the sight of them -- the two newest members, guitarists Rick Vito and Billy Burnette, seemed to take over that role for a largely female audience.
Not only did Nicks, looking more than just a few pounds over playing weight and singing in whatever key she pleased, conspicuously -- off stage after every song to get some new lace to twirl around in, the stone-cold McVie never seemed to warm up to the crowd at all.
Keep in mind that this is being billed as the leading ladies' swan song to a legendary group that has somehow always flourished amid any number of problems.
If there is hope for Fleetwood and John McVie to hold this band together post-females, it lies with Vito and Burnette, so maybe it's not so bad that they are stealing the show as the tour winds down.
For starters, their vocals and performance techniques were immensely more effective. After three years in the band, Burnette and Vito -- a pair of former session men -- still seem excited by the fact that they are now vested members of Fleetwood Mac.
More importantly, their songwriting abilities on "Behind The Mask," the band's latest album, shows that Nicks and McVie might not be missed at all.
As for the show's content, the group tiptoed around all of departed Lindsay Buckingham's material for two hours before Burnette's did a masterful job of delivering the vocals to "Go Your Own Way" and "Don't Stop," two of the show's all-too-few highlights.
While it might be excusable that the band pass on other Buckingham gems like "Big Love" and "Hold Me," it is unforgivable that Nicks couldn't perform "Gypsy" or "Sara" and McVie couldn't do "Say You Love Me" or "No Questions Asked" just one last time.
Nicks, however, did manage to get the band to crank up a heated version of "Stand Back," one of her solo tunes, and, as her parting shot to the fans, a beautiful acoustic version of "Landslide" helped by Burnette's guitar.
It's a pretty sad commentary when the highlight of a 2 hour and 15 minute show is a drum solo, but Fleetwood's creative and comical genius almost made this disastrous concert worth the price of admission in one 10-minute flurry.
Sporting a gray vest, Fleetwood, with his trademark devilish grin, moved in front of his riser to deliver a solo by beating on his body, which had hidden drum machines strategically placed all over it.
A pound to the chest would produce a snare, a hit to the stomach was a bass, the left side and right side were littered with cymbals and a low blow was a gong.
As for laughs, you couldn't ask for more. But for music, there were better places to be.