New York Newsday (05/26/2003), Rumor Has It: Mac Still Has It
New York Newsday, May 26, 2003
MUSIC REVIEW: FLEETWOOD MAC. Seen Friday at Nassau Coliseum.
Rumor Has It: Mac Still Has It
By Rafer Guzmán ,Staff Writer
Steely Dan, Jefferson Starship and other bands from the Now Generation can pass through town nearly unnoticed, but Fleetwood Mac generates so much excitement you'd think it was 1977 again.
There are reasons for that. One is that Fleetwood Mac, in an accidental way, represented the emotional instability of its era. Divorces and breakups strained the band members as they recorded the 1977 album "Rumours," which would mark the most successful and possibly unhappiest period of their lives. Those busted relationships, and the songs that grew out of them, still speak powerfully to fans who lived through their own turmoil in the 1960s and '70s.
There's another, simpler reason Fleetwood Mac remains popular: It was, and is, an exceedingly good rock band.
Its new album, "Say You Will" (Reprise) is far better than you might expect from a band that peaked 25 years ago and has since lost a key songwriter, Christine McVie (she opted for retirement). Yet the disc has all the trademarks of classic Mac: mystical ballads from Stevie Nicks, distinctive pop gems from Lindsey Buckingham, and bittersweet love songs from both.
The glamorous, failed romance between Buckingham and Nicks still is the band's central story, and it's a heart-tugger: They were longtime sweethearts, talented, good-looking and seemingly made for each other. Even after their breakup, they stayed in the band, as if unable to escape a destiny they had thwarted. To this day, they write aching songs that are, directly or indirectly, about the love they had. ("Say You Will" ends with Buckingham's "Say Goodbye" and Nicks' "Goodbye Baby.")
They're not above using that history to juice up a performance. During several emotionally charged "Rumours" songs, they faced off across the stage, trading accusatory lines such as "Someone has taken my place" (from Buckingham's "Second- Hand News") and "Women, they will come and they will go," (from Nicks' "Dreams"). On the new track "Say You Will," they sang the chorus together: "Give me one more chance/ At least give me time to change your mind."
Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie stayed generally in the background, while Nicks looked oddly stiff. Her voice is still pleasingly husky, but she seemed prone to fudging, avoiding the satisfying high notes on "Rhiannon" and "Gypsy."
That left Buckingham to carry the night, and he did so with remarkable ease. Still rock-star slim at 53, Buckingham paced the stage, head-butted his colleagues (including, at one point, Nicks) and served as frontman, backup singer and guitar god. On "Come," from the new album, he worked through a guitar solo that escalated and accelerated until exploding into a noisy crescendo.
The band ran through plenty of old chestnuts (such as "World Turning," "Stand Back" and the Christine McVie hit "Don't Stop"). But a new tune by Buckingham, "Say Goodbye," spoke the strongest. "I let you slip away/There was nothing I could do," he and Nicks sang together under a spotlight. "That was so long ago/Still I often think of you."
Thanks to Saradorna for posting this to the Ledge.
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