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Philadelphia Inquirer (05/21/2003), Mac brings it all back < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Philadelphia Inquirer (05/21/2003), Mac brings it all back

Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2003

Mac brings it all back
Fleetwood Mac played the hits and gave them a new life.
Inquirer Music Critic

Toward the end of "Go Your Own Way," one of a generous number of vintage hits Fleetwood Mac performed Monday at the near-capacity First Union Center, Lindsey Buckingham appeared to be overtaken by an animalistic spirit.

He was playing a guitar solo - a carefully constructed thematic excursion defined by harpooning, pitch-bending long tones - when Buckingham suddenly began to flail at the strings. He lifted both hands high in the air and repeatedly smacked the fretboard. His body appeared tense, and there was rage in his movements. It was as though a gorilla had snuck inside his body, still rail-thin at 54, and was going his own way, lashing out, manipulating his arms, generating a hailstorm of dissonance.

The brief display of fury was disorienting, if not downright puzzling, especially during a harmless little affirmation such as "Go Your Own Way." But it did what so many live performances from heritage artists don't: It pulled a timeworn and overplayed song 26 years into the present and gave it blood and guts.

The 2003 edition of Fleetwood Mac - minus mellow-voiced mainstay Christine McVie, who has retired, but bolstered by six backing musicians and two singers - managed to do that with surprising consistency Monday. Some interpretations of old hits were unsettled: Despite a seven-voice chorale, "Rhiannon" never got close to the dreamy, idyllic tone of the 1975 recording. And some were plain tepid, like the encore's "Don't Stop," which the band should have put out to pasture when the Clinton era ended.

But there were moments when the material from Fleetwood Mac's two monster commercial successes, 1975's eponymous album and its 1977 follow-up, Rumours, sounded astoundingly fresh.

Among them: the opener "The Chain," the two-step "Never Going Back Again" and the gorgeous duet "Landslide," pieces enhanced by the close-singing alchemy of Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who moved slowly and did far less twirling than on previous tours; "I'm So Afraid," a Buckingham vocal now framed by kerranging hard-rock guitars; Nicks' quietly intense "Gold Dust Woman"; and "World Turning," which acquired the faintest hint of the blues, and was expanded into a gimmicky showcase for drummer Mick Fleetwood.

And unlike many classic-rock acts, Fleetwood Mac doesn't shy away from new material. Several of the songs from Say You Will, released last month, grew more compelling in performance, notably the Nicks-penned title track and Buckingham's "Goodbye to You," a poised, tempo-less reverie that was as wrenching as the end of "Go Your Own Way" was furious.

Thanks to Lee and WindingRoad for posting this to the Ledge.

Date: 2003-05-21         Number of views: 1251

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