Boston Globe (09/27/2003), Reconstituted Mac has a big, tasty sound
Boston Globe, September 27, 2003
Reconstituted Mac has a big, tasty sound
By Ken Capobianco, Globe Correspondent
You'd think that by now, the melodrama known as Fleetwood Mac would have been played out. There have been thrilling musical moments, leaden albums, romantic turmoil, and personal tribulations. As guitarist Lindsey Buckingham said early in their FleetCenter show on Wednesday, "it's been a somewhat strange trip, but here we are."
Indeed, there they were -- minus Christine McVie -- but sounding vital as they plowed through their catalog of hits and some of the best songs on their recent "Say You Will" CD.
They opened with "The Chain" and an airy "Dreams," but it took a while for them to settle in, relax, and get the mojo working. Buckingham, vocalist Stevie Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist John McVie were augmented by seven backing musicians and vocalists. This made for some delicious harmonies and a robust sound throughout.
Buckingham remains the lightning rod, reeling off numerous rippling guitar solos including an over-the-top one midway through the show that nearly ripped a hole in the arena's roof. His solo acoustic reading of "Big Love" was electrifying -- all lucid fingerpicking and heated vocals. The second half of the concert was fired by his brooding rendition of "I'm So Afraid," featuring another majestic solo. The intensity of his playing came as no surprise to longtime followers, but to anyone who thinks of the Mac's music as flyweight, it was an epiphany.
Christine McVie was missed. Her vocals always brought an earthiness to the group's sound. But Nicks compensated, appearing more at ease than she has recently. She eliminated the shtick -- there was little bewitched weaving -- and made the songs the focus. Nicks has lost some of her upper range -- veering into Alvin and the Chipmunks territory at times -- but she was compelling on "Landslide" and "Rhiannon," and injected "Stand Back" with genuine passion.
Luckily, the group is touring behind one of its better records, and the new material stood up well. This was especially true of "Peacekeeper" and "Say You Will," both of which rank with some of the finer slices of pop the band has produced over the past decade.
There were some dead spots during the set, including an overly long drum and bongo solo from Fleetwood during the encore, "World Turning." But they were more than overshadowed by such highs as the hearty "Tusk," during which Buckingham dropped his guitar and engaged in a mock boxing match with Nicks before the two embraced momentarily.
It was a perfect crystallization of the duo's notoriously tumultuous personal relationship.
Thanks to John Run for posting this to the Ledge.
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