Denver Post, Sunday, October 12, 2003 Fleetwood Mac fans can enjoy 3 out of 4
Denver Post, Sunday, October 12, 2003
Fleetwood Mac fans can enjoy 3 out of 4
Because as he proved Saturday night, with three of his Fleetwood Mac compadres and a seven-piece backup band at the Pepsi Center, the guy still has it.
And so does Mick Fleetwood, and, amazingly, so does John McVie. Stevie Nicks, on the other hand, is a different story. But few fans were quiddling. So what if she could no longer hit the high notes, so what if she struggled to keep the phrasing going and waved her hands around like a grandma trying to get someone to take the muffins out of the oven?
Heck, she looked just like someone's eccentric grandma, in her witchy-poo dress and black sneakers, and her wooden demeanor, flat vocals and tired shawls did nothing to help.
But she is of "Rhiannon" and "Gold Dust Woman," and everyone seems to be willing to forgive her on that basis alone. And, thankfully, she saved her voice on other songs to pull off reasonable renditions of those.
Buckingham was the exact opposite, all little-kid energy and clean, cutting guitar work, his perpetually under-appreciated prowess no better demonstrated than on "Come," a track from the new "Say You Will," a disc that has been alternately lauded and reviled for being two solo efforts smashed together, a vehicle for Nicks and Buckingham to get material that otherwise wasn't appealing to jaded music executives.
The audience was much more open to the new tunes, which made up about a quarter of the two-hour show. And that was OK, since the group offered some of the best of the batch, including the infectious "What's the World Coming To?" and the poppy "Say Goodbye," both of which put the classic Nicks- Buckingham vocals to good use and showcased the chest-thumping rhythmic marvel that is Fleetwood and McVie.
In fact, those two looked and sounded the way they always have, Fleetwood the benevolent drummer grinning as though he is about to give the neighborhood kids all the candy bars they want, his gleeful mania belying the dynamic percussion whiz he is. And while McVie has admitted to problems with his hands, they were the masters of the bass all night, laying down a line at times so intricate he beat Buckingham out for intensity honors.
Meanwhile, Nicks looked as though she had just taken a sleeping pill. She and Buckingham humored the audience with poignant glances and hugs, although at one point after the well-executed "Landslide," Buckingham grabbed her hand as though to kiss it and wound up kissing his own. Still, feigned or heartfelt, the fans ate it up.
They also gobbled up seriously pumping versions of the opener, "The Chain," as well as "Second Hand News," both from 1977's "Rumours," the album that chronicled the bands's troubles at the time.
I missed Christine McVie, whose strong vocals and keyboard work could have bolstered Nicks. (McVie retired in 1997, after the smash reunion tour "The Dance.")
But just barely.