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San Francisco Examiner (05/24/1997), Fleetwood Mac Thinks About Tomorrow: Band shakes off rust at reunion sessions < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

San Francisco Examiner (05/24/1997), Fleetwood Mac Thinks About Tomorrow: Band shakes off rust at reunion sessions

San Francisco Examiner, Saturday, May 24, 1997

Fleetwood Mac Thinks About Tomorrow: Band shakes off rust at reunion session

by Joel Selvin, Chronicle Pop Music Critic

Stevie Nicks fluffed the opening line to "Dreams." Twice.

She can be forgiven her nervousness. Not only was she filming a concert for MTV and recording a live album, but she hadn't played with her colleagues from Fleetwood Mac in more than 15 years. She stepped to the mike for her first lead vocal of the evening and blew the entrance to a song she has sung a thousand times.

The famous five were gathered Thursday on a soundstage at the Warner Bros. lot to reprise their glory days as one of the most popular rock groups of the '70s, a reunion the band will repeat starting in September on stages across the country.

After Nicks' stumble, the group sputtered to a halt behind her, and she looked momentarily lost and helpless. Her former paramour, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, whose warmth suffused the evening, wrapped an arm around her shoulder and gently walked her through the opening of her signature song: "There you go again, you say you want your freedom."

Almost two hours later, the initial gaffe long forgotten, the five musicians, surrounded by about 100 members of the USC Trojan marching band, triumphantly accepted the last of several standing ovations from an invited audience whose members included Brian Wilson, Winona Ryder and Sela Ward (Courtney Love and Cindy Crawford were expected last night at the second of two taping sessions).

Actually Fleetwood Mac never went away. The nucleus of the band, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, kept a version of the group up and running throughout the long hiatus, even releasing "Time," a 1995 album that nobody noticed, with an edition that featured guitarists Dave Mason and Billy Burnette.

Now, borrowing a strategy from the Eagles -- who filmed an MTV comeback concert, recorded a live album and launched a phenomenally successful reunion on the same stage three years ago -- the decade's other super-popular American rock group has returned with the songs from "Rumours," one of the best- selling albums of all time.

While the Eagles' popularity only increased in their absence, there would appear to be no similar groundswell behind the Fleetwood Mac reunion. But Thursday, augmented by additional musicians, the big Mac showed off a glossy update of its once-ubiquitous sound that should make its reunion a highlight of the fall touring schedule.

"The way this reconvening came about was actually pretty organic," Buckingham said. "I asked Mick to play on a solo album I was working on -- that I still am working on -- and we were all in the studio together one day. We looked around and said, 'This feels pretty good -- isn't that weird?'"

The two female vocalists looked gorgeous: the newly slender Christine McVie, elegantly understated in tailored black velvet, and Nicks stunning in her trademark black, draped in a procession of gauzy capes and shawls.

But it was Buckingham who cracked the audience's reserve with a blistering solo at the end of an agonized "I'm So Afraid," which drew the evening's first thunderous ovation. Throughout the 21-song set, Buckingham jolted the cavernous space time and time again with raw electricity and neurotic intensity. Perhaps this time around he will get his due as one of pop's great eccentric masters.

Buckingham stopped the crowd cold with two solo numbers on acoustic guitar, radical reinterpretations of Mac's "Big Love" and "Go Insane," a song from one of his unjustly neglected solo albums. He brought the show to a feverish close with a blitzing "Go Your Own Way" that set the stage for encores of "Tusk" and "Don't Stop." The band also performed a few new songs, including a snappy Christine McVie hit single candidate, "Temporary One."

McVie, sounding splendid, followed Nicks' bobbled "Dreams" with some typical self-effacing humor. "It's probably my turn now," she said. She handled "Say You Love Me," recast in a countrified version, and closed the show at the grand piano with a silky solo version of "Songbird."

Nicks never lost her nervousness. Her over-the-top vibrato was all but missing, her timing was off and she missed more than a few notes. But she seemed to be a more grounded performer, not once reverting to her spinning Sufi dancing. And her Piafesque opening to "Rhiannon" restored some luster to an uneven performance.

Thanks to Les for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.


Date: 1997-05-24         Number of views: 1135

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