Dance Review Palm Beach Post
Call it the battle of the rehab bands.
If you paid a visit to the South Florida Fairgrounds Saturday night, you could have seen two '70s legends competing on separate stages: Gregg Allman at the Heritage Festival, Fleetwood Mac at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre.
Both acts have had their well-chronicled share of ups and downs, including tales of drug addiction and marriages gone sour. But it's the music that keeps things going, more or less.
With Fleetwood Mac, which sold out the 20,000-seat amphitheater, it's a little more and a little less. The band that took soft rock to its highest point in the '70s hasn't quite broken the chains that link its signature members: Mick Fleetwood, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine and John McVie. But it's not exactly defining itself as a contemporary act.
Its set was almost a carbon copy of its greatest hits-laden TV special. Oh, a couple of the new songs from its latest album, The Dance, were included, but mostly as a momentary distraction from the classics.
The good news is that the material holds up remarkably well, even if the band's performances ranged from ragged to superlative. These are songs with strong melodic hooks and reasonably intelligent lyrics. It's a rare - and winning - combination.
Buckingham was the most valuable player of the night. He's the one who seems most eager to continue exploring the music, as he carefully crafted explosive renditions of song after song. His voice has developed a nice edge over time, but it's his quasi-rock, quasi-classical guitar playing that truly astonishes.
As for lead singer Stevie Nicks, well she still can spin those shawls, but her voice is a study of inconsistency. In Gold Dust Woman, she was flat and unfocused. Conversely, in Landslide, she was the consummate storyteller.
The rest of the band did their jobs in a paint-by-numbers fashion: Fleetwood stood his goofy ground on the drum set; Christine McVie sang and played the keyboard with her familiar restraint.
As for the evening's other act, it's a shame that space doesn't permit us from writing more about Allman, one of the proud voices of Southern rock. He was here without the band he formed with his late brother, Duane, but he held more than his own with a newly reconstituted ensemble.
Allman sang some of the Allman Brothers Band favorites. But he also showed a new, bluesy side in material from his latest album, Searching for Simplicity. If he keeps it up, maybe next year Coral Sky could see fit to give him the bigger stage he deserves.