MSNBC Living (8/20/1997), Fleetwood Mac’s rekindled epiphanies
MSNBC Living -- August 20, 1997
Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks at a MTV concert where the band's most popular lineup reunited for the first time in 15 years.
Fleetwood Mac’s rekindled epiphanies
‘The Dance’ a rare instance of a worthwhile comeback
Fleetwood Mac’s surprisingly potent comeback album could serve either as Fleetwood Mac’s final chapter or a prologue to a new saga.
CONSIDERING BABY BOOMERS’ insatiable hunger for nostalgia, it’s no wonder the comebacks keep coming. Smothered in hype, hoopla and moola, these ballyhooed spectacles seldom deliver on their promise of rekindled epiphanies, instead serving up shrink-wrapped sentimentality. Fleetwood Mac is a surprising exception. “The Dance” recaptures the robust pop-rock and conflicted emotions of the band’s most creative and lucrative lineup: Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie and John McVie. Midway through “The Dance,” Buckingham says, “I think we’ve all grown,” an assertion proved not only in the album’s solid musicianship but also in the renewed commitment and palpable devotion that bind the once-estranged players. The album was culled from two private concerts staged at Warner Bros.’ Burbank studios in May (and taped for an MTV special, “Fleetwood Mac: The Dance”). Even hardened cynics who fingered greed as the reunion’s catalyst were swept into the evening’s enveloping emotional drama. Much of that mood is preserved in “The Dance,” which could serve either as Mac’s final chapter or a prologue to a new saga. Ironically, it is Buckingham, formerly the band’s invisible wizard, who radiates star power, singing with convincing passion and playing guitar with technical prowess and heartfelt joy. In addition to revitalizing “Big Love” and the dark and bluesy “I’m So Afraid,” he contributes two striking new tunes, a plaintive “Bleed To Love Her” and the edgy, eccentric “My Little Demon.” Christine McVie brings upbeat charm to “Everywhere,” “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” and her new original, “Temporary One,” a peppy, drum-shuffle love song that plays up her sunny but never sugary vocals. Nicks’ new “Sweet Girl” is thin but touching, as is “Silver Springs,” the rarely heard B-side of “Go Your Own Way.” The vocally fit gypsy poetess shines in a bittersweet arrangement of “Rhiannon” and an absolutely heartbreaking acoustic rendition of “Landslide.” The band falters initially on “Go Your Own Way,” but regains its footing in two celebratory closers, a primal “Tusk” and the cheerful “Don’t Stop.” Both are backed by the 85-piece USC Trojan Marching Band, an addition that could have proved fatally schmaltzy on “Don’t Stop,” the rah-rah anthem appropriated by Democrats in the 1992 presidential campaign. In Fleetwood Mac’s loving care, the song’s class and naive optimism are fully restored. — Edna Gundersen