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Courier-Post (09/29/1997), Guitarist Is The Star For Fleetwood Mac < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Courier-Post (09/29/1997), Guitarist Is The Star For Fleetwood Mac


By Chuck Darrow

Courier-Post (South New Jersey Newspaper)


Forget Stevie Nicks and her Morticia Addams fashion statement.

Forget the jukebox full of hit songs that made much of the evening a not-too-taxing stroll down Nostalgia Boulevard.

Forget that one of the most commercially potent pop music acts ever has reunited after a full decade.

The true value of Friday night's performance by Fleetwood Mac at the Blockbuster-Sony Enterainment Centre at the Waterfront lay in the work of guitariest Lindsay Buckingham, whose versatility and multiple talents made an otherwise pedestrian program a personal tour de force.

Buckingham, whose prowess with production and arrangements had as much to do with Fleetwood Mac's late-1970s mega-success as anything else did, has always been an unsung hero overshadowed by the group's singers, Nicks and Christine McVie.

But Buckingham set the record straight Friday.

The show's structure had Buckingham serving up his lesser-known material between what were generally by-the-numbers renditions of greatest hits - "The Chain," "Dreams," "Say You Love Me," You Make Lovin' Fun," "Rhiannon," and others. His songs consistently provided breaths of fresh air in the otherwise stifling atmosphere of regurgitated radio fodder.

For example, his reading of the acoustic "Go Insane" contained more true depth of feeling than any number performed by either of the two vocalists. "Bleed to Love Her," a peppy piece of pop with an ever-so-slightly-reggae vibe, added lightness to the program's often-plodding demeanor.

Any "My Little Demon" not only rocked liked crazy, but was a marvel of keep-you-on-your-toes rhythmic changes.

Any on virtually every song, Buckingham's guitar work sparkled. With equal facility and intelligence, his playing traversed the six-string spectrum: from intricate and delicate lattice-work acroustic finger-picking to soaring, clear-as-a-bell leads and sturdy, authoriative chords.

Had Buckingham's four teammates -- and their four-person crew of back-up singers and players -- performed half as well, the concert would have been a success. As it was, there's no question the sellout audience reveled in seeing and hearing the band's many hits in a live setting. And on that level, the gig certainly worked.

But the bulk of the material offered little other than nostalgic recognition. Keyboardist Christine McVie was solid if unspectacular.

And the performance by frontwoman Nicks was dreary. She seemed to make no effort to infuse her songs with any kind of energy or emotion. And her voice, at least on Friday, was nowhere near as strong as it was 20 years ago.

Submitted by Gail Cahill Sicklerville, New Jersey

Date: 1997-09-29         Number of views: 1375

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