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Los Angeles Times (10/20/1997), Fleetwood Mac Grasps ABCs of Reunionizing < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Los Angeles Times (10/20/1997), Fleetwood Mac Grasps ABCs of Reunionizing

Fleetwood Mac Grasps ABCs of Reunionizing


Monday, October 20, 1997

Los Angeles Times

     The Baby Boomer mega-band reunion drill has gotten so familiar and predictably consumer-ready that we can now sort through each new manifestation alphabetically.
     A, B and C mark the minimum essentials for an enjoyable, if unambitious, reunion concert of the sort Fleetwood Mac managed, despite some glaring lapses, on Friday at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre. If famous rock returnees still have Ability (voices and instrumental chops reasonably intact), make a persuasive display of Bonding and have a deep, still-appealing Catalog to exploit, no fan is going to go away unhappy, and even a critic can't complain too much.
     D is for Detox, sometimes a necessary precondition of the undertaking. E through H contain the crux of the matter: Enormous Financial Gains Harvested.
     I stands for Inspiration and all the possibility it holds for fresh creativity matching former peak standards. No superstar reunion gets to I.
     But given the tightly wound all-around talent and nervous energy of Lindsey Buckingham, still an exceptional singer-guitarist and sonic architect, and the strength of "The Dance," Fleetwood Mac's version of the obligatory MTV comeback concert album, an optimist could hope that, this time, it might not be impossible. But all the Mac could muster was a sometimes sparkling, occasionally clunky recitation of the standard A, B and C of reunionizing.
     The show touched on each facet of Fleetwood Mac's something-for-everyone appeal, including its late-'70s celebrity status as a traveling soap opera of intra-band romantic entanglements. Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie all contributed to the catchy, readily digestible Southern California soft-rock side of the band, but Nicks and Buckingham had moments exploring romantically charged drama with taut urgency (Buckingham was so intent on putting a dramatic charge into the proceedings that he overdid it at times with shrill singing that eventually made him hoarse).

* * *
     The show teetered at first, with a lethargic sequence of disconnected oldies. Things began to flow better with a sequence of solo showcases and stripped-down acoustic readings of songs. The audience was indifferent to three of the four solid if not quite inspired new songs from "The Dance," hailing only Nicks' "Sweet Girl" with applause.
     Nicks has overcome most of the croakiness that marred her singing after the mid-1980s; "Landslide" and a stormily building "Rhiannon" were highlights, and she didn't do her patented swirling in diaphanous shawls to annoying excess. Annoying excess was Mick Fleetwood's department: a tiresome routine in which the gangly drummer pranced around at stage front, making bug eyes, screaming and tap-tap-tapping on drum-synthesizer pads sewn into his velveteen vest and knickers.
     Buckingham and Nicks were savvy enough to rekindle the old soap opera at several junctures, with lots of fixed-gaze eye contact during "Go Your Own Way" and especially during Nicks' glowing disappointed-lover's curse, "Silver Springs."
     The tour marks the 20th anniversary of the "Rumours" album, but this also is the 30th anniversary of Fleetwood Mac's original, all-British lineup. Including one or two very-oldies might have prevented the early lethargy.
     While it covered the ABCs of rock reunionizing, Fleetwood Mac's performance didn't fan any hopes kindled by "The Dance." And it didn't stop the final refrain of "Don't Stop"--"Ooh, don't you look back"--from being unintentionally ironic.
     * Fleetwood Mac plays Friday at the Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., 8 p.m. Sold out. (213) 850-2000.

Thanks to John Kinney for sending this to us.

Date: 1997-10-20         Number of views: 1329

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