Irish Times (11/21/2003), Fleetwood Mac
Irish Times, November 21, 2003
by Nick Kelly
The Point, Dublin
STAGGERINGLY, it's 36 years since the original incarnation of Fleetwood Mac. Of course, only the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie has survived the many personnel changes that saw the band morph from being prime movers of the British blues revival in the late 1960s to the 1970s soft rock supergroup living it up in sun-kissed California.
There was nothing sun-kissed about this wet, wintry night in Dublin, but the rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of 8,000 nostalgiabingeing thirty and fortysomethings who were ecstatic at the return of the Mac.
With a long US tour behind them, the band - which comprises the classic Rumours-era line-up minus Christine McVie (as well as a small army of extra guitarists, percussionists and backing singers) - is extremely tight and well-drilled, which will be good news to those of you with tickets for their imminent trek around Britain's arenas.
The bulk of the set, which clocks in at more than two hours, revisits the halcyon days of the 1970s while a selection of new songs from their current album, Say You Will, is also given a fair hearing.
They hit the ground running with The Chain and Dreams, both from Rumours, which is one of those records that even people who don't have a record collection own.
My fear that the Corrs might appear from the wings to help Stevie Nicks sing Dreams proved unfounded. She doesn't need anyone's help: her golden, honeyed voice still sounded as seductive and smooth as ever - and she still looks like a million dollars, with her long blonde mane and flowing black dress. What's more, she carries herself with a grace and serenity that smacks of real class.
As for Lindsey Buckingham, he plays the role of the extrovert showman with relish. Looking fit and agile, he invests old songs like Never Going Back Again and Big Love (performed in solo acoustic mode) with the vigour and urgency of someone clearly delighted to be back in the spotlight.
That said, he had a tendency to over-egg the pudding a little bit, cranking out a few seemingly interminable, wailing guitar solos (especially on one of the new songs, Come) that played like a Stars in their Eyes homage to Neil Young. I just kept wishing he'd get back to the four-minute pop classics like Rhiannon.
Indeed, when restraint was shown - such as when Nicks and Buckingham gave the backing musicians some time off during the ballad Landslide - the effect was quite moving.
Alas, the encore included a novelty percussion solo from drummer Mick Fleetwood which featured him playing a pair of electric bongos hidden in his waistcoat. This dragged on so long it seemed a thousand empires had flourished and foundered in between.
Happily, a pulsating Don't Stop had the Point singing and swinging again before the end. So a great show, but some pruning and fine-tuning is advised.
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