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Courier Mail (02/23/2004), Fleetwood Mac: Chemistry of a strange trip < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Courier Mail (02/23/2004), Fleetwood Mac: Chemistry of a strange trip

Courier Mail (Australia), February 23, 2004

Fleetwood Mac: Chemistry of a strange trip
Noel Mengel

ON REFLECTION, it's a miracle Fleetwood Mac survived their first big bust-up, when their original creative pivot, Peter Green, freaked out. Or the next one, when their next creative pivot, Jeremy Spencer, freaked out.

Founders John McVie and Mick Fleetwood might have thought they were due for a quieter life by the time they invited guitarist Lindsey Buckingham to join and he insisted that singer Stevie Nicks come on board too.

Unimaginable fame and fortune resulted instead, not to mention enough off-stage dramas to fuel a soap opera.

"It's been a long, strange trip," Buckingham told the crowd on this first of two nights at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

Quite. But the chemistry that has sustained them so long comes from the unusual fit of the members: two veterans of the British blues boom of the '60s (the third, keyboardist and songwriter Chrissie McVie has now retired from the fray), Nicks's more ethereal Californian spirit, balanced with a fiery guitar player in Buckingham, who still appears as intense as one of his guitar solos.

It's that diversity which keeps this 2-hour set bubbling along, with Buckingham's acoustic guitar tour de force Big Love and the huge rhythms of Tusk to contrast with Nicks's melodic pop-rock tunes like Rhiannon and Gypsy.

It took a while for the show to warm up. For a time, the extra musicians (keys, back-up singers, two guitarists, two percussionists) seemed superfluous, and the best parts were those stripped back the most, such as a moving version of Landslide with just Buckingham and Nicks on the stage.

But as the night progressed the sound become sharper, more focused, and Nicks seemed to loosen up. Certainly, the voice still shines as strongly as it did in the '70s.

By the end, no one even minded Mick Fleetwood's 10-minute percussion solo, or that he still sports the same courtly look vest, long hose, splendid red boots, sir! that he wore on the cover of Rumours.

"Into the sunset we go," he grins to the crowd, referring to his 40 years anchoring the rhythms with bassist McVie.

Hopefully they will have calmer waters to sail in for the later part of the journey.

Date: 2004-02-23         Number of views: 2127

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