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Wisconsin State Journal (05/09/04), Fleetwood Mac keeps getting better with age < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Wisconsin State Journal (05/09/04), Fleetwood Mac keeps getting better with age

Wisconsin State Journal, May 9, 2004

Fleetwood Mac keeps getting better with age
by Chris Martell

Fleetwood Mac keeps getting better with age.

Fleetwood Mac has a new generation of fans, thanks to the Dixie Chicks' cover of "Landslide," which Stevie Nicks wrote when she was a teenager.

But it was about 12,000 mothers and fathers of those neo-Mac fans who filled the Kohl Center Saturday night and sang the bittersweet lyrics of "Landslide" along with Nicks.

When a group has weathered nearly 30 years of divorces, affairs, artistic and personal feuds, and cocaine addiction, the logical first question is: How do they compare to their former selves?

If you Google "Buckingham Nicks 1973" you will see the young couple from San Francisco, discreetly naked and gorgeous on the cover of their first album, before they joined the respected British rhythm and blues band. They're 55 now, but Lindsey Buckingham still looks and moves like a sweaty teenage boy, and Nicks still has the Rapunzel/sorceress charisma that makes it difficult to take your eyes off her.

Nicks' voice, years after she gave up vices that included three packs of cigarettes a day, is no longer raspy and is substantially stronger and more supple than it was during Fleetwood Mac's first go-round, adding to the impact of her introspective and often haunting lyrics. At first, it seemed like Nicks had gotten into Queen Mum mode, making only stilted gestures with gloved hands, but as the three-hour set moved on without intermission, her twirling dervish returned in full force.

Buckingham and Nicks are always better when they harmonize, with voices that intertwine sensuously and blend into a lush wholeness.

As a guitarist, Buckingham has gotten more powerful, but when he adds stridently assaultive vocal solos to guitar riffs - and his voice and the guitar seemed to move in different directions - the audience seemed more polite than inspired. Technical problems also vexed the group, including Buckingham being handed several out-of-tune guitars, and overmodulation that led to the vocals being drowned out of several songs, especially the gentle ballad "Silver Spring."

Several impressive, nuanced new songs from the group's new CD, "Say You Will," including the ironic political anthem "Peacekeeper," and the graceful "Destiny Rules," make it clear that the group's creative gifts are intact, and they are not heading toward mummified oldies status.

But the searing beauty of many of the old songs, including a rendition of "Gold Dust Woman" that gave me goose bumps, and the surging energy of "Stand Back," are classics that audiences will probably never tire of.

The clear, straightforward and melancholic vocals of Christine McVie, the only member who has not rejoined the group, are missed. Her former husband, John, appeared to be trying to disappear into the drum kits, but his contributions as a bassist held the bulwark of the group together, as did the I-am-a-raving-lunatic drumming style of Mick Fleetwood, who, wearing his trademark dangling balls around his waist and red elf shoes, wittily finessed the brief down periods when Buckingham was sidelined by out-of-tune guitars.

Almost as much as the music, the audience seemed excited by the lingering chemistry between the former lovers Nicks and Buckingham. The pair might not appreciate it, but the audience cooed and applauded every time the two of them touched one another. What baby boomer, after all, doesn't harbor at least a slight fantasy of being onstage, still looking great, and spilling your guts to your long-lost first love as you two harmonize?

Date: 2004-05-09         Number of views: 1735

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