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Palm Beach Post (05/20/2004), Love of playing live helps Fleetwood Mac < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

Palm Beach Post (05/20/2004), Love of playing live helps Fleetwood Mac

Palm Beach Post, May 20, 2004

Love of playing live helps Fleetwood Mac
by Charles Passy, Palm Beach Post Arts Writer

It's easy for an established band to give in to the trappings of nostalgic reverie, playing their hits for crowds that ask little more than a chance to relive old memories. And when you're a band that pretty much defined an era, it's all the easier to stay comfortably nestled in the past.

Which is why Fleetwood Mac's performance Wednesday night at the Sound Advice Amphitheatre, staged for a crowd of about 11,500, was such an unexpected delight.

True, this is something of a third go-around on the comeback trail for the soft-rocking combo that released the landmark Rumours album nearly three decades ago. In the late '90s, they staged a much-ballyhooed reunion, featuring all five members: vocalist Stevie Nicks, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, keyboardist Christine McVie, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. Last year, they were back at it with both a tour and new studio album, minus Christine McVie.

But Mac endures for several reasons, not the least of which is that they clearly love to play live.

You could tell as soon as the band arrived and started digging into The Chain, with its country-tinged grooves and hard-edged lyrics. Nicks was in fine mystic-woman voice. Buckingham seemed on top of every musical phrase, bringing a snap to familiar refrains. And Fleetwood and John McVie were a solid foundation, as always.

And so it continued as the band covered mostly familiar ground -- Rhiannon, Gold Dust Woman, Second Hand News, Don't Stop -- building the show around their keen musical instincts and preference for simple production values. Without Christine McVie as a hushed yin to Nicks and Buckingham's expressionist yang, the concert offered a lot of, well, yang.

But Buckingham is such a brilliant guitarist that you forgive him his occasional excesses. And Nicks is still capable of finding the core of a song: When she sings Landslide all these years later, she's quick to recognize that a line like "I'm getting older too" carries extra resonance.

But more than the band's ability to bring old songs to life is the fact their new material -- from the Say You Will album -- holds up quite well. It's pop music with enough intelligence to ask you to listen with both head and heart. Then again, that's always been the hallmark of Fleetwood Mac, a band that has yet to wear out its welcome.


Date: 2004-05-20         Number of views: 1549

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