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News & Observer (05/24/2004), Buckingham leads the Mac attack < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

News & Observer (05/24/2004), Buckingham leads the Mac attack

News & Observer, Monday, May 24, 2004

Buckingham leads the Mac attack

by David Menconi

Raleigh--You rarely hear Lindsey Buckingham cited in the pantheon of guitar gods. But if Fleetwood Mac's latest reunion tour proves anything, it's that Buckingham belongs up there with anybody you care to name.

Saturday night at Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek, the band played a 2 1/2-hour show that didn't scrimp on the songs people paid as much as $100 to hear. Buckingham was just right on the classics, without being slavish about duplicating anything note for note. He also revived half-forgotten oldies such as 1987's "Big Love" with an almost flamenco-style acoustic rendition. Even lesser songs of recent vintage came to life as his solos took flight, exploding into the equivalent of six-string fireworks displays.

Buckingham plays with an idiosyncratic fingerpicking style that looks more like what you'd use on a banjo than an electric guitar. Occasionally, he even beat on the strings with the palms of his hands. Then he'd take the instrument off and fling it away, its work done. He changed guitars after every song (which must make him a challenge for his guitar technician). In all, his guitar pyrotechnics matched the lightning flickering behind the stage.

As for the rest of the group, Mick Fleetwood grinned maniacally and still came across as the drummer you'd get if you hired the Monty Python comedy troupe to cast your band. Bassist John McVie was modest to a fault, staying in the shadows as he thumped away. Stevie Nicks wore a corset so tight that it almost hurt to look at her as she sang around the high notes she can't hit anymore on "Rhiannon."

The hit parade began immediately with the opening two songs, "The Chain" and "Dreams," both from 1977's definitive "Rumours," an album that chronicled the disintegration of the group's romantic relationships.

"Most people know by now that our story has been a difficult and strange one," Buckingham said early on. "But the point is, here we are now."

Indeed, the dynamic between Buckingham and band mate/ex-lover Nicks dominated long stretches of the evening and made for some of its most moving interludes. "Sara" was lovely, with the video screens showing footage of Fleetwood Mac from 25 years ago. "Tusk" was peculiar, as Buckingham and Nicks pretended to box and eventually hugged instead. And "Landslide" was almost too emotional, just Nicks singing and Buckingham playing. As Buckingham picked out the song's solo on an acoustic guitar, Nicks stood behind him with her hands lightly on his shoulders. They clasped hands at the end and he gave her a chaste kiss on the head.

Keyboardist Christine McVie is sitting out this tour, and her absence was felt -- no "Say You Love Me" or "You Make Loving Fun." But in a nice gesture, the group dusted off McVie's "Don't Stop" during the encore, a group-vocal version in which no one stepped out from the ensemble.

Fleetwood also delivered the inevitable drum solo during the encore, with his body wired for sound with pads he "played" by tapping. Then he thanked the crowd for coming and bellowed, "The Mac is back!"

Date: 2004-05-24         Number of views: 1581

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