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The Columbian (07/07/2004), Veteran band no fleeting fancy < Fleetwood Mac < Main Page

The Columbian (07/07/2004), Veteran band no fleeting fancy

The Columbian, July 7, 2004

Review: Veteran band no fleeting fancy
y Brett Oppegaard

RIDGEFIELD - When the angst and inspiration have long been drained by overwhelming success, rock bands that persevere invariably find new ways to stoke their musical passions.

Professionalism, in a way, becomes the greater purpose. Pay back the fans for making the fortunes. Keep busy, doing what musicians do. Experiment a bit, but not too much.

Fleetwood Mac showed why it ranks among that elite class during a performance on Monday night in The Amphitheater at Clark County.

The 37-year-old band minus Christine McVie plays its hits, appears to enjoy playing those hits and the bandmates have enough vigor left, supplemented by a large supporting cast, to make it appear, at least, that they are enjoying themselves beyond just cashing their paychecks.

Backed by a large half-circle screen and a relatively subtle lighting system, the group ultimately feeds off energetic guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who is much better live than any of the albums indicate. His unique fingering style and frenetic enjoyment of the instrument creates a dynamic foundation for the rest of the performers. At the end of one of his more elaborate solos, Buckingham was left, seemingly exhausted, grabbing his knees, with the guitar on the ground. A few seconds later, he was at it again, drenched in sweat, not holding back at all, to the point of maniacally banging on the guitar with open hands when his expression couldn't keep up with his excitement.

Singer Stevie Nicks meanwhile seems to passively soak up most of the adoration, with her distinctive voice matched with an eccentric wardrobe of black gloves, long black dress and various shawls of solid, romantic colors. The 56-year-old's hair still is long and blonde. She still does her trademark spins. But it would be nice to have singer McVie around as well, to offer a bit more vocal variety to a band that otherwise has great breadth of sound.

Besides original members Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass), there were two additional percussionists, two other guitarists, two backup singers and a keyboardist, for a total of 11 people on stage.

That collection of talent made it hard to distinguish who was playing what, though it certainly added depth to what was performed. In the end, though, it all just made for two hours and 40 minutes of mainly Fleetwood Mac favorites, including "Rhiannon," "Sara," "Landslide," "Big Love" and "Don't Stop," mixed with a few new songs, such as "Peace Keeper" and "Say You Will."

Everything seemed so ordinarily superb until the encore, when Fleetwood took over for an agonizingly long drum solo. At first, he kept to his kit, grunting some incoherent commands into his mike. It wasn't clear what language he was speaking, and at times, it sounded as if he was barking like a dog. For the most part, his eyes were closed, but every once in awhile he would bug them wide open.

It only got worse as he left his drum set to come to the front of the stage and play pattycake on a drum machine inside his vest, all the while screaming and grunting, intermittently asking, "Are you with me?" The response cheers grew fainter and fainter as he went. He might have lost his mind completely at the end, when he started twiddling his fingers on his nonamplified bald head.

The crowd began thinning quickly during that portion of the show, and by the end, Fleetwood's lunacy left a bit of a film over the overall performance, which should be remembered for its class and clarity.

Date: 2004-07-07         Number of views: 1563

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