Story and Photos by Phil BonyataIt's back in the spotlight for one of the most commercially successful rock bands of the late 70s. The lineup is still mostly intact with Stevie Nicks on vocals, Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, John McVie on bass and Mick Fleetwood on drums (Christie McVie chose to stay home on this tour). The band had quite a penchant for penning strong melodies and memorable lyrics, but most of that was done in their heyday some twenty five years ago. Recent releases have not been able to capture their original fire nor dare to tread on new ground. Still the power of some of their greatest songs have given them the right to live on their laurels and forgive much of their recent excesses.
Appearing on stage with her trademark flowing gown and long blonde locks, Stevie Nicks appeared less the free-spirited gypsy with the excessive twirls and more the careful singer monitoring her vocal range. Lindsey Buckingham lit some heavy chords changes on "I'm So Afraid" with so much enthusiasm that he might have forgotten that the band was losing it's step trying to keep time. But Buckingham is the soul of the band. His lively and madcap playing style coupled with his apparent enthusiasm for all the bands catalog has always lifted them out of the soft rock classification and into something more original with it's many textural and layered musical nuances. Fleetwood Mac has had to live within in it's own duality - on one hand creating dynamic and expertly crafted music and on the other helping create the overindulgent sound of the mid to late '70s. The absence of Christie McVie forced the band to take some risks and explore lesser known songs such as "Eyes of the World" and "Tusk" with varied success. Fleetwood's joyful drumbeats took more from Ringo Starr than Keith Moon. More comfortable in laying a reliable foundation than exploring the rounded edges of the melodies that would have forced the often wistful lyrics into a greater self examination.
The Smashing Pumpkins did it and the Dixie Chicks ruined it, but on "Landslide" Stevie Nick's song of growing old resonated with an understanding passion as she approaches the latter part of her life herself.
Fleetwood Mac's place in rock history is secure even as father time has decided to rob them of any real new creativity. But that's alright...as they took us down a well worn path that was strewn with memories that somehow still seemed to matter.
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