[The Nicks Fix]

The Capitol Times
June 30, 2003

The following is a review of the June 29th Fleetwood Mac concert in Milwaukee, WI at Summerfest.

Fleetwood Mac lives up to rumors

By Rob Thomas

MILWAUKEE -- Someone who had never seen Fleetwood Mac perform before, and it's hard to believe such a person actually exists, would have had a hard time determining which album the band was supporting at the Marcus Amphitheatre on Sunday night. Was it 2003's "Say You Will" or 1977's "Rumours"?

More than half the songs in the show came from those two albums, indicating just how huge an impact "Rumours" still has 26 years later. Mike Myers once joked that "Rumours" was "issued to people in the suburbs. You found it in your mailbox along with a free sample of shampoo."

"Say You Will" is the band's first album since 1987, and tracks like the title tune and "Peacekeeper" were enthusiastically received by the audience. But you could feel the energy level shoot upward when one of the old Fleetwood Mac classics cranked up. "The Chain," which opened the two-hour main set, and "Go Your Own Way," which closed it, both drew thundering responses from the crowd.

Sunday's show was the hottest ticket at the 11-day Summerfest music festival. It sold out weeks ago, and Summerfest organizers didn't give away any free lawn tickets on the day of the show, as they have for every other Marcus Amphitheatre show.

Absent from the Fleetwood Mac lineup is Christine McVie, which meant the softer hits she sang, like "Over My Head" or "You Make Loving Fun," were missed. Instead, vocalist Stevie Nicks and guitarist-vocalist Lindsey Buckingham took center stage, with John McVie almost invisible on bass and Mick Fleetwood pounding away on the drums.

The Buckingham-Nicks collaboration is one of the most fruitful in modern pop music, and it was their influence that remade Fleetwood Mac into a commercial powerhouse in the 1970s. Their best songs boil over with real emotion (apparently drawn from the ex-lovers' own experience) while remaining catchy and accessible pop music.

Knowing the long and turbulent history gave the experience of watching them together live an extra poignancy. The heartbreakingly beautiful "Landslide," for example, was performed with just Nicks on vocals and Buckingham on acoustic guitar. During Buckingham's solo, Nicks moved behind him and rested her hands in his shoulders. When the song ended, they embraced and Buckingham lightly kissed Nicks' forehead.

Of course, they're magnetic performers individually as well. Buckingham roamed the stage madly during "Go Your Own Way," and began beating his guitar like a piqued orangutan. Nicks, whose voice is just a little huskier than it was 25 years ago, has retained most of her gypsy queen persona, pretty much cornering the market on rock singers who wear shawls onstage.

Fleetwood got his moment in the sun during "World Turning," unleashing a furious drum solo and then coming out from behind his drum kit to perform a second solo on a hand drum.

Overall, Fleetwood Mac and its audience may be "getting older, too," as Nicks sings in "Landslide." But any suggestion that the band has lost its vitality or its appeal remains an unfounded rumor.

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