[The Nicks Fix]

The Cincinnati Post
August 18, 2003
This is a review of the Fleetwood Mac concert on August 16th in Cincinnati, OH at the Riverbend Music Center .

Fleetwood Mac (minus one) still a big hit

By Wayne Perry
Post Living editor

Four out of five ain't bad, especially when those four are talented and well-seasoned musicians such as Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.

Now a quartet, Fleetwood Mac has been around for 36 years with an ever-changing lineup. So even without the classic Big Mac five, which included the now-retired Christine McVie, the show goes on.

And it was quite a show Saturday night at Riverbend Music Center, lasting two and one-half hours and including 24 songs. Most were classics, but there was a heavy dose of music (six songs) from the group's latest album, "Say You Will," as well as a few surprises (such as Nicks' "Beautiful Child," which she's never before sung on tour).

The foursome (who now range in age from 55 to 61) still have something magical about them (and I'm not talking just about Stevie's powers). Part nostalgia and part contemporary rock, the mix pleased the packed audience (which included everyone from teens to 60-somethings). There was a good vibe in seeing kids, parents and even plenty of grandparents all standing, clapping and singing along to "Don't Stop" and "Go Your Own Way."

In many ways it was Buckingham's party. The guitarist extraordinaire kept the energy-level high and the crowd on its feet nearly the entire evening. His passionate, pickless playing (heavy on histrionics) literally stopped the show several times, especially on "Big Love," "I'm So Afraid" and the new "Come." His playing was blistering, as he literally pounded the music out of his guitar.

Buckingham also sang lead on most of the songs from the new CD (including the title track, as well as "Come," "Say Goodbye" "What's the World Coming To" and the first-single "Peacemaker"). All share that distinctive Buckingham sound, though he's leaning toward a heavier rock sound these days. But hearing him bring back classics like "Second Hand News" again after so many years was a delight.

If it was Buckingham's party, then Nicks was the special guest of honor.

Always dressed in basic black, she looked fit and seemed in good spirits. Her voice was as raspy and on-key as ever as she performed classics such as "Gypsy," "Gold Dust Woman," "Silver Springs" and a rousing "Stand Back."

Her shoes have grown more practical (black hightop boots instead of those platform heels), but she can still spin and swirl a shawl better than anyone. She somehow looked cool and fresh despite the sweltering heat.

While Buckingham worked hard for his ovations, all the charismatic Nicks had to do was extend her shawl-draped arms and twirl.

There even seemed to be some flirting (more likely good acting) between Buckingham and Nicks as she sang "Landslide" and "Say You Will." And Buckingham went wild on "Tusk," ditching his guitar for once during the evening so he and Nicks could dance (?) or at least hold hands and spin together. After so many years, they've kept the chemistry, at least on stage, alive.

The quiet, underrated McVie on bass and the heart of the group, drummer Fleetwood, kept the pace hard-driving from the opening "The Chain" and "Dreams" through such crowd-pleasers as "Rhiannon" and "Go Your Own Way." Fleetwood's big moment came during the first encore, with an extended drum solo (including his electronic drum vest) on "World Turning."

Nicks bid the audience farewell with the new "Goodbye Baby" as the second encore. One wondered if the ballad was somehow prophetic and how many more times the Mac can come back.

Those in the crowd, who had paid up to a record-setting $129.50 per ticket, left satisfied. It was a fine mix of the old and the new that made it irresistible not to clap and sing along.

Still, as good as it was, and it was great, the show couldn't quite match the last classic Mac reunion that played Cincinnati in 1997 when Riverfront Coliseum was being re-christened as the Crown.

Like it or not, Christine McVie is missed on this tour, not just her harmony on songs like "Go Your Own Way," but on the songs that weren't sung at all due to her absence ("You Make Loving Fun," "Say You Love Me," "Over My Head," etc.). She hasn't exactly been replaced, but Saturday's show included two female backup singers (not to mention several extra background guitarists, percussionists and a keyboardist).

Without Christine there, it somehow seemed more like the Lindsey and Stevie show, featuring Mick for comic relief and John for continuity. But, even at that, it was a musical evening to be remembered.

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