[The Nicks Fix]

Plain Dealer
Review of the May 13 Fleetwood Mac concert at the Gund Arena in Cleveland

John Soeder
Plain Dealer Pop Music Critic

Fleetwood Mac hasn't stopped thinking about tomorrow.

Sure, the band revisited "Go Your Own Way," "Gold Dust Woman," "Gypsy" and other hits from the '70s and '80s in concert last night at Gund Arena.

But to their credit, singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, singer Stevie Nicks, bass player John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood also dug deep into their ambitious new album, "Say You Will."

The fresh material gave a forward-looking feel to the performance, which easily could have been a two-hour nostalgia trip. It wasn't, thankfully.

These veteran classic-rockers, all in their mid- to late-50s, proved they still have a few classics up their sleeves.

All the same, they got down to business with a couple of blasts from the past: "The Chain" and "Dreams."

The former tune was branded with a searing solo by Buckingham, whose guitar heroics throughout the evening were a treat. He also shone on "Second Hand News," a frenetic solo stab at "Big Love" and the smoldering "I'm So Afraid."

Not to be outdone, Nicks turned in bewitching renditions of "Rhiannon," the lost gem "Beautiful Child" and her palpitating solo-career smash "Stand Back." As her raspy voice cast a familiar spell, she rattled her trademark tambourine and fiddled with the strands of fabric hanging from her microphone stand.

Too bad a nasty buzz emanating from Buckingham's gear killed the momentum on a couple of occasions.

"I'm gonna have to buy him a new guitar," Nicks said.

The arena was approximately three-fourths full. This was the fourth stop on a 40-date tour, which got under way last week in Columbus.

Fleetwood Mac's latest album was well-represented by harmony-laden versions of "Peacekeeper," the feel-good title track and "What's the World Coming To."

Another keeper was "Come." It bordered on heavy metal, with Buckingham choking his guitar and slapping it with both hands.

The new songs held their own alongside "Never Going Back Again," "Silver Springs," "Tusk" and other time-tested crowd-pleasers. Two auxiliary guitarists, a keyboardist, a percussionist and two backing vocalists fleshed out the arrangements as needed.

The end of a romance between Buckingham and Nicks was well documented on Fleetwood Mac's landmark 1977 album, "Rumours."

But there was still an unmistakable chemistry between these old flames, who often faced each other as they sang. She wore a black peasant dress; he wore a white T-shirt and black jeans.

Some of the looks they exchanged were business as usual. Others seemed borderline meaningful, especially when Buckingham and Nicks teamed up for stripped-down duets to the tune of "Say Goodbye" and the poignant "Landslide."

At the end of the latter number, they gave each other a big hug.

Longtime singer-keyboardist Christine McVie is sitting out this tour. She wasn't missed - unless you had your heart set on hearing "Little Lies."

Besides, she was there in spirit when her optimistic hit "Don't Stop" got a fair shake amid encores of "World Turning" (featuring a mobile drum solo by Fleetwood) and "Good-bye Baby."

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