[The Nicks Fix]

Rocky Mountain News
Oct 13, 2003

The following is a review of the October 11th Fleetwood Mac concert in Denver at the Pepsi Center.

More than a rumour: Fleetwood classics woo crowd

By Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News

Fleetwood Mac has toured in a variety of incarnations over the past two decades - everything from its full-on classic '70s lineup to brand-damaging pick-up bands that included none of the principal songwriters.

This time around it's a hybrid - a return to the best-known, most-successful Rumours lineup minus Christine McVie, who refused to tour. Even Stevie Nicks has said that in some ways it's not much more than a glorified Buckingham/Nicks set, with herself and Lindsey Buckingham dominating the show and the latest album, Say You Will.

Hey, all bands should have the problem of having to depend on its two best songwriters and singers.

It's no coincidence that the best moments onstage Saturday night featured just the two, be it Buckingham's solo acoustic guitar powering a lithe version of Nicks' Landslide or an intense Second Hand News that made you forget anyone else was on the stage.

All of which is not to slag drummer Mick Fleetwood (one of the overlooked greats) or bassist John McVie. They helped power the show, but it was all Buckingham's quirky songwriting and sizzling guitar, coupled with Nicks' songs and voice, that left the crowd in awe at times.

With a band like Fleetwood Mac, the key to a great show is taking those songs that have been played 10,000 times and making them sound fresh. Buckingham accomplished that deftly. Never Going Back Again was presented in its recently rediscovered "brushes" version, with Buckingham adding guitar flourishes as Mick Fleetwood drummed with brushes (to hear the original lost studio version, check out the DVD-audio release of Rumours). Buckingham also did his solo acoustic version of Big Love - interesting a decade ago on his first solo tour, but getting a bit tired.

It was a fairly inspired set list, with the hits and the occasional interesting album track - Eyes of the World and Beautiful Child among them.

The new CD, Say You Will, has only one song as strong as classic Mac (What is the World Coming To? delivered to a decidedly indifferent response). Buckingham's tour-de-force, Come, was greeted with lots of sitting down, as well, until the explosive guitar solo that finished it off. I'm So Afraid wasn't as stunning as it has been in the past, but Buckingham still filled it with fiery licks.

The bulk of the best was drawn from the band's classic albums, with The Chain, Dreams, Silver Springs, Gold Dust Woman, Go Your Own Way, Rhiannon and more sending the crowd over the top again and again.

While the band's set list has included Nicks' solo songs such as Stand Back, it's a shame they've neglected Buckingham's solo work. Certain songs - Trouble, You Do or You Don't, Don't Look Down - are perfect for the full-blown Mac treatment. And there are plenty more Mac highlights, Storms and Save Me a Place among them, that could use a good workout.

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