[The Nicks Fix]

The St. Louis Dispatch
August 16, 2003
This is a review of the Fleetwood Mac concert on August 15th in St. Louis, MO at the Savvis Center .

Fleetwood Mac

Kevin Johnson
Post-Dispatch Pop Music Critic

"It's been a difficult and strange trip," singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham told a Savvis Center crowd Friday night, in a moment of real understatement, of the journey that has been Fleetwood Mac over the decades.

Fleetwood Mac's history has been a tabloid fodder-filled story packed with inner turmoil ?behind-the-scenes breakups, affairs, makeups, etc., things that can happen when bandmates are also bedmates. But the music that the veteran pop-rock band put forth, and left behind, is undeniable.

Fleetwood Mac is older now, presumably wiser, and in a position to make light of its checkered personal past, with only the music to concern itself with these days. And there, Fleetwood Mac still excels.

At this point in a career that dates back to the '60s, Fleetwood Mac could easily prove weary or long in the tooth. But that wasn't the case during the group's two hour-plus concert here, which drew a highly respectable though not packed house.

Primary players Mick Fleetwood (drums), Stevie Nicks (vocals), Buckingham, John McVie (bass), and the rest of the band (but no Christine McVie, who decided to sit this one out) offered up not only a pleasing dose of crucial classic cuts but a healthy serving of new songs from the group's "Say You Will" CD. Though some of the instrumentation was excessive, these passages weren't enough to take away from the proceedings.

The members hit the stage in darkness one by one, culminating with Nicks and Buckingham, who garnered the biggest applause. This led into an expressive flow of drum chords from Fleetwood (still admirably amusing himself and fans as he plays) that served as the intro to "The Chain." The song brilliantly showed the continued beauty of Buckingham and Nicks' vocal collaborations.

From there, the vocalists sang together, backed each other, and went at it solo on songs like "Dreams," "Second Hand News," "Go Your Own Way," "Don' Stop," and "Gypsy." All the while, they looked as if they were still having fun, and they got downright silly during the propulsive "Tusk."

Buckingham, impressive during several spotlight moments throughout the night, came through best with the acoustic finger-pickin' on "Never Going Back Again" and on "Big Love," which left him a sweaty mess.

It was hard to follow the fierceness Buckingham brought to "Big Love," but Nicks did with her own vocal showcase on "Landslide," a song that found a rebirth after the Dixie Chicks made it a hit again. Nicks cradled Buckingham during an instrumental guitar break in the song, which ended with his planting a peck on her forehead. Nicks had other great moments during standards like "Rhiannon," "Gold Dust Woman" and especially "Stand Back," which came with her trademark witchy-poo moves and a cheesy '80s synthesizer. New songs from "Say You Will" including the title track, "Peacekeeper" and "Goodbye to You" were worthy efforts. The songs maintain a classic-sounding Fleetwood Mac feel, and represent a respectable, late-career effort for the band.

Die-hard fans knew there would be a segment in the show in which Fleetwood would step from behind the drum kit and further demonstrate his skills. He saved it for an extended routine during the encore, going front and center first for a rhythmic conga excursion, followed by a bit in which he played the percussion instrumentation built into his vest.

After performances like this one, it's easy to say Fleetwood Mac is back. But did the band ever really leave?

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