[The Nicks Fix]

San Diego Union-Tribune Review of The Dance

August 17, 1997

(Page NIGHT & DAY-14)


Classy Reunion | The Mac taps old chemistry, new confidence with winning `Dance'

Karla Peterson

21-Aug-1997 Thursday

Fleetwood Mac, The Dance




* * * *

Where were you in 1977? In college? In high school? In utero?

Not that it matters. Because in 1977, no one with a pair of ears could
escape the seductive sounds of "Rumours" or the commercial monster that was
Fleetwood Mac.

Recorded in the aftermath of three separations (keyboardist-vocalist
Christine McVie from bassist-husband John McVie, drummer Mick Fleetwood
from wife Jenny Boyd and singer Stevie Nicks and singer-guitarist Lindsey
Buckingham from each other), "Rumours" was the glorious result of five
fabulously talented and terribly confused people making near-perfect music
out of bruising heartbreak.

Between Nicks' wistful "Dreams," Buckingham's blistering "Go Your Own Way"
and McVie's expansive "Don't Stop," Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" looked at
love and loss from a million jagged angles. The emotions were raw, but the
music was as burnished as a Hotel California sunset, and the combination of
pain and polish made it one of those pop rarities -- a stunning album that
deserved its massive success.

How massive? Try 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard album charts. Try 25
million copies sold. Try music that invaded every car radio, dorm room and
psyche within its considerable range.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this gorgeous behemoth, the
"Rumours"-era Fleetwood Mac reconvened three months ago in a Burbank studio
to record an MTV concert special and a live album. Compiled from the three
MTV performances, "The Dance" LP is a cause for celebration itself, both
for the compelling work it is and for the sellout it refuses to be.

Polished by one month of rehearsals and supported by assorted backup
musicians -- including the 85-piece USC Trojan Marching Band on two tracks
-- Fleetwood Mac soars through a collection of "Rumours" hits,
non-"Rumours" favorites and promising new tunes with fresh confidence and
plenty of that old Mac chemistry.

>From the loose, psychedelic-flavored version of "The Chain" that opens the
album through the horn-spiked rendition of "Don't Stop" that brings it to a
swaggering close, "The Dance" is not an exercise in nostalgia by a bunch of
rock 'n' roll fossils. Their voices have changed and their crystal visions
have developed a few hairline cracks, and one of this album's greatest
strengths is the way band members have reworked the music to make room for
their lives.

Christine McVie's voice is as velvety as ever and in addition to adding
lovely harmonies to Nicks' rueful version of "Dreams," McVie contributes a
stirring rendition of "Say You Love Me" (which gets some bright sparks from
Buckingham's banjo accompaniment) and the galloping "Temporary One," a new
tune bubbling with hard-won optimism.

As for Nicks and Buckingham, they can't hit the same notes they used to,
but it's surprising how little that matters. With the exception of a rather
sluggish "Go Your Own Way" -- which loses its high-wire edge to
Buckingham's foggy singing -- the old tunes sound terrific in the roomy
arrangements that emphasize vocal shadings over pyrotechnics and emotional
depth over studio flash.

Dropping her witchy-woman theatrics in favor of an earth-mother world
weariness, Nicks reconfigures her hits to suit her deeper voice and clearer
vision. "Silver Springs" (a favorite "Rumours" B-side) trades desperation
for deep sadness and "Rhiannon" gets its slower, spookier power from
Christine McVie's elegant piano, Buckingham's insistent guitar, and Nicks'
weathered vocals, which have the maturity to make lines like, Dreams
unwind, love's a state of mind sound more profound than they have any right

Always the pop virtuoso in the group, Buckingham turns in a bravura guitar
and vocal performance on a stunning solo rip through "Big Love," provides
gently empathetic support on Nicks' "Landslide" and offers up the album's
best new number, a wicked Richard Thompson-esque romp called "My Little

As usual, the singer-songwriters get the bulk of the attention, but without
Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, there would be no Fleetwood Mac. And without
their supple rhythmic support, "The Dance" would not glide as beautifully
as it does. On "Dreams," McVie's propulsive bass coddles Nicks' vocals like
one of her crushed-velvet cloaks and Fleetwood's sharp kick is "The
Chain's" most invaluable link.

Throughout "The Dance," the members of Fleetwood Mac live up to their
legend without resting on it. Instead of repainting their romantic
masterpiece, the old friends and former lovers have added rich new colors
to the canvas and a mellow finish to the frame. The artists are older and
wiser now, and with any luck, so are we. And if "The Dance" makes the band
look good, it will make fans feel even better.

Thanks to Kim Merrill for sending this article to The Nicks Fix.
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