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GREG HAYMES Staff writer
It started about a half-hour late with Mick Fleetwood's insistent backbeat.

It built with Lindsey Buckingham's snapping, snaking guitar riff.

Soon the rest of the band -- vocalist Stevie Nicks, vocalist-keyboardist Christine
McVie and her ex-husband-bassist John McVie -- slipped onstage and into gear.

It was ``The Chain,'' and on Wednesday night at the Pepsi Arena Fleetwood Mac added another link in the chain
of their roller-coaster career with a two-hour-plus reunion concert featuring the most successful lineup of the fabled rock soap opera band that churned out the classic 1977 album ``Rumours.''

Two decades and 27 million copies later, Fleetwood Mac was back for another big Mac attack.

Was it the band's revitalization or just another take-the-money-and-run reunion tour?

Well, probably a little bit of both.

There was no question that the band -- which hadn't been seen in this particular incarnation for over a decade -- had weathered more storms than Captain Ahab, emotionally speaking, but the music was still magic.

Yes, Stevie Nicks was looking a little puffy, so to speak.

No, Lindsey Buckingham can't quite hit the high notes he used to nail.

But the truth of the matter is that with the constant re-invention and re-visitation of the '70s -- such movies as ``Boogie Nights'' and ``The Ice Storm'' as well as recent rock reunions by every '70s band from Yes to Grand Funk Railroad -- Fleetwood Mac was the real deal. And if it wasn't quite the grand time machine of nostalgia that it promised, it was at least a great recreation.

The fact that ``Don't Stop (Thinkin' About Tomorrow)'' was the first encore of a nostalgia concert only underscored the irony of the '70s.

As they sang at the Pepsi, ``Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone.''

Still it was a sweet peek back at the glory days of ``Rumours,'' and a band that blended boffo box-office sales as well as innovative pop stylings.

In concert, Nicks is still the crowd favorite, Buckingham is still the band's head, and Christine
McVie is still the band's heart.

The new songs were tolerated at best, and Nicks' ``Sweet Girl'' and `` Christine
McVie's ``Temporary One'' were, in fact, generic throwaways. Buckingham's more adventurous ``Bleed to Love Her'' and ``My Little Demon'' pushed the envelope a bit more, although neither one connected with the near-capacity crowd.

But it wasn't the new songs that the crowd came to hear. On the eve of Thanksgiving Day traditions, the audience clearly wanted to latch onto the memories and feelings of the past.

The band didn't disappoint.

Perhaps this was a one-time-only reunion. Perhaps it will develop into an ongoing musical project for the fivesome. Either way, it was good to have them in town this week, if only to relive old times.