Print E-mail
St. Louis Post Dispatch 11-19-97


By Mark Ray Rinaldi

Stevie's chunky. Lindsey's getting wrinkles. Christine's starting to look like one of those age-avenging chicks on "Absolutely Fabulous."

But put this trio - Nicks, Buckingham, McVie - on stage with their former co-workers, John McVie (who still plays too quietly) and Mick Fleetwood (who still plays too loud), and they are, yet again, Fleetwood Mac, one of the most complementary and cohesive ensembles in rock 'n' roll history.

And when the 1970s supergroup took the stage at the Kiel Center for their reunion tour Monday night, history seemed to repeat itself.

For two hours and 20 minutes, it was just like old times - for the band and the packed house of middle-aging fans. Fleetwood Mac ran through its biggest hits, performing the entire landmark "Rumours" album (including crowd-pleasers "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams" and "The Chain"), several selections from the breakthrough 1975 recording "Fleetwood Mac" ("Rhiannon," "Landslide") and a few from the new disc, "The Dance."

Playing these favorites, the band proved tight and generous with each other. Few ensembles are truly ensembles the way Mac is - there's not a weak link in the bunch - and chief songwriters Nicks, Buckingham and the female McVie traded off leads smoothly.

With few exceptions, the renditions were by the book. This was, after all, a reunion tour, and the band wasn't out to change a lick or show that it had moved ahead musically. That didn't bother the crowd, which showed up to relive the days when Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter were presidents and few folks went to a rock concert without cigarette lighters and a marijuana stash.

There were fewer lighters blazing Monday night than in the old days, and just a tiny whiff of pot, but there was Stevie stuck proudly in her own time warp.

Nicks is a true rock icon and this band's big star, and she played it up. Draped in lace and fringy shawls, her hair blonder than ever, the 49-year-old performer summoned up all the "Gypsy" that remained. She passed on some of the high notes and relied on some friendly microphone help for the tough passages, but when she did her famous on-stage swirl, the audience swooned.

The rest of the band measured up just as well, nostalgically speaking. Christine McVie's voice was in great shape. She's never been as exciting as her bandmates, but she brings an elegant, restrained edge to tunes like "Songbird" and "Over My Head" that keeps the band's hippie-dippie side from taking over.

As usual, Mick Fleetwood, dressed in goofy knickers, performed a too-long drum solo while Buckingham, just like he used to, proved he's the best on stage. His guitar work and singing are supple and natural. His attitude - a little edgier, a little angrier - and his updated version of "Looking Out for Love" were the evening's only recognition of the last 10 years of music.

But audiences - paying upwards of $60 for a ticket - want their pop music safe. Monday night it was safe and, to most, it sounded pretty good.