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Minneapolis Star Tribune 10-9-97

Fleetwood Mac delivers the goods at Target Center

By Jon Bream

It's easy to be cynical about Fleetwood Mac in 1997. After all, it can be argued that Fleetwood Mac is merely a brand name for whatever singers the cofounders, Mick Fleetwood and John (Mac) McVie, are working with. Of course, the band's most famous and long-lived lineup produced three No. 1 albums, including one of the all-time best-sellers, 1977's "Rumours." But when that blockbuster lineup -- the 10th of 12 or 13 incarnations -- reunited this year for an MTV special, concert album and tour, skeptics called it little more than an opportunistic dash-for-the-cash by another band of 1970s has-beens.

There weren't any skeptics leaving Target Center on Wednesday after Fleetwood Mac's 27-song 2-hour concert. This Mac attack was more consistent, more inspired and more satisfying than any of the drug-adled performances the group gave in the Twin Cities during its heyday. In fact, at times there seemed to be such genuine sparks between ex-lovers Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham that a concertgoer might have suspected that they were an item again.

Actually, four of the five Mac members seemed to be having a grand time. Singer-keyboardist Christine McVie has such a stiff-upper-lip demeanor it was hard to tell if she was enjoying herself. But it was obvious that the others were having fun making music together. They probably were having more fun this time around than back in the '70s when the crumbling intra-band romances were more convoluted than Marv Albert's love life.

The sold-out concert started slowly, and was choppy throughout. It's hard to maintain momentum when a band has three singer-songwriters and they constantly switch from song to song. Each created a different vibe -- McVie with her peppy piano-driven pop, Nicks with her dreamy folk-rock and Buckingham with his passionate, energetic and urgent rock. With her crystal visions, whirling dancing and witchy presence, Nicks clearly captivated the crowd. But it was Buckingham's inspiring emotionalism that propelled the Mac machine to the next level.

His solo renditions on acoustic guitar of "Big Love" and "I Go Insane" turned the evening around. Then Nicks came out for a duet on "Landslide" and the magic of Fleetwood Mac materialized. She caressed his arm as he played the guitar coda, and they embraced at song's end. Next the entire group returned for a refreshing, unplugged "Say You Love Me," a sentiment that seemed infectious among musicians known for singing about crumbling relationships.

Highlights in the winning second half included Nicks' new "Sweet Girl" and "Silver Springs," McVie's Claptonesque "Oh Daddy," the high-energy "It's Not That Funny" featuring an engaging solo by the animated Fleetwood, Buckingham's explosive "Second-Hand News," and the pumped-up "Don't Stop." Indeed, the 18,500 folks at Target Center probably wish that Fleetwood Mac won't stop and will start thinking about tomorrow.