Denver Post, August 12, 1997

Reunion CD contains all the classics

By Mark Harden, Denver Post Music Writer

The Eagles established the pattern: Set aside your bickering, reassemble your beloved band, put on a live show featuring your greatest hits and some new songs, record it for an album and tape it for TV and the video market, launch a reunion tour, and then tote bulging moneybags to the bank.

Now the Fleetwood Mac lineup you remember - singer-songwriters Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie, plus the trusty rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie - has reconvened after 10 years and tries the Eagles' trick with "The Dance" (Reprise), due in record stores Aug. 19.

Forget all the squabbles that made the band seem like an episode of "Life With the Bickersons." The Mac is back.

As with the Eagles' wildly successful 1994 reunion album "Hell Freezes Over," most of "The Dance" consists of live recreations of Fleetwood Mac's classic songs.

Nine of the 17 songs on "The Dance" come from the band's landmark late-'70s albums, "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumours."

A few tunes originated on other albums, "Silver Springs" was a single B-side, and there are four new songs.

The album and video are drawn from three live performances on a Warner Bros. Studios soundstage in late May in front of a star-studded audience.

MTV will broadcast the show at 8 tonight and rerun it Saturday and Sunday. The special will be released on home video by the end of the month; the video will feature several additional songs not included on the album.

After that, Fleetwood Mac plans concerts in at least 40 North American cities, then may head to Europe.

The band is coming to Denver "for sure," Christine McVie told The Post, but a date has not been announced.

Time has not dimmed the emotional power of these songs, and the musicianship on "The Dance" is still sharp, particularly Buckingham's lightning guitar work and Fleetwood's drumming.

Not all is as we remember it in Macland: Nicks' feline voice has lost some of its youthful fragility and delicacy; she skips the high notes on some songs. But Buckingham's singing has gained in power, and Christine McVie's smoky voice is as rich and wonderful as ever.

A few of the classic songs have been re-arranged, with mixed results. Nicks gums up "Rhiannon" with new, overly melodramatic lyrics. But Buckingham turns "Big Love" into a finger-pickin'-good acoustic guitar workout, while his "I'm So Afraid" has dirgelike intensity the original never had. And the brassand-drum backing provided by the entire University of Southern California marching band gives Christine McVie's album-closing "Don't Stop" new swagger and sass.

Christine McVie's "Temporary One" and Buckingham's "Bleed to Love Her" are the best of the newly penned songs, both bubbling with emotion and lush harmony. While the late-'70s quintet was the most famous Fleetwood Mac lineup, it was by no means the original. Fleetwood and John McVie have been the only constants throughout the group's 30-year history.

Fleetwood Mac began in 1967 as a British blues-revival outfit, with Peter Green as lead vocalist. That lineup recorded the original "Black Magic Woman," later a hit for Santana. After Green quit in 1970, Bob Welch came on board to sing "Sentimental Lady" and "Hypnotized," and Christine McVie - who joined in 1971 - began to emerge as a songwriter.

Welch then left to go solo, and Nicks and Buckingham signed on in 1974.

It's been a decade since the Fantastic Fleetwood Five recorded an album and two decades since they lit up the musical heavens with the albums "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumours," the latter being one of the biggest-selling records of all time, with 25 million copies sold worldwide.

During the recording of "Rumours," the married McVies broke up, as did Nicks and Buckingham, and Fleetwood and his wife. Songs like "The Chain" captured the lovers' heartbreak. The album proved that a band can be miserable and still make bright, driving, innovative pop music.

The quintet carried on for three more studio albums. Buckingham left the group after 1987's "Tango in the Night," and Nicks departed later. After that, Fleetwood Mac has tried to make do with a shifting lineup of replacements, including original Traffic member Dave Mason, but without much commercial success. The band finally broke up two years ago.

The reunion was spawned when the Mac gathered to help Buckingham record a yet-to-be-released solo album. The group rediscovered the joy of playing together and decided to give the band another go.

Thanks to Jeff Kenney for sending this to us.