St. Petersburg Times, August 7, 1980

"Inspired by Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac Is Definitely Back"

Jonathan Greer

Lakeland -- Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham led an inspired Fleetwood Mac in a stellar concert here Tuesday night to kick off its 1980 American tour.

Sporting a short haircut and a clean-shaven face, Buckingham displayed his newly found control of the group by dominating the performance both musically and energetically. Accompanies by his veteran band of Christine McVie on keyboards, John McVie on bass, Mick Fleetwood on drums, and Stevie Nicks on vocals and percussion, Buckingham made great progress toward returning the group to its status as one of the world's premier bands.

Opening with a half-hour of songs from their first two albums together, "Fleetwood Mac" and Rumours," the band seemed reluctant at first to acknowledge their connection to the relatively unpopular "Tusk," their latest effort. At one point, Buckingham even made reference to the album's poor reception, chiding the crowd about whether they would recognize one of the singles from that album, "Sara."

But the crowd of approximately 10,000 cheered that song and every other number in the two-hour set, delaying the show at one point with an impromptu standing ovation.

Buckingham responded after that tribute with a stirring acoustic version of "Never Going Back Again."

The band members proved themselves truly professional rockers, switching instruments constantly and doing numbers involving only parts of the band. Perhaps the best example of this was the final selection of the evening, an acoustic version of "Songbird," with Christine McVie on piano, John McVie on string bass, and Lindsey Buckingham on an Ovation six-string guitar.

Nicks proved to be the only disappointment, although her enchanting presence on stage added to the show's electricity. Having essentially lost her once-splendid voice, Nicks was relegated to a supporting role in the concert by her former husband, Lindsey Buckingham. When her voice cracked as she reached for the high notes of "Rhiannon," her million-selling single, she turned to Buckingham and hid her face behind her hands and the microphone. During the remainder of the show, she cautiously avoided the high parts.

It was when Nicks left the stage, in fact, that Fleetwood Mac sounded at its best. The rest of the band forms an outstanding blues quartet, bringing back memories of earlier Fleetwood Mac combinations. A version of "Oh Well," a 1970 Peter Green tune that has recently been covered by The Rockets, underscored this feeling. Buckingham proved his true leadership of the group by taking over Green's lead on this song, and then led the band through several numbers from "Tusk" without Nicks.

It was, ultimately, Buckingham's show. That the other band members realize this and defer to him is a good sign for Fleetwood Mac fans, who can expect many more good things from this reincarnated band.

[Note: Buckingham and Nicks were never married.]

Thanks to David for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.