Monday, March 16, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits Concert at Mohegan Sun

Fleetwood Mac Shines With Greatest-hits Concert At Mohegan Sun
By Kristina Dorsey

Even bitter breakups can't kill great musical chemistry.

They certainly didn't for Fleetwood Mac, whose hook-ups and bust-ups were well-documented back in the 1970s - and whose intra-band animosity would occasionally bubble up in the years after that.

Now, 32 years after releasing its biggest album, “Rumours,” Mac still bristles with the feisty energy of opposites coexisting. But now they seem to be coexisting happily. During their Saturday concert at Mohegan Sun Arena, the band members emanated a distinct, shared joy.

Central to Mac's success are the quirky contradictions between its two lead singer/songwriters. (Christine McVie, the third singer/songwriter, has retired.) Lindsey Buckingham sparks with edgy intensity. Stevie Nicks swirls with ethereal lyricism. It certainly made for a neat balance Saturday; after Buckingham's screaming guitar on one number, Nicks would swoop in to soothe with a ballad.

Buckingham - who is 59, a year younger than Nicks - performed as if the term “a man possessed” was invented for him. He attacked guitar solos, snapping and pawing at the strings, on “I'm So Afraid” and “Big Love.” He cooed and yelped, injecting each song with fresh emotion. It was heartening to see that he was having a hell of a great time, and so was the audience.

The beauty of this go-round, their first tour in five years, is that there is no new album to promote, so Fleetwood Mac is staging a greatest-hits, fans-dream concert. And Mac isn't merely settling for a musty revival-for-revival's-sake tone. Instead, the band goosed the old songs with fervor and new angles. The once countrified loping cadence of “Second Hand News,” for instance, was sped up and sung by Buckingham with a distinct aggression.

Nicks, too, often toyed with the familiar melodies - sometimes, granted, because she might not be able to hit the high notes like she used to, but often because it made for an intriguing twist.

Nicks' purr is now more of a growl when it comes time to rock, but her voice sounded supple on mellow tunes like “Sara” and “Storms.” And, yes, Nicks rotated through a number of costume changes that inevitably ended up a different variation on her signature look - flowy dark, gypsy-like ensemble, shawl optional.

Much quieter a stage presence was John McVie, but his bass work was sharp as ever. Animated Mick Fleetwood thwacked and swatted the drums in his own inimitable style, especially on that hugely entertaining drum rhythm on “Tusk.”

As if proving that you don't have to repeat history, Nicks and Buckingham worked better and seemed more figuratively in tune as the night went along, and they actually came out for the encores hand-in-hand

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