Musically, Fleetwood Mac never sounded better than during this 90-minute MTV special designed to showcase the reunited band, tout its upcoming release and to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the band's charttopping and Grammy-winning "Rumours" disc. Technically, however, the made-for concert is stifled by silly shot selection, a lumbering pace as a result of disjointed editing and way too many commercial breaks. Drawing from its "Fleetwood Mac," "Tango In the Night" and "Rumours" repertoire, and the occasional allegedly new track such as "Silver Springs" from its new Reprise Records disc "Fleetwood Mac: The Dance" due out Aug. 19, the band served up valiant versions of its career best-knowns. (Devotees of the band will recognize "Silver Springs" as a Nicks concert staple; newcomers will likely have heard the MTV show version on the radio as it was serviced a few weeks ago as the new disc's first single).
But with the exception of Buckingham’s obvious nervousness, none of the members evidenced any emotion and as a result many of the songs came across as being performed by rote.
Though Nicks and Buckingham infrequently smiled at one another — and the pair’s best chemistry was displayed during “Bleed To Love Her,” one of the new tracks — there were few fireworks.
Even an overly enthusiastic crowd failed to spark anything from the band other than a de-rigueur throw-away line thanking those in attendance for showing up. (The show was culled from two days of free perfs held before a live aud in a soundstage at Warner Bros.)
Nicks — at her center-stage post — shined above her peers as she delivered flawless vocal work that ranged from ballsy growls to angelic harmonies on such songs as “Go Your Own Way” and “Rhiannon;” while Buckingham at times used the proceedings as an analyst’s couch to explain why he left the band (“as a survival tactic”).
Buckingham also provided one of the highlights through a rousing rearranged and acoustic guitar-tinged reading of “Big Love,” which illustrated his often overlooked vocal prowess.
Each of the band members’ egos were fed with unnecessary turns at the solo spotlight and an overwrought take on “Tusk” featuring the USC Marching Band, many of whose members were still in diapers when the first version was recorded with the uniformed high-steppers in Dodger Stadium in 1979, yanked the spec into low gear.
The show’s producers returned to their senses with the fitting show closer “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” as the chorus could suggest the band’s upcoming tour, new lease on life and album; while the tune’s refrain of “yesterday’s gone” could refer to the band putting its soap opera-like existence — and demise — behind them. For now, that is.