December 1997

Fleetwood Mac - The Dance
Reprise 9 46702-2
Released: 1997

by Jay Piriz

Musical Performance ****
Recording Quality ****
Overall Enjoyment ****

[Reviewed on CD]When was the first time you heard this band? For me it was 1968. I have very fond memories closely tied to many of the classic tunes released by this talented group. Listening to this CD was sort of "time travel" to the past. I remember the song "Dreams" playing on the radio while I was riding home in my car in 1977, just after my first daughter was born. This band is a part of every baby boomer's glory days, when we were in our teens, twenties and thirties. The music of Fleetwood Mac was with us during those turbulent Viet Nam years, when free love and psychedelia were so much in fashion. It was around when we had the riots in the late sixties and early seventies. "Don't Stop" was Bill Clinton's election song! This band has been around! The Dance is a wonderful journey through the past thirty years of Fleetwood Mac's prolific and turbulent career.

Through the years, The Mac has had no less than fifteen different members, including Dave Mason of Traffic, who wrote such great hits as "Feelin' Alright" and "Only You Know And I Know." Mick Fleetwood, the mad, wild-eyed drummer; John McVie, the consumate master of the rock-n-roll bass; Christine McVie, the elegant, smooth keyboard player; Lindsey Buckingham, guitar player extraordinaire; and, of course Stevie Nicks, the bewitching and mysterious lady, always in black are the essence of Fleetwood Mac. These talented musician/songwriters, often incestuously involved with one another, turned out great songs of love, betrayal, despair, hope and unity--depending on the mood of the nation, and the band, at any given point in time.

The Dance is a live CD and this recording makes you feel that you are there. There is lots of air around the performers' voices and instruments, and it carries the lyrics and music into the open spaces of the venue. If you enjoy concerts, you will enjoy the spontaneous character of the sound of this CD. It's easy to listen to this one on the louder side of normal. On "Rhiannon," the band is tight and you can feel their renewed oneness as they deliver this great rock classic. Nicks' voice is as sultry and deep as ever with that throaty vibrato she is so well known for. On cuts 6 and 8, Buckingham's guitar virtuosity is at its best. He really nails a a great solo ride at the end of "Temporary One." During "Big Love" it's just his guitar and his voice--a killer number! "Landslide" is a magical song, with Buckingham playing his acoustic guitar in very gentle, delicate fashion while Nicks sings the lyrics as powerfully as she ever has (at the end you hear them thank each other).

"Silver Spring" is delivered with a romantic and melancholy quality that is beautifully tramsmitted by Nicks and the rest of the musicians, and the piano accompaniment is smooth and complementary. "Tusk," an already "big" percussion number, is made huge by the participation of the U.S.C. Trojan Marching Band. During the song, Fleetwood does a brief drum solo and then you hear the U.S.C. band drum and brass sections break into an intoxicating cadence. "Don't Stop" is also supplemented by the U.S.C. band. It's big and powerful, a real treat--and the stage is HUGE! The last few seconds are unbelievable!

For me, this CD is a very pleasant journey to the past. Unlike some reunion efforts that should never have happened, this one did and I'm glad. I will cherish and listen to The Dance for many years to come. This music and the memories it rekindles are just two things that I'll proudly share with my grandchildren one day.