June 3, 2003
Philips Arena - Atlanta


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Let’s just call this Fleetwood Mac Mach Fifteen, okay? There have been so many variations in the line-up over the years (major and slight) that it’s not worth actually trying to count. The ’03 version might as well be the classic band as far as the fans at Philips Arena were concerned. They didn’t seem to notice vocalist/keyboardist Christine McVie or her hit songs were missing. To the majority of the crowd, the stars of the Mac are Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. At tonight’s show, however, there was only one star.

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Returning guitar hero Lindsey Buckingham tore through everything he touched with a passionate abandon, making it hard to believe that he could have so easily given this up for so many years. Whether doing the crowd favorites (“Go Your Own Way”) or the obscure (“Eyes Of The World”), he alternately abused and caressed his guitar, coaxing sounds that only guitar legends can muster. Bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood seemed all too happy to push Buckingham to even higher states of inspiration with their backing. When the extended band left the stage to the three of them, the power trio stomped hard while still taking twists and turns only the most daring drivers would attempt. The highlight of the entire concert was when the trio performed the brand new song “Come,” a dynamically intense barnstormer. By the end of the tune, the entire crowd was standing, which is quite a feat considering that it was the first time most of them had heard the song. Buckingham also received massive ovations for a solo acoustic version of “Big Love” and a lumbering “I’m So Afraid.”


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Unfortunately, Stevie Nicks appeared listless and bored. Her fiery performance style has dimmed into the glow from the embers of what once was. She gave the fans the songs they wanted, but “Rhiannon,” “Dreams,” “Gypsy” and “Gold Dust Woman” all seemed (at best) cool and distant. The only emotion that crossed her face was a bittersweet sadness that actually added to the effect of “Landslide” and Tusk’s delicate and heartbreaking “Beautiful Child,” but left the rest of her songs lacking. She did wake up for about 5 minutes to do a rocking version of her solo hit “Stand Back.” Perhaps she’s had enough of the confines of Fleetwood Mac again. Maybe it’s time for it to be the boys’ band for a while.

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For encores, Lindsey dug out the early (and nearly forgotten) gem “World Turning.” A truly engaging performance of the tune led to a flashy drum solo before “Don’t Stop” got everyone singing again. As a final coda, the new song “Goodbye Baby” was appropriate and sad. The crowd was respectfully quiet as the lullaby faded. It’s good to see the Mac back out and creating. If only Stevie could rediscover her passion for the band, they could truly surpass their legend. In its current form, it’s good to rediscover the muscle of Buckingham-McVie-Fleetwood, but a bit of a let down that Nicks won’t even try to compete.

Chris McKay/concertshots.com

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Fleetwood Mac Set List (6-3-03):

  1.  The Chain

  2. Dreams

  3. Eyes Of The World

  4. Peacekeeper

  5. Second Hand News

  6. Say You Will

  7. Never Going Back Again

  8. Rhiannon

  9. Come

  10. Gypsy

  11. Big Love

  12. Landslide

  13. Goodbye To You

  14. What’s The World Coming To?

  15. Beautiful Child

  16. Gold Dust Woman

  17. I’m So Afraid

  18. Silver Springs

  19. Tusk

  20. Stand Back

  21. Go Your Own Way


  1. World Turning

  2. Don’t Stop

 ---2nd encore---

 24. Goodbye Baby