Warner Brothers Records, 1997
REVIEW BY: JB
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/17/2001
This is an album I listen to when I sleep. That should tell you something about the relevance of Fleetwood Mac in the New Millenium.
I'm not saying they're a bad band in any way. You can call me born-in-the-eighties, but it seems a bit odd that so many '70s rock bands are still performing today. This wouldn't be strange if we were talking about classical music but this is ROCK music, the soundtrack to those churning energies of youth and unformed promise. Yes, I know there are lots of young fans at these concerts, but concertgoers tend to be well-adjusted, happy adults; for the most part the point seems to be... nostalgia.
I didn't consider this when I first listened to The Dance; my initial response, therefore, was "Geez what a dull album... what's the point of coming back together to make this %*#@?" But for fans who have become used to the phrasings and the melodies on the original albums, as I did later on, you'll see the subtle differences (and not-so-subtle differences) in the live performances and maybe appreciate it better.
The songwriting has endured for the most part. Christine McVie's non- Rumourscompositions are as banal as ever but "You Make Loving Fun" and "Don't Stop" still rock, especially with the brass section in the latter track. Stevie Nicks gives some strangely stiff performances with "Rhiannon" and "Dreams" but comes into harmonic form with "Silver Springs", with a spoken comment that may or may not be a jab at Lindsey Buckingham ("Thank you very much, 'Silver Springs' is a great ol' song" take that Lindsey dear for leaving it off Rumours).
Buckingham himself plugs in some impressive-but-not-quite-inspiring guitar solos and vocal performances. I get the impression that he's trying very, very hard to feel something and doing everything right but still failing. No wonder the band turned to drugs; the music works rock-and-roll magic only about a third of the time. Oh, and there are a bunch of NEW! NEVER BEFORE RELEASED! tracks in the mix but I can't remember how any of them go.
Yup, in the end, The Dance is full of memories of magic, but not the magic itself. It's not that they can't change; Stevie Nicks released a beautiful, stunningly relevant album just this June featuring the likes of Sheryl Crow and Sarah McLachlan. The problem is this "Fleetwood Mac in its golden age" concept. That Rumourssuccess, it was just one of those freak Hootie and the Blowfish deals. It can't be repeated here and now. Do something else with your time.
There were rumours of yet another reunion tour to be held next year, but Christine McVie has opted to pull out. Fleetwood Mac was great... in its time. But it's been dragged out for about two decades too long.