Sound: In 1997, "The Dance" put the famed Fleetwood Mac back on the top of the US charts with mulit-platinum success. It had been a decade since the "Rumours" line-up would perform together, and the last time for Christine McVie. "The Dance" is a unique album in the Mac catalog for many reasons.
"The Dance" could have come about for many reasons. Fleetwood Mac was suffering heavily in the 90's with the departure of Buckingham and Nicks. Mick Fleetwood was facing financial difficulties and John McVie nearly died from alcohol abuse. The idea for a tour and live album with the original mid 70's line-up seemed lucrative for each member, naturally. The project came to fruition with Mick Fleetwood working on a Buckingham solo album that turned into much more. Nicks was contacted as well as the remaining members of Mac who all agreed to bring the chain together once more.
The album, as well as the tour was extremely successful. Indeed, Fleetwood Mac has still "got it". The sound is very clear, very pristine beginning with the opening "The Chain" from the album "Rumours". The band has never been better, going through their most famous hits and adding a few new tracks. However, these new tracks actually deter from the flow of the DVD. While the album "The Dance" contained 17 tracks, the DVD contains 22, making the new songs more spread out. However, Stevie's contribution, "Sweet Girl" and McVie's "Temporary One" don't really make as strong of an impression as Buckingham's lovely "Bleed to Love Her."
Buckingham is at top form on the tour. An underrated guitarist, his skill level is simply stunning on "Big Love", a song quite different from the album version that appears on "Tango in the Night". Buckingham evens makes note of the fact, mentioning how songs, like people constantly grow and change. He has matured and changed since his time with Mac, and it is very evident with his treatment of Stevie on her songs.
Stevie manages to ride off the success of the Dixie Chicks when she performs "Landslide" to great acclaim. Her voice however, like Buckingham's, has lost some of its range. "Rhiannon" has all the magic of the Fleetwood-McVie rhythm section, but suffers with her limited range. A new intro is added however, that shows that the Mac is always evolving. "Silver Springs" is her other standout and was the other single released from the album with "Landslide". "Sliver Springs" was originally released as a B-side to "Go Your Own Way" back in the "Rumours"- era. It's a beautiful song that finally gets it's due.
Christine McVie makes a very sweet performance of her hits "Everywhere", "Over My Head" and "Say You Love Me". I still find it odd that "Little Lies" was not included, but the band has so many hits, it must have been difficult to include all of them. // 9
Content: The DVD is a better collection and overall view of Fleetwood Mac's big comeback tour than the album version. With 22 songs, only four are new songs, and only two of them are weaker tracks. The opening number "The Chain" is a great opening with the line "Never break the chain," standing out strong. Some tracks such as "Little Lies", "Hold Me", "Monday Morning" and "Oh Diane" are not included, despite being hits, but overall, the set-list is very strong.
Following "The Chain", Nicks takes the stage with her iconic "Dreams" into McVie's "Everywhere". The band finds a good balance between the performing songwriters. Tracks such as "Gypsy", "Go Insane", "Gold Dust Woman", "Over My Head" and "Songbird" are only available on the DVD, so the DVD is the way to go. The DVD video in 1.33:1 aspect ratio, audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM stereo. // 10
Production Quality: The overall production is very solid, and the staging of the show is very advanced for a live album. Dozens of cameras give it a very modern feel, and the close-ups of Nicks and Buckingham during Nick's emotional songs show that much thought was placed on the production. Buckingham, as usual, serves as producer and as usual gives the solid, clean production. Even when the UCLA Marching Band is introduced on the final few numbers ("Tusk" and "Don't Stop"), the sound quality and staging is stunning if not slightly over-the-top. But Fleetwood Mac has always been famed for their excess, and the production of the concert is no different. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, Fleetwood Mac is back. Christine McVie would leave afterward, but it shows that both Buckingham and Nick's are fully capable of working efficiently together on Mac projects. This reunion would prove handy when "Say You Will" would be released a few years later, regrettably without Christine McVie. Having sold over 5-million copies in the US, it is the fifth best selling live album of all time there. There still was and always will be an audience for the Mac. It's worth your hard-earned cash to check out this band who suffered and triumphed to create an amazing work of art and an incredible concert. // 9