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Fleetwood Mac concert reviews: Critics divided over Buckingham, Nicks at Xcel

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Fleetwood Mac played to a sold out crowd of 16,000 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Sunday night, and two local critics are at odds whether guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingham or singer Stevie Nick gave the bigger performance.

The band is on the road in celebration of the 35th anniversary of their landmark album "Rumors," featuring four core members: Buckingham, his former lover and frequent song muse Nicks, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie.

Jon Bream in his Star Tribune review says Buckingham "gave one of the most impassioned performances ever in a Twin Cities arena, this side of Bruce Springsteen." He also called the 63-year-old musician "a live-wire ringmaster, a guitar monster, a heartfelt singer, a hammy performer and, as Mick Fleetwood put it, 'our inspiration.'"

Nicks, on the other hand, "needed a good half of Sunday’s 2 1/2-hour show to warm up her voice," Bream added.

Although Nicks, 64, eventually found bits of inspiration in songs like "Landslide," "Gold Dust Woman" and "Gypsy," Bream says "her versions of 'Rhiannon' and 'Sara' were so croaky and lifeless that she couldn’t have placed in the top 5 in a Stevie Nicks sound-alike contest."

Despite his mixed performance, Bream says Nicks "clearly was a favorite" of the fans.

Russ Raihala's review of the show in the Pioneer Press was also mixed, but unlike Bream, he was much higher on Nicks.

In comparison to the band's 2009 appearance at Xcel, "Stevie Nicks was much more present and didn't let her energetic frenemy Lindsey Buckingham steal the spotlight quite as much," Raihala wrote.

Raihala says while Nicks' "voice has lost much of its power," but "she still looks terrific and she seemed to be enjoying herself much more Sunday night than four years back."

Apart from an energized Nicks, Raihala said the setlist was a virtual repeat of the 2009 show.

"This wasn't just hearing the same old numbers four years later, but hearing them largely in the same sequence," Raihala wrote.

Raihala also lamented over keyboardist Christine McVie's vital contributions and the big hole she left in the group when she retired in 1998.

"While she was always a distant third behind Buckingham and Nicks, her softer, more romantic songs lent the band a certain humanity they've been lacking in the years since," the critic says.

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