Thursday, July 3, 2003 | 8:37 a.m.
The Mac is back, sort of.
Touring without singer/keyboardist Christine McVie for the first time in 32 years, Fleetwood Mac arrives at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night at 6:30.
Hardly strangers to lineup changes, Fleetwood Mac actually started out as a blues band, built around guitarist Peter Green in the late 1960s. Drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie are the only holdovers from those early days.
Joining that founding duo on this year's "Say You Will" tour are guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks. The pair infused new life into the band when they signed on in 1975, helping Fleetwood Mac become one of rock's most popular outfits.
While Saturday's show is certain to feature many of the band's best-known hits, such as "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams" and "Rhiannon," it will also include material from the recently released "Say You Will."
The new album is Fleetwood Mac's first with Buckingham onboard since 1987's "Tango in the Night." He returned for 1997's wildly successful "The Dance" tour, after which Christine McVie retired from the road.
Though Fleetwood Mac hasn't recorded a Top 10 hit since the 1980s, the Dixie Chicks' cover of "Landslide" recently reached No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart and No. 10 on the Billboard 200.
Who: Fleetwood Mac.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday,
Tickets: $85, $125, $250.
Opening act: None.
Personnel: Lindsey Buckingham (guitar, vocals), Mick Fleetwood (drums), John McVie (bass), Stevie Nicks (vocals).
Additional Musicians: Sharon Celani (vocals), Neale Heywood (guitar), Taku Hirano (percussion), Carlos Rios (guitar), Mindy Stein (vocals), Brett Tuggle (keyboard).
Latest release: "Say You Will" (Reprise, 2003).
Album feedback: "The album is a randomly sequenced display of Fleetwood Mac's best instincts: Buckingham's bittersweet tunes about playing for keeps; Nicks' tough, swirly songs about fragile and wicked women; and the experiments the group can't stop indulging in (near-classical and metal-inclined guitar, teen pop, and an incoherent number about the media)." (Rolling Stone, 3 stars); "The larger problem with 'Say You Will' might be that it's Fleetwood Mac's first real album of the CD era -- which means, like so many discs, it's way too long simply because it can be." (Entertainment Weekly, B).
Essential releases: "They Play On" (1969), "Fleetwood Mac" (1975), "Rumours" (1977), "Tusk" (1979).
What to expect: Look for the band to play about a third of the songs from the 18-track "Say You Will," along with plenty of old favorites, including such album cuts as "Never Going Back Again" and "Second Hand News." Don't expect to hear Christine McVie's compositions like "Say You Love Me" and "You Make Loving Fun," though Nicks typically takes McVie's vocal for "Don't Stop."
Recent set list: Marcus Amphitheater, Milwaukee, Wisc., Sunday: "The Chain," "Dreams," "Eyes of the World," "Peacekeeper," "Second Hand News," "Say You Will," "Never Going Back Again," "Rhiannon," "Come," "Gypsy," "Big Love," "Landslide," "Say Goodbye," "What's the World Coming to," "Beautiful Child," "Gold Dust Woman," "I'm so Afraid," "Silver Springs," "Tusk," "Stand Back," "Go Your Own Way." First encore: "World Turning," "Don't Stop." Second encore: "Goodbye Baby." (from fansite fmlegacy.com).
Tour feedback: "Fleetwood's manic stick-handling and (John) McVie's effortless fretwork helped turn even slight material such as onetime B-side 'Silver Springs' into something large, muscular, portentous." (Chicago Sun Times); "There were several passages -- "I'm so Afraid," in particular -- in which Buckingham's guitar-clawing fits of hysteria seemed to be pushing the crowd's patience." (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal).
Says Buckingham: "Near the end of the ("Say You Will") recording there were arguments, and it got a little tense. We had been looking at this as a long-term plan -- touring a lot and doing another record -- and maybe it looked like that wasn't going to happen. If I had to guess, I would say that we will do another album." (Rolling Stone, April).