Fleetwood Mac’s “Say You Will” was released a little over a decade ago – in April of 2003 – and was the band’s first album since 1970 that did not feature a single track by Christine McVie, who had retired from the band in 1998, after their comeback for the ages (the release of the immensely popular live album, “The Dance,” and the sold out tour promoting it). “Say You Will” was also their first non-live album to reach the upper echelon’s of Billboard’s Top 200 Album charts in years (“The Dance” debuted at #1), where it peaked at #3. It wasn’t a perfect album (for one, it was too bloated), but to my ears, it was uniformed in its aural pleasures. Here’s my original review:
FLEETWOOD MAC Say You Will In this CD age, the megalomaniacs in the music industry deem it worthy of stuffing an insufferable amount of filler into every new release just because technology allows it. That is one minor problem with this otherwise worthwhile set from the Christine McVie-less outfit. Another being that it’s Christine McVie-less. People underestimate the totality of her role in the eon of Fleetwood Mac. While many of her songs are FM [and F.M.] classics, the importance of her contributions as an overall factor is sometimes lost on the hordes of Stevie Nicks fanatics (of which I’m proudly one). But she was the middle ground, tying together the sometimes obscure mysticism of Nicks and the avant-gardism of Lindsay. That said, there is still plenty of that obscure mysticism and avant-gardism – which, in the realm that is Buckingham Nicks, feels cozily at home – and there is still no denying their individual power of songwriting craft. In spite of the aforementioned minor quibbles, adding only a few others along the way (e.g. Nicks’ lazy drawl has the tendency to bring down a few of her tracks), Lindsay’s brilliant ‘Red Rover’ & ‘Miranda’ are oddly, compellingly beautiful and Nicks is haunting on ‘Goodbye Baby’ and splendid on new Mac classics ‘Running Through the Garden’ and ‘Smile At You,’ two years-old demos where she breathes fiery and enthralling vocals we haven’t witnessed in years. Buckingham utilizes Nicks’ gift for harmony gloriously. And, second only to the Stones, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood continue to prove that legendary rhythm sections are not made of folklore, but breathing and alive and kicking. I’m not sure how Christine would have fit in on this CD, but as it stands on its own entity, this is Fleetwood Mac’s most satisfying and consistent work since “Tusk.” My grade: A-
I recently listened to the album again after a few years, and – save for my “Tusk” proclamation (it probably wasn’t) – found that I stand by my original review. My distaste of certain tracks remain (the title track, Nicks’ meandering “Illume” and Buckingham’s cacophonous “Come” are lurid examples), but I was pleasantly surprised that (most of) the CD flowed beautifully.
Here’s some recorded footage I found in my archives of the band’s 2nd leg of their North American “Say You Will” tour. These performance clips were filmed at the Kohl Center Arena in Madison Wisconsin on May 8, 2004. (Please note: this footage was not filmed for commercial use – hence some unusual shots, e.g. the lingering shots of Mick during a Stevie vocal, dips to darkness, etc…)
The set list for this leg of the tour was as follows:
I Know I’m Not Wrong
Second Hand News
Say You Will
Never Going Back Again
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way
These are the only tracks from that night that I have video for, so enjoy!