18 Years Ago: Fleetwood Mac Reunite for ‘The Dance’
Coming off one of the more disappointing eras of the band, the most well-known lineup of Fleetwood Mac put aside past differences to reunite for the concert release, The Dance, which arrived in stores Aug. 19, 1997.
The disc found the vocal trio of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie all agreeing to one more run with the group that would be highlighted by an MTV Unplugged special. Wanting to take advantage of the rare opportunity that all of the members were together, they also created a number of new tracks that would intermingle with their classic songs.
By the time they hit Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. on May 23, 1997, the veteran outfit was fully up to speed on both old and new material. While tracks like “Bleed to Love Her” and “My Little Demon” were standouts during the sessions, neither got much of a look once the album was released. Instead, fans gravitated toward the newly stripped-down versions of past favorites like “Landslide,” and “Silver Springs,” both of which spent a fair number of weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart. “Landslide” had the better run of the two, cracking the Top 10 at radio.
Speaking of the charts, The Dance was the first new album from the five-piece since 1987’s Tango in the Night a full decade earlier. Just prior to the return of all three singers, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood attempted to continue unsuccessfully with several new additions. But the success of The Dance, which catapulted the group to No. 1 on the chart and knocked off red hot rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, led the group to reconsider the future and work in one more tour together. The album would go on to become the fifth best-selling live album of all time in the U.S., with over five million copies sold.
As for the MTV special, it was also a rousing success. Fans were able to latch back onto such favorites as “The Chain,” “Dreams,” “Rihannon,” “You Make Lovin’ Fun,” and “Don’t Stop,” and there was an added bonus as the modern-day USC Marching Band followed in the footsteps of their predecessors by playing “Tusk” with the group on the recording. They also stuck around for “Don’t Stop.”
Those who eventually purchased the DVD were able to see a fuller version of the actual performance, which also showed off the skills of the various members. Lindsey Buckingham worked in a banjo for the song “Say You Love Me,” which also featured Christine McVie on tambourine and John McVie on backing vocals. Meanwhile Christine McVie ran through a number of instruments, playing keyboards, piano, accordion, and maracas in addition to her singing.
In keeping with the bit of nostalgia provided with the record, the band offered a few nods to their past work in the cover art for the disc. Photographer David LaChappelle snapped a group photo with Mick Fleetwood recreating his pose from the cover of Rumours and Buckingham holding the cane from the band’s 1975 LP.
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