Tusk Performs the Mammoth Task
of Becoming Fleetwood Mac at the bergenPAC
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Formed in 1967, Fleetwood Mac is one of rock's most successful British-American groups. In spite of numerous line-up changes Fleetwood Mac - which started out as a blues outfit - have sold millions of mainstream records. TUSK is a Fleetwood Mac cover band. The five members of TUSK have worked together in various configurations for over twenty-five years with TUSK being an outlet for them to replicate the music of Fleetwood Mac.

Tusk Performs the Mammoth Task of Becoming Fleetwood Mac at the bergenPAC
Looks like Stevie and Mick on stage in New Jersey.

The group's name comes from one of Fleetwood Mac's most ambitious projects following the release of their mega hit record Rumors (1977). Tusk a 20-track double album was more experimental. It did not sell as well as Rumors but it still resulted in three songs charting ("Sara", "Think About Me" and the title track). The band TUSK is Kathy Phillips (vocals), Scott McDonald (guitar/vocals), Kim Williams (keys/vocals), Randy Artiglere (bass) and Tom Nelson (drums).

TUSK presented their Fleetwood Mac tribute show at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey on September 13, 2014. TUSK were dressed in clothes that one could picture Fleetwood Mac wearing. Kathy took center stage sporting a black flowing dress in honor of singer Stevie Nicks' signature style. Tom was wearing a dark vest and hat a common look for drummer Mick Fleetwood.

Drums echoed in the theater as TUSK came out full force with a finely executed "The Chain". The hits kept coming with "Dreams" and "Say You Love Me" with Kim aptly handling lead vocals and keys on the Christine McVie classic. "Second Hand News" showcased strong harmonies that was a constant throughout the night. Instrumentally TUSK was spot on occasionally enhancing a song with solos which is often what bands do with well known tunes.

TUSK presented a lively version of "Little Lies" from the Tango in the Night (1987) album. "Gold Dust Woman" was edgy and engaging. There was some chat and we were reminded that the now well known "Silver Springs" was a B side back in the days of 45s to the A side "Go Your Own Way". TUSK captured all the mystical feel of "Rhiannon" during their first set.

After a short break, Scott armed with an acoustic took the spot light with "Never Going Back" playing all the notes and nuances seamlessly.Other highlights of the second set included "World Turning" that expanded into a stirring bass solo from Randy who melded a number of techniques with thumb thumps. "Sara" was strong as was "You Make Loving Fun" along with a lovely "Landslide".

Paying homage to Fleetwood Mac's early days Randy, Scott and Tom played a bold blues medley with even a bit of "Black Magic Woman" blended in before finishing with a fast and furious "Oh Well". Kathy who was now in white was expressive both vocally and visually in "Edge of Seventeen".

This was our first time seeing TUSK. Therefore, we cannot be sure if their shows always close in such dramatic fashion but on Saturday night it was impressive. The primal rhythms of "Tusk" had the crowd clapping along as Tom took off on a drum solo that combined bass drum with cowbell. As Nelson was concluding five other drummers came out to join Tom in a banter of beats. The quintet pounded the skins of their own instruments as well as the ones to the right or left of them adding dance steps and stick taps as they moved, taking the concept of a drum circle to new heights. Next a horn section via marching band filled the stage to elevate the tribal feel of "Tusk". The Fusion Drum Corp added more sound to "Don't Stop" the perfect sing-along song to close the show. No encore was required with such a riveting pairing that could rival an arena show.

TUSK presented a well played respectful repertoire of Fleetwood Mac's music. TUSK performed all the hits with expertise. It was a fun concert and based on the comments that we heard on the way out of the theater the audience was awed. The bergenPAC centrally located in downtown Englewood continues to host an eclectic range of artists such as TUSK. Up-coming events at the venue include The Dan Band, ASIA, Macy Gray, Pop, Rock & DooWop, Victor Manuelle, Engelbert Humperdinck, America and Bill Cosby.

Tusk Performs the Mammoth Task of Becoming Fleetwood Mac at the bergenPAC
More scenes from the Tusk Tribute to Fleetwood Mac in New Jersey.

Related Links: For more information on TUSK and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- Tusk | bergenPAC

(Originally Published on September 15, 2014)

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