There's a moment in the MTV reunion special Fleetwood Mac: The Dance at the end of a stirring performance of Landslide when Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks embrace.

He seems to kiss her on the cheek, and then they move apart. As she spins away, Nicks' hand moves to her face in what appears to be a spontaneous gesture of genuine affection.

Could it be? So much of the Fleetwood Mac catalog is about the famous mess that the Buckingham-Nicks romance quite publicly became. Rumours, the band's 1977 smash, documented it in depth, along with the simultaneous dissolution of John and Christine McVie's marriage.

They made 25 million copies of that document. Its songs, full of jealousy and rage, later achieved classic-rock radio ubiquity. What must it be like to sing them into the eyes of their inspiration?

"Things for Lindsey and I are never going to be mellow - never have been, never will be," said Nicks in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, where she has spent most of this year away from her Valley home working on the Mac reunion. "There are enough things now that we agree on that it's possible for us to work together again.

"When people say, "Gee, great rage leads to great art,' a certain part of that really is true. The tragedy of our relationship makes it very interesting to watch.

"We lived together for six years. I cooked for him. I did the laundry. I took care of him. It was as close to being married as I will ever be again."

Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain never played in the same band, so only the odd punk coupling of exes John Doe and Exene Cervenka match Buckingham-Nicks for pop soap opera. The relationship now exists only on the records, on the radio and, lately, onstage.

"Lindsay and I don't talk," said Nicks, sounding strong in the interview (and looking great on the MTV preview tape). "We don't sit down and have long discussions.

"We don't do that much offstage. We're both being careful. We don't want to (anger one another). When we get onstage, because it's a performance, we let go of things.

"When we get up there onstage, we have to relate to each other. A lot of stuff comes out."

In The Dance, it comes out in the angry Go Your Own Way, of course. But also in that single's B-side, Silver Springs.

Nicks said she wrote Silver Springs, which didn't make the final cut of Rumours, to say, "I'm so angry with you. You will listen to me on the radio for the rest of your life, and it will bug you. I hope it bugs you."

The Dance was taped over several May nights in a Burbank sound stage. The keeper for Silver Springs came on a Friday.

"In six weeks of rehearsal, it was never like that," Nicks said. "Only on Friday night did we let it go into something deeper. When we went on Friday, I knew we'd bring it out in case it was the last thing we'd ever do. The other shows were really, really good, but they weren't the show I wanted to leave behind. This show was.

"I wanted people to stand back and really watch and understand what (the relationship) was."

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