Fleetwood Mac began the final portion of a world tour that started over a year ago last night at the TD Garden in Boston. The show was previously supposed to take place in April but was postponed due to Stevie Nicks‘ battle with the flu. Monday’s concert featured a bevy of the group’s greatest hits along with a few deep cuts and more.
The legendary band’s current lineup consists of longtime members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks along with newcomers Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) and Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House). Both Campbell and Finn joined in 2018 ahead of the current tour after Lindsey Buckingham was fired from the band.
Last night’s setlist followed a similar path as others from the now 80-show-old tour. Fleetwood Mac opened with “The Chain” and then played hits “Little Lies,” “Dreams,” “Second Hand News” and “Say You Love Me.” The band honored their early days by performing their 1968 single “Black Magic Woman” penned by former member Peter Green. Fleetwood Mac also paid tribute to Finn and Campbell’s roots via performances of Split Enz’s “I Got You” and Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” as well as Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”
The band also fit in the recently busted out “Man Of The World” and “Oh Well” from Peter Green’s time in Fleetwood Mac. Last night’s show concluded with a run of hits that included “Landslide,” “Hold Me,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Go Your Own Way.” For the encore, Fleetwood Mac followed “Free Fallin’” with “Don’t Stop.” The tour concludes in Las Vegas on November 16.
An Evening with Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac at TD Garden
Oct 28, 2019, Boston, MA
Second Hand News
Say You Love Me
Black Magic Woman
I Got You
Man of the World
Don’t Dream It’s Over
You Make Loving Fun
Gold Dust Woman
Go Your Own Way ENCORE
Scott Bernstein / JamBase / Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Fleetwood Mac has announced its final show of the 2018-2019 tour will be in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on November 16. Tickets go on sale on Friday, October 11, at 10:00 a.m. local time.
Fans have been speculating whether “the final concert” will be Fleetwood Mac’s last concert ever. While it’s very unlikely that band will stop performing shows, they may decide not to tour on such a massive scale in the future.
REVIEW: It’s a weird feeling to walk from a concert of an international headliner, with a song from home in the front of your mind.
And so it happened after the final of an 80 concert stretch for Fleetwood Mac when they headlined Dunedin”s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.
While there was no support act on the undercard, the more than 30,000 punters were treated to a Kiwi version with Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House) front and centre with his new band.
And that band featured the waistcoat duo of Mick Fleetwood on drums and John McVie on bass, and Christine McVie on keys and vocals, and frontwoman Stevie Nicks, alongside new member, guitarist Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers).
Before they took the stage at the early (not complaining!) time of 8.20pm, the crowd entertained themselves with a series of Mexican waves,
Right from the outset the band shows their chemistry, opening with crowd pleaser “The Chain.”
McVie, who has an assortment of children toys on her keyboard, wins the key to the city for saying the band had an amazing time, before launching into “Sweet Little Lies.”
Raiding the back catalogue did not let up, with “Dreams,” with the fingerless glove wearing Nicks entering full gypsy mode to the delight of the crowd.
By now many of the crowd were on their feet, and were suddenly treated to the Neil Finn show, which began with a “Kia ora Dunedin”.
Finn, who tells the crowed “I used to be in a band called Split Enz”, has obvious crowd-pleasing chemistry with Nicks.
The pair sing together on “I Got You,” featuring a nicely done backing video of Frankestein’s monster.
But an early highlight would be “Rhiannon,” with Nicks, who is now in fine voice, acknowledging the crowd with a trademark deep bow.
Finn takes lead on “World Turning,” which usurps into Mick Fleetwood taking centre stage. And take it he does.
An eye-popping 15 minute drum solo includes the band’s namesake asking the crowd if they want to “release the hounds”.
It’s Campbell’s turn next to show his fretboard wizardry on “Oh Well,” which sets up the stage for Finn.
It’s arguably the biggest song of the night when Finn, armed with just an acoustic guitar, starts to sing Crowded House classic “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”
“I can hear you Dunedin,” he tells the crowd, who don’t remind him that a third of the audience is from Christchurch, and then “I can see you” when thousands of lights illuminate the venue.
He is joined by Nicks, who later tells the crowd of her love for that Kiwi classic, “a song like that only comes around once in a life time”.
Not to be outdone she later launches into “Landslide,” with the lyric “And I’m getting older, too” resonating for many.
Fleetwood himself shares a yarn over his admiration for Finn, which allows the Kiwi to raid some of his back catalogue at a concert for one of the world’s best selling bands.
So your tour downunder may be finished Fleetwood Mac, but don’t dream it’s over.
This was the last of five concerts as part of Fleetwood Mac’s 2019 New Zealand tour.
Hamish McNeilly / Stuff (New Zealand) / Sunday, September 22, 2019
Fleetwood Mac’s Sydney show was a touching celebration of their legacy and longevity
There aren’t many bands in the world with a history and legend as colourful as Fleetwood Mac.
For over 50 years, we’ve listened and watched in rapt attention as they weathered love, break-ups, infighting, drug addictions, and loss in the public arena — pouring it all into songs that defined multiple generations.
It’s not like these years are long behind them either — last year’s news that longtime guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham had been unceremoniously booted from the line-up didn’t come so much as a surprise as it just felt like Fleetwood being Fleetwood. As writer David James Young described for Junkee at the time, there are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and some sort of drama in the Fleetwood Mac camp.
The decision to replace Buckingham — an unenviable task, given his towering presence within the band and on-stage — with both Neil Finn and Tom Petty and Heartbreakers’ guitarist Mike Campbell was inspired. Throughout the lengthy show at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena (their 65th of their current tour) they don’t harshly impose on the chemistry of the original members, and Campbell’s dynamic and ferocious guitar playing is one of the highlights of the evening.
Finn, particularly, looked like he was having the time of his life, beaming and flicking his silver hair across his face. It’s clear the crowd are happy to see him too — he arguably gets a bigger roar then any of the original Fleetwood members when he’s introduced. A homegrown (well, close enough) boy done good.
“Remember, you’re out of the inner city now, so that means you can have a good time. You can drink and dance as much as you like,” Finn told the Sydney crowd halfway through the show, ribbing the city’s scorned lockout laws. “You know you want to.”
Indeed, one of the highlights of the night comes not from a Fleetwood track, but from the Crowded House catalogue. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” is gifted to a sea of waving phone lights and singing audience members (one punter near me was overwhelmed from the off, shouting “Oh FUCK!” the moment Finn opened his mouth).
As for the original band members, they are clearly still relishing the opportunity to be on-stage. Mick Fleetwood is relentlessly energetic, whether he’s slamming down the first kick drum of opener “The Chain,” or grabbing a bongo and leading the audience through his 15-minute drum solo. Christine McVie and John McVie are more restrained, the former’s voice a little rattled from the long years, but she nonetheless strongly leads the charge through crowd favourites “Say You Love Me” and “Everywhere.”
A MILLION COVER BANDS CAN TRY — BUT THERE’S A MAGIC TO THESE SONGS BEING WIELDED BY THEIR WRITERS THAT IS SIMPLY UNTOUCHABLE.
And, of course, there is Stevie Nicks. Dressed, as usual, in all black and a shawl, clutching her tambourine, her magnetism is palpable, and though she noticeably avoids any of the high notes she could hit back in the day, it doesn’t matter. Her voice rolls out richly across the arena during tear-jerking classics like “Dreams” and “Rhiannon,” and she transcends during “Gold Dust Woman,” twisting in the gold light.
There’s a certain mental dislocation in witnessing these songs played live. Like first glimpsing a landmark you’ve seen depicted in thousands of films and on postcards, the cadences and lyrics are so etched within your brain that finally hearing them delivered by their creators is almost disorienting. A million cover bands can try — but there’s a magic to these songs being wielded by their writers that is simply untouchable.
Two moments in particular bottled the magic: the chill-inducing “Landslide,” delivered acoustically by Nicks and Finn right after “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” and the Tom Petty tribute “Free Fallin’,” set against a slideshow of Petty’s life in photos. Even the notoriously terrible “Don’t Stop” — which has to be, if not the worst recorded song of all time, then certainly the worst Fleetwood Mac song — is elevated in the celebratory surroundings.
“Take care of yourselves,” Mick Fleetwood says as parting words after a long standing ovation. “And take care of each other, and thank you for allowing us to keep doing this.”
Given the well-documented dramas they’ve endured over the decades, you assumed by now Fleetwood Mac were pretty much invincible.
However reuniting that classic Rumours-era line-up back for the 2014/2015 tour proved they had one more soap opera-style twist up their billowing sleeves.
So in 2019, it’s either this Lindsey Buckingham-free version of Fleetwood Mac or nothing.
But the chain’s been broken and repaired so many times over the years change is the only constant in the band’s line-up.
It speaks volumes that Buckingham’s replacements are local hero Neil Finn and former Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell.
Finn does their songs, then they do Split Enz’s “I Got You” — which he reveals he wrote and recorded in Melbourne, where he also got his “first perm” which Stevie Nicks turns into a full duet.
She then sings the third verse of Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream it’s Over” (also written in Melbourne) a song you didn’t think could be improved — Nicks tells Finn it’s a “once in a lifetime song”.
They’ve dived deeper into Mac history this time — the 50 year old “Man of the World” and underrated Christine McVie penned 1982 hit “Hold Me” joining regulars “The Chain,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Go Your Own Way,” “Everywhere,” “Little Lies,” “Say You Love Me” and “Don’t Stop” (but sadly no “Sara” or “Songbird”).
It’s a Stevie Nicks-heavy night and there’s nothing wrong with that at all when the living legend steers “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Gypsy,” “Gold Dust Woman” and a particularly magical “Landslide.”
They’re the timeless classics that keep seeing Mac tours draw younger and younger audiences.
And considering their unpredictable history, you wouldn’t put it past them to patch it up with Buckingham for one final farewell tour in a few years’ time.
Fleetwood Mac plays Rod Laver Arena again tomorrow, Saturday and Monday — the final dates on this Australian tour.
Cameron Adams / Herald Sun (Australia) / Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Fleetwood Mac – Rod Laver Arena , Melbourne
Monday September 2, 2019
Review: Greg Phillips. Photos: Jason Rosewarne
In an era full of so much forgettable, disposable pop music where today’s chart topper is just as sure to be tomorrow’s compost, it’s comforting to know that there’s always Fleetwood Mac. Born in the late sixties, the band has often gone through personnel changes from the Peter Green blues days, to the game-changing Buckingham Nicks inclusion, to the in and outs of McVies and a cavalcade of guitarists such as Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, Bob Welch, Billy Burnette and Rick Vito. However, when it was announced last year that Lindsey Buckingham had been sacked and replaced by Crowded House’s Neil Finn and The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell, you’d be forgiven for checking to see if the date was April 1st. It was with much anticipation that Fleetwood Mac fans awaited first news of how this strategy would play out live on stage. Initial reviews of the band’s American tour were favourable but obviously Australian fans were keen to judge for themselves and finally our leg of the world tour had arrived … tonight it was hello Melbourne!
Fans outside nervously checked their watches and the black clouds above as they endured the long wait to get into the venue due to the added security and unique Rod Laver Arena queuing system (i.e. none). The first night crowd of a four date residency is always going to be full of the band’s biggest fans and the excitement in the air was tangible. Finally around 8.20pm, Fleetwood Mac Version 2019 hit the stage and launched into “The Chain” from 1977’s mega-selling Rumours album. Back in the day, the song was used as a show stopping encore but with an unlimited supply of hits in the catalogue and a point to prove, they came out punching hard. The signature interconnecting guitar parts between Finn, Campbell and additional guitarist Neale Heywood were working a treat and vocally they were hitting all the right notes as well. “Little Lies” then drew our focus to Christine McVie and the realisation that there is a ridiculous amount of talent in this band. “Dreams” followed with the crowd joining Stevie Nicks in singing the iconic lyrics, “Thunder only happens when it’s raining.” Whether you’d never learned the words intentionally, we all know them via osmosis anyway, these songs are part of our DNA.
“Black Magic Woman,” a song made famous by Santana, was a staple of the original Fleetwood Mac and this was the first of three nods to the Peter Green-era catalogue for the night. This band’s rendition was powerful. For Neil Finn, who spent a significant part of his musical life in Melbourne, this evening was like bringing the band home to meet the family. Taking front of stage to acknowledge the part this city has played in his career, they launched into a punchy version of the Split Enz tune “I Got You” and the crowd quite naturally went nuts for it. It would be a tough call to top that one but Rhiannon was always going to do the trick, named in a Rolling Stone magazine list as one of the greatest songs of all time.
The percussive nature of “World Turning” gave band founding member Mick Fleetwood licence to indulge in an extended drum solo showcasing his exuberant eccentricity and it was also a chance to feature master percussionist Taku Hirano. Tonight there would be no filler, Fleetwood Mac are in the business of hits and they continued to flow. Stevie Nicks and “Gypsy” from 1982’s Mirage album had the audience singing and swaying again … not that they’d ever stopped.
Neil Finn then plucked out the obscure but beautiful Peter Green tune Man of the World before Mike Campbell took the spotlight to firstly salute Mick Fleetwood and John McVie as the world’s longest standing rhythm section and secondly, to lead the band in the avalanche of guitar riffs that define Green’s classic tune “Oh Well.”
The impossibly tall frame of Mick Fleetwood left his drum kit fortress again to introduce a song which “touched his heart” from the moment he first heard it. In a show full of highlights, Neil Finn performing “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” a song written in Melbourne, sung to and sung by a Melbourne audience, was indeed a special moment. Session stalwart Ricky Peterson added a sublime touch on keys. Stevie Nicks took the time to remind Neil that it’s a “once in a lifetime” song and that he should never forget it. Finn responded by suggesting that Nicks herself had written some significant tunes and one of her finest, “Landslide” followed, with the Melbourne crowd once again singing along to every word.
There’s a touch of the Rolling Stones Rock ’n’ Roll Circus or even Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen about this band at the moment, so much rock history on stage and so much legendary music coming off it. Rather than any hint of a farewell, this mix has opened up a pandora’s box of new possibilities.
With our heartstrings well and truly tugged and so many classic Mac songs already in the can, it’s with a sense of wonder that an even higher level of nostalgia overload is achieved with “You Make Loving Fun,” “Gold Dust Woman” and “Go Your Own Way.” If you hadn’t already been struck in the feely bits, then “Free Fallin’,” the tribute to Tom Petty featuring footage of Tom and his guitarist Mike Campbell on screen certainly did it. The connection between Nicks and Petty and Campbell’s inclusion in this band suddenly made a lot of sense. “Don’t Stop” was a fitting end to the party and a comprehensive end to any speculation that his collection of seasoned pros couldn’t pull off a truly great rock show. Tonight was not only a celebration of one of the world’s finest ever rock bands but also a nod to an era of songwriting talent that we’ll probably never experience again.
Fleetwood Mac play Rod Laver Arena again on:
Wednesday September 4 Saturday September 7 Monday September 9
Eighteen months ago, it seemed positively absurd that someone like Neil Finn – a well known musician and songwriter in his own right who had by no means put his feet up – could, or even would, join a band like Fleetwood Mac. Perhaps it still does.
But on Monday as they touched down in Melbourne, the final destination in their Australian visit, the new-look band proved for the 72nd time (that’s how far they are into this world tour) that replacing long-time guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham with Finn was in fact a stroke of genius.
Opening with Finn fronting “The Chain” may have seemed like an eff you to Buckingham were it not already the band’s long-standing opening number. Finn took up the mantle with gusto. Sporting a messy quiff worthy of his younger days, it was joyous to watch him rock out like a pig in shit.
The punch with which he delivered the vocal line was surprising; this is a more forceful style than most of Finn’s own songs. But he owned it by putting his own subtle spin on phrasings, proving he’s no carbon copy of his predecessor. When you’re Neil Finn, there’s really no need for that.
Stevie Nicks, meanwhile, all but commanded the stage for the duration of the gig, even when she was not fronting. No surprises there. With trademark flowing black threads, playing air drums on her tasselled tambourine, the black magic woman had the 16,000-strong audience under her spell.
At 71, Nicks’ distinctive vocals still cut through. She has modified some melodies to a lower register– notably in “Dreams” – but Finn, and two tucked away backing vocalists, carried the rest, ensuring no drama was lost. Nicks seemed to become both more ethereal and more animated as the night went on.
Christine McVie’s voice on the other hand, much more mellow than Nicks’, was all but swamped in the band’s big sound. No one really cared: “Everywhere” was an invitation to sing along and dance in the aisles.
That Finn was the right choice for the band – at least here in Melbourne, where he wrote many of his hits and, we were told, where he got his first perm – was none more apparent than when the band launched into “I Got You.”
Can you call it a cover when the person who wrote the song is now in the band?
Let’s be clear, this is Fleetwood Mac playing Split Enz. Can you call it a cover when the person who wrote the song is now in the band?
As if to answer, we had clips from The Bride of Frankenstein playing above the stage. The whole thing was brilliant. More Frankenbands, please.
Later, Finn would play “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” now with added sparkles (chimes) and met with swaying phone lights in the auditorium.
Of course, there’s another new addition to the band: former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, who delivered Fleetwood Mac’s many soaring guitar solos with colour and precision. An encore of Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” to a photo montage of the late singer sharing the stage variously with Campbell and Nicks, was heartfelt and well received.
Even for a band with so many bangers, there were a few songs that felt like filler in the latter half of the two-hour set, including an extended Mick Fleetwood drum solo during which the rest of the band took a break (as did some in the audience). But the energy with which Fleetwood still thumps that kit more than 50 years on, and the pure, unadulterated glee on his face as he does it, says something about why this band endures.
Hannah Francis / Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) / Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Since it began as a British rock band in 1967, Fleetwood Mac has undergone 19 iterations while steadily adding Americans and, most recently, a New Zealander to its line-up. Its only remaining founding member is drummer Mick Fleetwood, who recently described each version of the group as “incredibly different musical episodes in this Shakespearean play we blundered into.”
Whether at work, at play, at each others’ throats or at risk of dying young from excessive drug consumption, this group of artists has produced some of the finest songs in popular music, which is why tickets to these tours continue to sell at premium prices, and why audiences continue to show up by the tens of thousands.
Few albums in rock ’n’ roll history have sold more copies — or prompted more commentary about the unique interpersonal dynamics that surrounded its creation — than 1977’s Rumours. Towards the end of the year of its release, the group — Fleetwood, singer Stevie Nicks, singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, singer-keyboardist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie — visited Australia for a tour named Rockarena, on a bill that also featured Santana and Little River Band.
As documented in Iain Shedden’s 2010 biography of promoter Michael Chugg, the instruction from the band’s Los Angeles headquarters before its arrival was this: “The promoter’s rep will meet the band’s tour manager in the car park of Sydney Airport with two ounces of cocaine.”
On stage at each show were two tents with card tables laden with powder-filled Heineken bottle tops pushed together to form capsules. “During the performance, each of the band in turn would wander off to get a little card table action,” Chugg recalled. “All of them except drummer Fleetwood. His needs were somewhat greater than those of his colleagues, so he had his own card table within arm’s reach just behind him.”
Such indulgence is not necessarily conducive to longevity. Thankfully, all five of the musicians who appeared on that tour 42 years ago are still with us, though Buckingham no longer is with the band. His sacking was announced in April last year, prompting acrimony — with this band, was there any other way? — followed by lawyerly interventions and an eventual settlement.
Taking his place as lead vocalist for the band’s current Australian tour is Neil Finn, while the bulk of Buckingham’s lead guitar work is handled by Mike Campbell. Both are familiar and comfortable with playing arenas, with their acts Split Enz and Crowded House, and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, respectively.
Personnel changes aside, the chief challenge of writing hit songs in your 20s and 30s is figuring out how to carry those arrangements into your 60s and 70s with energy and vitality. Only fools would expect facsimiles of the original recordings from a hard-living act with this many kilometres on its collective odometer, yet to its credit Fleetwood Mac shoulders that weight of history without much of a struggle.
Whether through technical issues or some other unseen force, though, the opening salvo at the first of three shows at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Tuesday night failed to connect.
What was intended to be a walloping opening combination of three of its most popular songs in “The Chain,” “Little Lies” and “Dreams” instead came across as sluggish and wayward.
From that underwhelming point, however, the six main players — backed by another keyboardist, guitarist, percussionist and two back-up singers — gathered a momentum that continued for more than two hours. The first truly beautiful moment was Christine McVie’s “Everywhere,” whose stacked vocal harmonies in the chorus perfectly exemplified the classic sound that endeared this group to millions of fans.
There is no escaping the fact Nicks’s voice has changed in the years since she laid down the evocative chorus to “Rhiannon,” but what she lacks in a higher register is covered by the extraordinary tones she still coaxes from the middle and lower end of her range. Towards the end of the 21-song set list she performed “Gold Dust Woman” with a sincerity that was mesmerising.
The abundance of musicians on stage meant that some of the band’s most layered songs were overwhelmed by a busy mix. This was most apparent on “Go Your Own Way,” which was dominated by acoustic guitar and percussion, burying John McVie’s bass. It was only halfway through that Campbell’s lead parts were pushed to the fore, allowing the song — and the set — to end on a high, with he and Finn locking into an extended jam before the drummer brought it to a thumping close.
With his rock-dog persona Campbell, wearing his uniform of black hat and sunglasses, fits right into this group of weirdo outsiders who somehow ended up, despite themselves, at the centre of popular culture. Before the second song finished, he had played three guitars; by set’s end, that number had reached double figures. His playing covered Buckingham’s exhaustingly diverse range of techniques, styles and parts, while his fellow newcomer was allowed to take a few leads, too.
Finn’s addition to the group has been of particular interest to this part of the world, with the sheer curiosity of the Crowded House frontman being sucked into the machinations of this rock institution perhaps providing reason enough to convince a few fence-sitters to open their wallets to see how he performs on this tour. The Kiwi rose to the occasion with aplomb, alternating between the spotlight and stepping back as needed. As well, he was at the centre of two towering mid-set highlights.
With an acoustic guitar in hand and backed by the gentle playing of a keyboardist and percussionist, he sang his 1986 hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” prompting phone torches held aloft throughout the arena. Nicks joined him for the final verse and chorus, then told him a song like that came along only once in a lifetime. “So good one, Neil,” she said. “Now I’ve got to try to follow that.”
She then bested him, as only Nicks could do, with the cutting beauty of 1975’s “Landslide,” featuring Finn beside her on acoustic guitar. Her timeless song about the passage of time takes on more meaning and pathos with each passing year. When one of the most remarkable voices in music history sang those lines — “But time makes you bolder, even children get older / And I’m getting older too” — at 71 years, the result was a poetic resonance that surely would have made Shakespeare shed a tear, too.
Fleetwood Mac’s tour continues in Brisbane (tonight and Saturday), followed by Sydney and Melbourne.
Andrew McMillen is an award-winning journalist and author based in Brisbane. Since January 2018, he has worked as national music writer at The Australian. Previously, his feature writing has been published in The New York Times, Rolling Stone and GQ. He won the feature writing category at the Queensland Clarion Awards in 2017 for a story published in The Weekend Australian Magazine, and won the freelance journalism category at the Queensland Clarion Awards from 2015–2017. In 2014, UQP published his book Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs, a collection of stories that featured 14 prominent Australian musicians.
If their songs weren’t so strong, endurance may be Fleetwood Mac’s greatest legacy
Thirty minutes into Fleetwood Mac’s set at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre this week, Stevie Nicks admitted that she didn’t realise “Black Magic Woman” was a Fleetwood Mac song until well after she’d joined the band.
It’s an astounding admission. Sure, the song had been popularised by Santana’s 1970 cover, but to not know the extent of your new band’s catalogue – especially the hits – before joining is almost unthinkable.
But this says more about the strange and complex entity that is Fleetwood Mac than it does Nicks’ own knowledge gaps. This is a band whose history is confusing, whose music is wildly diverse, and who continue to keep us guessing.
Who would have thought that we’d still be seeing Fleetwood Mac in 2019? Moreover, who’d have thought that Neil Finn and Tom Petty collaborator Mike Campbell would join the band?
You don’t get a timeline like this without a strange history.
That’s why the prospect of seeing this wildly new incarnation of one of the history’s most celebrated rock bands doesn’t seem completely unfaithful. Consistency is not Fleetwood Mac’s strong-point. When their line-up has remained staid, their very existence has been precarious, reportedly fraught with infighting and ill-feelings.
If nothing else, you have to respect the band’s endurance. That they are still touring in any form feels almost miraculous.
But are they any good?
Having not witnessed Fleetwood Mac in the 1970s or 80s, I can’t faithfully suggest that they were perhaps once a better live prospect. But given the way that songs like “Say That You Love Me” and “Rhiannon” lose steam soon after their iconic intros, you’d want to hope so.
It’s not that they are bad, it’s just that Nicks and Christine McVie don’t have the vocal ranges of their younger selves. At 76 and 71 respectively, can we really expect them to?
The mix sounds thin and disjointed, miles away from the taut and compressed radio-ready production on their classic records. The atrocious acoustics of the embarrassing, cavernous venue in which they play offer no assistance in this regard either.
One aspect of this band that remains amazing is their musicianship. Mick Fleetwood’s drumming is thunderous, Christine McVie’s flawless keyboard work remains the unsung hero of the band, and it seems clear the whole operation would fall over without John McVie’s quiet contribution on bass.
Finn is predictably solid in taking Lindsey Buckingham’s spot out the front of the band, while Campbell’s effortless (and tasteful) shredding is enough to make you wish the Heartbreakers made one more trip to Australia before Tom Petty’s passing. It’s nice to see him with such a prominent gig though, and he more than makes the most of it.
Many of the songs shine; Stevie Nicks saves her best performance for “Gold Dust Woman” towards the set’s end, reminding us that it remains a special cut of psychedelic pop. The all-in sing-alongs of “Go Your Own Way,” “The Chain” and “Dreams” stand up as titanic forces of popular music. It feels significant to be in their very presence.
Fleetwood Mac remain a capable band, but to say that they are at the top of their game would be a bald-faced lie.
What is the point of Fleetwood Mac in 2019?
Legacy is a strange thing in music. Some bands go to extreme lengths to ensure theirs remains intact, knocking back lucrative opportunities so not to sully the good name and reputation of their group.
But what if your band’s legacy has always been a little bit crooked? What if the band was already something of a mess before its most popular line-up coalesced?
For some, Fleetwood Mac’s finest legacy ends with founding member Peter Green, whose bluesy vision on their first album is a million miles from the pop heights the band would soon hit.
For others, the thought of Fleetwood Mac without Lindsey Buckingham is unconscionable.
There is no perfect distillation of Fleetwood Mac. No epitome. They are an ever-changing beast whose endurance would be their greatest legacy if they didn’t have so many amazing songs.
With most members now well into their 70s, you wonder whether they’re doing the right thing by continuing to milk this band when their best performing years are behind them.
But I saw the faces of the eager fans who’ve gleefully let this band soundtrack their lives. I watched them dance, I heard them unabashedly scream along to those big hits.
They didn’t care about the past or the future of Fleetwood Mac, they were just thankful to see these songs come to life in front of them.
Maybe, after all these years, we need to acknowledge that Fleetwood Mac is more about its fans than its members.
No amount of over analysing will change the fact that this is a band that still matters to so many. If they can continue to spread their joy, who are we to question it?
Thursday 22 August – Brisbane Entertainment Centre Saturday 24 August – Brisbane Entertainment Centre Tuesday 27 August – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Thursday 29 August – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Monday 2 September – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Wednesday 4 September – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Saturday 7 September – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Monday 9 September – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Last night, Fleetwood Mac descended on Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. The band treated fans to a career-spanning setlist that proved that though 50 years into their career, the band are not one to rest on their laurels.
The show was Sydney’s first taste of Fleetwood Mac in their new form. Last year, longtime singer, guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham was “let go” from the band after they reached a boiling point over touring disagreements. Buckingham was replaced by New Zealand royalty, Neil Finn of Crowded House and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers guitarist, Mike Campbell.
Whilst it would be futile to deny that the absence of Buckingham was not felt; the new lineup revitalized the band in other ways. The addition of Finn on vocals has ushered in a new era for Fleetwood Mac, one that feels fresh and exciting. The Fleetwood Mac of today is not some hodge-podge operation tenuously thrown together in an attempt to ride the coattails of former glory. Rather, they are a band with a passion that feels tangible, that reinvented themselves out of necessity.
There is nothing mutton-dressed-as-lamb about Fleetwood Mac. Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks ooze the same impossibly cool, bewitching energy that they possessed in 1977. To be in the presence of these two magical women was nothing short of transformative. The pair worked their way through Christine’s romantic proclamations (“Little Lies,” “Everywhere,” “You Make Loving Fun”), and Nicks’s haunting musings (“Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” “Gold Dust Woman”) with chemistry that felt otherworldly.
Midway through the set, Mick Fleetwood delivered a drum solo that sent the arena into a trance-like state. Commanding the stage with his bellowing confidence and infinite mojo, he barked the orders, “unleash the hounds! unleash the hounds!. It was chaotic and hypnotizing.
Finn fans left satiated after the band delivered not one, but two cuts from his back-catalogue. The first came in the form of Split Enz track “I Got You”. A performance that Finn prefaced, revealing that when the track broke international waters, Stevie Nicks would watch it on MTV and weave her own harmonies.
The band’s cover of Crowded House anthem “Don’t Dream It’s Over” incited the most passionate sing-a-longs of the evening. To hear Nicks and Finn perform a track that is so deeply ingrained in the DNA of Australia was monumental.
Mac took a moment to honour the legacy of the great Tom Petty. Performing a heart-rending cover of his perennial song ‘Free Falling’, the track was backed with a slideshow of the late musician through the decades.
The concert was a welcoming haven for all walks of life. Teenagers who had ruthlessly pre-gamed with Passion Pop and old men in their Zimmer frames all united in song and dance to the beckoning call of “Go Your Own Way.”
Fleetwood Mac’s Australian tour is set to continue with a second show at Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday. Catch the band at one of their remaining tour dates below.
Fleetwood Mac 2019 Australian Tour
Thursday, 29th August
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Monday, 2nd September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Wednesday, 4th September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday, 7th September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Saturday, 9th September
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
S. B. Williams / Tone Deaf / Friday, August 16, 2019
‘It’s a love story really’: Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks on wooing Neil Finn; Fleetwood Mac brought ‘secret weapon’ Finn into the fold after an ‘incredibly sad, incredibly challenging’ time
Mick Fleetwood described Crowded House frontman Neil Finn as a “secret weapon” he held onto for two decades, before asking him to fly to Hawaii to audition for Fleetwood Mac.
In April 2018, it was announced that longstanding member Lindsey Buckingham would be leaving the band, to be replaced by Finn and Mike Campbell, the guitarist from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Ahead of the band’s Sydney stadium show on Thursday night, Fleetwood told a small industry audience the “magical” story of how he met Finn.
“It’s a long story — it’s over 20 years long. But it’s a lovely story. It’s a love story, really,” he said. “I’ve always, right from the beginning, loved his songwriting — especially one song that drove me over the wall — ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ — years and years ago.”
Fleetwood had been a Crowded House fan “right from the beginning”, he said, but the pair didn’t meet until 1999 at Concert for Linda: a benefit tribute to Linda McCartney held at Royal Albert Hall. Finn was playing with the Pretenders; Fleetwood Mac was on hiatus.
“I didn’t know him from Adam, but later on that night just happened to be sitting with him,” Fleetwood said. “And I wasn’t doing anything, so I said, ‘Would you like to form a band?’ Drummers say that when there’s nothing happening,” he laughed.
“We had a great night, and broke a couple of glasses — so to speak — and then wandered off. And it never went anywhere.”
Finn and Fleetwood didn’t meet again until “I don’t know, 15 years later”, at the New Zealand Music awards in Auckland. “Going down the corridor I see him, and he said, ‘Do you remember me?’, and I said, ‘Of course I do! I’m your superfan!’. We went to dinner, and ever since then have remained and are incredibly close friends.”
Fleetwood told Finn that if he ever needed a drummer, “just let me know” — so when Finn and his son Liam began planning their collaborative 2018 album Lightsleeper, Finn cashed in the offer: “He said, ‘Are you serious?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely’.”
Fleetwood and his partner Chelsea rented a house in Auckland for six weeks. “We became a very, very close family [with the Finns] and helped out with their family album, which was totally cool. And that was that. And then this happened,” he said, referring to the departure of Buckingham.
The decision to hire Mike Campbell came easy — “both Mike and Tom [Petty] were very close to Stevie [Nicks]” — but finding a vocalist was harder. “We went through some suggestions — some of them were great, but they just weren’t right,” said Fleetwood, who admitted it nearly ended with the band saying “we can’t find anyone”.
“But then to be really truthful, I had my secret weapon … I said, ‘I would like to suggest that Neil Finn flies to Hawaii’, where we all were doing this.”
When he called Finn, he told him, “It’s not really an audition” — but it sort of was. Finn — who was at a soundcheck at the time — said “let me just take a breath … I’ll phone you tomorrow.” Fleetwood thought the jig was up.
“I thought, well, it was worth a try. But he phoned back and said, ‘Look. I’m not worried about all this thing about is it an audition. Who wouldn’t want to come — whether they succeed or not — and just play with Fleetwood Mac?'”
“It’s not a shaggy dog story,” Fleetwood said. “It is huge. And it’s magical. This funny relationship that I had with Neil, neither of us knowing why it was that we had passed in the dark so many times. And now we know.”
The current lineup is the 19th iteration of Fleetwood Mac, each of which Fleetwood described as “incredibly different musical episodes in this Shakespearean play we blundered into”.
Fleetwood — the only remaining founding member — didn’t reveal what was at the heart of the split with Buckingham, but he described it as “incredibly sad, and incredibly challenging. And incredibly — just — nowhere else to go.
“I’ve said it before: we were not happy. And that was really the crux of all the details that don’t need to be known,” he said.
“We decided as a band, are we continuing or not? … And I’m doing what I always do, which is, you know, keep the band together.
“Sometimes I look back wondering whether I’ve done the right thing. I think we did.”
Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks is also a longtime fan of Finn’s. Back in the 1980s she would make up her own harmonies to “Don’t Dream It’s Over” when it was played on MTV.
“A song like that comes around once in a lifetime,” she told the crowd from the stage on Thursday. “If you have one of those songs you have to sing it all the time, and you truly forget how good it is. So I have to remind him — and then I have to follow it up.”
The pair performed “Don’t Dream” together, and followed it up with “Landslide.
* Fleetwood Mac’s Australian tour continues through August and September, before the band head to New Zealand on September 14
Credit: Composite: Paul McMillan/Samir Hussein/Paul Miller/Getty/AAP
Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, and new Fleetwood Mac band member Neil Finn.
Credit: Photograph: Duncan Barnes
Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Neil Finn performing on the Australian leg of Fleetwood Mac’s 2019 tour.
Steph Harmon / The Guardian (UK) / Friday, August 16, 2019
The soundtrack of my youth was eclectic. Seattle grunge bands. Alan Parsons Project. Chemical Brothers. Tchaikovsky. Spice Girls. The Doors. Radiohead.
But it was my dad who introduced and captivated my ears with the signature sounds of the 60s and 70s. The Beatles. Pink Floyd. America. Simon and Garfunkel. And of course Fleetwood Mac.
It was Perth in the 80s. Dad would hit the road in our orange Datsun 180B, cassette tape playing, as we set off on the de rigueur summer holiday down south.
I sat squished between my siblings. A towel splayed across the back seat, protecting the backs of our legs from third degree burns threatening to percolate from the vinyl seats on a scorcher.
A lot has changed over the decades, including for the legendary Fleetwood Mac who kicked off the Australian leg of their tour at RAC Arena on Friday night.
The Grammy award-winning band has sustained more melodrama than an episode of The Bachelor over the past 52 years.
Most recently the unceremonious dumping of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham who reportedly reignited his feud with ex-lover Stevie Nicks on the eve of their world tour.
Enter the new line-up of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Nicks, and Christine McVie, along with newcomers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and adopted Aussie Neil Finn of Crowded House fame.
Fleetwood Mac kicked off their Perth gig with “The Chain” released on their critically acclaimed, best-selling album Rumours. It was followed by hits “Little Lies” and “Dreams” before Finn took the lead vocals on “Second Hand News.”
Say You Love Me was followed up with Black Magic Woman. It seemed apt with Nicks dressed head-to-toe in black, long blonde locks flowing over a shawl, working the stage like a mythical occult leader.
“Everywhere” was followed by the Finn-fronted Spit Enz hit, “I Got You.”
Finn appears a left-field choice. An unlikely coupling, but a match made in heaven. Like a great Kiwi pinot with a hunk of nutty gruyere.
Mike Fleetwood said the group has always been about an amazing collection of songs performed with a unique blend of talents. And the chemistry with Campbell and Finn really works, It’s something new, yet it’s got the unmistakable Mac sound.
“Rhiannon” drew huge cheers from the crowd, but “World Turning” didn’t appear to be a fan favourite with a mini exodus for the bar.
The nostalgic swaying started when “Gypsy” played and was followed by “Oh Well” recorded by the band in 1969.
With Fleetwood Mac 63 shows into their world tour the fatigue was at times palpable notably from Christine McVie and Nicks. But then these seasoned rockers are no spring chickens with most of the band firmly in septuagenarian territory.
With a little help from Nicks, Finn dug out the Crowded House anthem “Don’t Dream It’s Over” prompting a sea of mobiles to come out in a flickering tribute to one of our nation’s favourite songs. Nicks told the crowd that a “magnificent” song like this comes along once in a million years.
While “Go Your Own Way” is rapidly becoming a licensing tragedy courtesy of an overplayed car commercial, the rousing rendition delivered a standing ovation.
The night took a sombre turn as a slideshow of the late Tom Petty played on the screens while the band played “Free Fallin’.”
The night was nearly over but it couldn’t end without an encore. It was time for “Don’t Stop.”
As the haunting guitar-based instrumental “Albatross” filled the Arena, concertgoers took their cue and flocked to the exits. A wave of nostalgia washed over me and I couldn’t help wishfully thinking it seemed only natural that Crowded House should reunite for a tour. It’s been too long.
Fleetwood Mac will perform their second Perth show tonight, Sunday, August 11.
Sarah Brookes / Western Suburbs Weekly / Sunday, August 11, 2019
If Lindsey Buckingham must be replaced, best to do it with the likes of Neil Finn and Mike Campbell. In the legendary band’s latest incarnation, the magic of the music lives on
**** (4 out of 5 stars)
Fleetwood Mac at RAC Arena, August 2019
RAC Arena, Perth
The tracklist featured highlights from the band’s long career – with nods to Crowded House and the Heartbreakers too. Photograph: Duncan Barnes
Fleetwood Mac are a lore unto themselves. While the Rumours-era line-up holds the romance (mostly broken) for the majority of its fandom, it is the 11th line-up in a total of 19. This is a band who, aside from the rock-solid rhythm section footing of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, has weathered more life and loss than most. Anyone else, no matter how famous or beloved, has come and gone … some returning, and then going again.
So despite the uproar that followed the 2018 announcement that Lindsey Buckingham had been let go, it was, in the context of history, less of an anomaly and more a case of showbusiness-as-usual. The regard held for new members Neil Finn and Mike Campbell is clear and present all evening on the opening night of the band’s Australian tour – from the sentiments offered from the stage by Fleetwood, vocalist Stevie Nicks and vocalist/pianist Christine McVie, to the time given to showcase the talent of the new breed.
Mick Fleetwood walks out onstage first to a legion of cheers, promptly applauding the crowd before his bass drum brings in “The Chain” and his bandmates take the stage. It’s spine-tingling from the get-go; Stevie Nicks is reassuringly draped in black with sleeves, long lace, braids and beads on her microphone stand and arms, while John McVie’s classic bass intro to the song’s outro is just well, classic. Notably, Neil Finn on guitar/vocals is immediately a strong presence as is former Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, who owns the lead break.
“Welcome Perth. We’ve done 62 shows in the US and Europe and this is show 63,” Nicks says by way of greeting. The singing icon sounds worryingly hoarse, but her voice warms to the occasion within a few songs.
Stevie Nicks and Neil Finn Crowded House’s Neil Finn looks ‘like a kid who cannot believe his luck’. Photograph: Duncan Barnes
Christine McVie’s “Little Lies” raises spirits and hands, and “Dreams” is suitably dreamy: Nicks’ voice folds warmly into it, her hands exuberantly working a tambourine. A huge chandelier hangs from above, its grandeur complemented by video screens switching from noir-framed mansion staircases to sunny Californian coastlines in washed-out ‘70s colour.
Fleetwood Mac, as such, are augmented by keyboardist Ricky Peterson, guitarist Neale Heywood, percussionist Taku Hirano and backing vocalists Marilyn Martin and Sharon Celani, though everyone is working up a storm onstage. Second Hand News finds Finn on lead vocal, turning slightly sideways to face Nicks as they sing, similar to the time-honoured manner she did with Buckingham.
“Say You Love Me” brings the smiles, but when Nicks introduces Black Magic Woman claiming that she initially thought it was by another big band (that’s Santana, by the way), she takes band-founder Peter Green’s vocal and sings it “from the eyes of a woman and here she comes now”. The song becomes an extended blues jam, all personnel shining, all giving each other perfect space.
“Okay now for a complete contrast,” says Christine McVie, as the pop feel of “Everywhere” is followed by the Finn-fronted Split Enz hit, I Got You. The contrast continues with “Rhiannon” immediately bringing the crowd to its feet. There’s tingles aplenty as the older voice gives new weight to this dark, Welsh tale and Nicks receives absolute applause for her signature song.
Live set mainstay, “World Turning,” is led vocally by Finn and McVie but remains Fleetwood’s showcase, from the video montage of the man through the years to his wild, lively call-and-response drum solo, which features master percussionist Hirano. He soon comes to the front of the stage armed with his beloved African talking drum, shouting joy at the crowd before the band closes the song, and Fleetwood delivers some loving band introductions, notably for Campbell and Finn, the latter’s name almost bringing down the roof. McVie is described as “the songbird”, Nicks the “eternal romantic” and lastly, bassist John McVie as being “always on my right-hand-side, no doubt the backbone of Fleetwood Mac”.
Nicks’ eternal romance is showcased in “Gypsy” and “Landslide,” though those two songs are split by Campbell fronting a mean and dirty run through Peter’s Green’s “Oh Well”: all riffage and world-weary with angry-young-man attitude.
From rock to jewel, Fleetwood gives a heartfelt introduction to Finn’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over”. The Crowded House staple is delivered with expected tender gusto from Finn, but as Nicks takes the lead on the final verse it steps into a previously unexpected dimension. “A song like that comes along once on a million years,” she says at the end. “It’s magnificent.”
In 1982, “Hold Me” – from the band’s album Mirage – was quite the hit single, but over the years seems largely forgotten in the haze of decades of multi-platinum success. Tonight it returns, a compelling soft-rocker that allows each member to shine. It’s followed by Christine McVie’s Rumours-era track “You Make Loving Fun,” about the man she left John McVie for in 1977. One wonders what he makes of it all, playing this irresistibly giddy love song every night on tour.
From Rumours’ happiest moment to perhaps its most ominous, “Gold Dust Woman” find Nicks in a golden shawl, delivering a trademark dark Hollywood Hills evocation. It’s a bravura performance that inspires a fair few arms-undulating “Stevies” in the audience, too.
“Go Your Own Way” provides a majestic and rousing end to the main set, with Finn – having completed a winning lead vocal – ending the song on the drum riser, eye-to-eye with Fleetwood, looking for all the world like a kid who cannot believe his luck.
Campbell, meanwhile, continues to bring a raw swagger to the lead breaks. With a slideshow of the late Tom Petty through the decades showing on the screens, the man’s sterling single “Free Falling” features Nicks on lead vocals. The whole thing is just poignancy personified, and there’s eyes out there just bursting to water.
“Yesterday’s gone,” as the final song for the night, “Don’t Stop,” accurately reminds us. Buckingham’s gone too, and while his name is not uttered from the stage, his mark is still there. If an icon must be replaced, best do it with those who have excelled in their own 40-plus year careers. This is yet another worthy incarnation of the band called Fleetwood Mac, and as the members – older and newer – sauntered offstage it was a rather emotional Fleetwood who farewelled the full-house with the words, “be kind to one another. We love you so much”.
The saga that continues to be Fleetwood Mac suggests that kindness may have taken a backseat on occasion, as it does for us all. However as the Peter Green-penned instrumental Albatross echoes across the arena upon exit, it’s another reminder that what truly remains is the music: from all of those Fleetwood Mac members, and for all of us.
Fleetwood Mac’s Australian tour continues through August and September, before the band head to New Zealand on September 14
Bob Gordon / The Guardian (Australia) / Friday, August 9, 2019
Fleetwood McDonalds workers meet Fleetwood Mac after Stevie Nicks campaign goes viral
Crew members at a McDonalds in Fleetwood have met Fleetwood Mac, after thousands of Facebook users joined a campaign calling for singer Stevie Nicks to work a shift at their restaurant.
The event on Facebook by ‘Be Reet’ called upon the legendary singer to head to the Lancashire branch of the fast food chain, which is almost the namesake of her iconic band.
While the petition prompted 20,000 signatures, it was the band who instead invited the McDonalds workers to attend their sold out show at Wembley Stadium last night (June 18).
A photo taken backstage (see above) shows the crew hanging out with the likes of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Christine McVie and the rest of the band, before being given the chance to watch them from the side of the stage.
“It was a fantastic evening seeing Fleetwood Mac live and to have the opportunity to share the experience with some of the Fleetwood team,” Nigel Dunnington, the franchisee of Fleetwood McDonald’. “I’m still amazed the band got in touch – we’re lucky our restaurant shares a name with such an iconic band.
“Going down to the concert has been an incredible way to recognise some of our amazing employees. And, if Fleetwood Mac ever find themselves in the Fleetwood area, we’d love to return the favour and invite them back.”
Chelsea, a crew member at the restaurant, added: “I can’t believe we met Fleetwood Mac before they performed tonight. We listen to their songs all the time but nothing beats seeing them live – it’s been incredible!”
“After ‘Fleetwood Macs’ met Fleetwood Mac, the restaurant team left the stage wings and enjoyed a night of live entertainment. Needless to say, they were lovin’ it.”
Meanwhile, it was recently rumoured that Fleetwood Mac could be set to headline Glastonbury 2020.
As the backbone of rock legends Fleetwood Mac for more than 50 years, Mick Fleetwood has enjoyed more debauchery, hard living than just about anyone else.
Now 71, he became renowned as one of the wildest men in music, and in an exclusive interview during Fleetwood Mac’s world tour he even confirms a long-standing tale about a seven-mile line of cocaine.
Chatting in a dressing room, where his only indulgence is a glass of red wine, drummer Mick says: “We could sit here and I go into some war story about snorting seven miles of cocaine.
“I guess we figured we did X amount a day, and then some goofball got out a calculator and came up with that seven miles figure and said, ‘Isn’t that funny?’ And it sort of is. But not in the context of where I want to end up.
“There was never a conscious decision on my part to stop that lifestyle. I think it naturally just drifted away.
“I speak for myself, although Stevie (Nicks) has been outspoken about some of the choices she made too.
“It came to an end, thankfully. Because, God forbid, it could easily have ended the really bad way — for sure, that could have happened. In some ways I’m happy I got through it and didn’t bite the big bullet. But I just had a profound awareness and a realisation that enough is enough.”
Larger than life, both in personality and physically, 6ft 5in Mick laughs as he recalls the tale about coke — known as gak — that was first made by a former sound engineer. But he adds: “I’m conscious that I want to speak appropriately about this. Because the romance of those war stories can adulate something which is not a good idea.
“The truth is the truth. But in many ways we shared too much information. Looking back, I can see an element of responsibility which I now regret not seeing before.”
The band’s world tour arrived in London last night, as they performed to a capacity 90,000 crowd at Wembley Stadium, with a second date tomorrow before they head to Australia, having already crossed much of North America.
The gigs pack in decades of hits and have received rave reviews for a band that is renowned for its ability to reinvent itself after a string of line-up changes sparked by internal feuding.
But as Mick Fleetwood admits, the acrimonious exit of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham 18 months ago after he refused to go on tour could have marked the end of one of rock’s great names. Instead he was replaced by two newcomers — Neil Finn of Crowded House and guitar virtuoso Mike Campbell.
I don’t think there will be a point where the band’s former members all end up back in a good place together.
Mick says: “Lindsey’s departure was traumatic and a major change for the band, but we decided we wanted to carry on. We made the decision together. Of course, we could have just stopped and it probably would have been an easy point to stop, but we definitely didn’t want to.
“Lindsey left fairly acrimoniously and we weren’t getting on well any more, and yes, it is a happier ship to be on. We have two new people in the band who have been hugely accepted and welcomed, but in many ways it does amaze me that we are still here all these years later, after all of the ups and downs.
“Me and John (McVie) sometimes talk about it — we look around and say, ‘How did that all happen?’”
Mick confirms to me bluntly that he has not spoken to Lindsey since their bust-up, and adds: “I don’t think there will be a point where the band’s former members all end up back in a good place together.
“If you’d asked me that years ago I would have said so, being the old dreamer that I tend to be.
“But now I just accept things how they are, and try to be civil and open. All of these lovely people have put their hearts and souls into Fleetwood Mac, and the franchise should absolutely honour those people in every way, and it does.
“The music comes back to haunt everyone afterwards anyway — and usually that wins out in the end.”
He continues: “There’s no doubt those were hard-lived days. For a while within Fleetwood Mac there were romances and that lifestyle you mention and the other stuff got forgotten — and we really asked for that trouble.
“We were too open about who we were and what we were doing — probably very naïve.
“All anyone ever asked about was ‘Who is sleeping with who?’ or ‘Who is angry with who?’ And you start to feel it’s a shame.
“Now they intelligently talk about what we did musically. That’s import- ant to us. We never wanted to make fools of ourselves too many times.”
Today Mick accepts the band will not last for ever and says: “We’ve had a hell of a ride and we continue to, it’s amazing, really. We know that there’s an end in sight.
“People ask, ‘When are you going to hang it up?’ I’m asked, ‘Why are you still doing this? Need the money?’
“But imagine asking Paul McCartney or Elton John, the Rolling Stones — hugely iconic people, and you know they don’t need the money. It’s simply a case of that’s what they do.
“And this is simply what we do. It’s a huge privilege — and it isn’t really any more complicated than that.”
Rough translation by Google Translate and DeepL Translator
At their only German concert, the mega-band of the Seventies and Eighties plays many hits through 52 years of band history.
Berlin — Both arms raised in greeting, Mick Fleetwood flashed a victory sign. A good omen. And in fact, Fleetwood Mac are cashing it in. Already by the second song “Little Lies,” the sold-out Waldbühne is on its feet. The smartphones ready to record the gig for eternity, the audience sing and dance along.
Despite the onset of rain, from which many a spectator would flee to the home sofa, the mood is dazzling in Berlin’s most beautiful open-air arena. No wonder. At their only German concert, Fleetwood Mac play their hits, like “Rhiannon,” through 52 years of band history.
With Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie, the original lineup of Rumours, the legendary 1977 album that sold more than 40 million copies, is on the stage. But missing is core guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham. After 43 years together, the band split up from internal quarrels in 2018.
New to Buckingham’s line-up is Mike Campbell. He earned his merits as guitarist of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. He is listed as one of the world’s Top 100 on the silver six strings by Rolling Stone magazine. The second replacement is bassist Neil Finn. The New Zealander became known as the singer and songwriter of the bands Split Enz and Crowded House. He takes over the guitar as well as the vocals of Buckingham. Just like Campbell with virtuoso mastery.
Fleetwood Mac celebrated at the Berlin Waldbühne
By the way, changing musicians is nothing new for Fleetwood Mac. Originally founded in 1967 by guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie as a purely British blues band, the latter two have since been the only constant members of the band. In the Seventies, Fleetwood Mac turned to rock. New members were singer Christine McVie, briefly married to bassist John, and Lindsey Buckingham, who brought his girlfriend Stevie Nicks. Like Christine McVie, a sensational songwriter with her distinctive mezzo, she became the front woman of the band.
It is also the four long-time band members who are met with the greatest sympathy by the audience, now all over seventy, musically still as brilliant and fresh as ever. The Waldbühne celebrates the mega-band of the Seventies and Eighties. With around 22,000 spectators, all age groups are represented. And everyone gets their money’s worth.
When the musicians aren’t there, all sorts of kitschy motifs to the songs flicker on the LED screens. For example, horses galloping wildly through the water or a pink moon suitable for the romantic-melancholic tone of the poems of Stevie Nicks. She refines classics like “Dreams” and the soulful ballad “Landslide” with her wonderfully smoky voice. But also “Black Magic Woman.” The song written by Peter Green was a worldwide success in Santana’s version. Even the hot duet between Nicks and Campbell’s guitar could easily storm the charts.
Of course, there’s also one of Mick Fleetwood’s rich, epic drum solos. The rough, rocky compositions also provide variety. With multi-faceted arrangements, catchy melodies and lush harmonies, interwoven to a powerful sound, the band brings the open-air arena to a boil on this rather cool evening.
At the end there are cheers, whistles and deserved applause for a phenomenal concert.
Ulrike Borowczyk / Berliner Morgenpost / June 6, 2019
Fleetwood Mac rocken die Waldbühne trotz Regens
Beim einzigen Deutschlandkonzert spielt sich die Mega-Band der Siebziger und Achtziger mit vielen Hits durch 52 Jahre Bandgeschichte.
Berlin. Beide Arme zur Begrüßung hochgereckt, ist Mick Fleetwood ein fleischgewordenes Victory-Zeichen. Ein gutes Omen. Und tatsächlich lösen Fleetwood Mac es ein. Schon beim zweiten Song „Little Lies“ steht die ausverkaufte Waldbühne Kopf. Die Smartphones im Anschlag, um den Gig für die Ewigkeit aufzuzeichnen, singen und tanzen die Zuschauer mit.
Trotz des einsetzenden Regens, vor dem mancher Zuschauer aufs heimisches Sofa flieht, ist die Stimmung blendend in Berlins schönster Open-Air-Arena. Kein Wunder. Fleetwood Mac spielen sich beim einzigen Deutschlandkonzert mit ihren Hits durch 52 Jahre Bandgeschichte, wie „Rhiannon“.
Mit Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks und Christine McVie steht die Originalbesetzung von „Rumours” auf der Bühne. Dem legendären Album aus dem Jahr 1977, das sich über 40 Millionen Mal verkaufte. Allerdings fehlt Stamm-Gitarrist und Songwriter Lindsey Buckingham. Nach 43 gemeinsamen Jahren trennte man sich nach bandinternen Querelen 2018.
An Buckinghams Stelle neu im Line-up ist Mike Campbell. Seine Meriten erlangte er als Gitarrist von Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Vom Fachblatt Rolling Stone wird er als einer der 100 Weltbesten auf den silbernen sechs Saiten gelistet. Die zweite Neubesetzung ist Bassist Neil Finn. Der Neuseeländer wurde als Sänger und Songwriter der Bands Spit Enz und Crowded House bekannt. Er übernimmt neben der Gitarre auch den Gesangspart von Buckingham. Genau wie Campbell mit virtuoser Könnerschaft.
Fleetwood Mac von der Berliner Waldbühne gefeiert
Wechselnde Musiker sind übrigens nichts neues bei Fleetwood Mac. 1967 ursprünglich von Gitarrist Peter Green, Drummer Mick Fleetwood und Bassist John McVie mal als rein britische Bluesband gegründet. Die beiden Letzteren sind seither die einzige konstanten Mitglieder der Band. In den Siebzigern wandte sich Fleetwood Mac dem Rock zu. Neue Mitglieder waren Sängerin Christine McVie, zeitweise mit Bassist John verheiratet, sowie Lindsey Buckingham, der seine Freundin Stevie Nicks mitbrachte. Wie Christine McVie eine sensationelle Songwriterin. Mit ihrem markanten Mezzo avancierte sie zur Frontfrau der Band.
Es sind denn auch die vier langjährigen Bandmitglieder, denen die größte Sympathie der Zuschauer entgegen schlägt. Mittlerweile alle über siebzig. Musikalisch immer noch so brillant und frisch wie eh und je. Die Waldbühne feiert die Mega-Band der Siebziger und Achtziger. Bei denn rund 22.000 Zuschauern sind alle Altersklassen vertreten. Und alle kommen auf ihre Kosten.
Wenn nicht gerade die Musiker zu sehen sind, flimmern allerlei kitschige Motive zu den Songs über die LED-Screens. Etwa von wild durchs Wasser galoppierenden Pferden oder ein rosaroter Mond. Passend zu den romantisch-melancholischen Tondichtungen von Stevie Nicks. Sie veredelt mit ihrer wunderbar rauchigen Stimme Klassiker wie „Dreams” und die gefühlige Ballade „Landslide”. Aber auch „Black Magic Woman“. Der von Peter Green geschriebene Song war in der Version von Santana ein Welterfolg. Auch das heiße Duett zwischen Nicks und Campbells Gitarre könnte glatt die Charts stürmen.
Selbstredend gibt es auch eines der satten, epischen Schlagzeug-Soli von Mick Fleetwood. Für Abwechslung sorgen zudem die rauen, rockigen Kompositionen. Mit facettenreichen Arrangements, eingängigen Melodien und üppigen Harmonien, verwoben zu einem kraftvollen Sound. Die Band bringt damit die Freiluft-Arena an diesem eher kühlen Abend ein ums andere Mal zum Kochen.
Zum Schluss folgen Jubel, Pfiffe und verdienter Applaus für ein phänomenales Konzert.
Ulrike Borowczyk / Berliner Morgenpost / June 6, 2019
Despite the weather forecast of thunderstorms, the concert went on as scheduled as concert goers wrapped up in raincoats and ponchos for protection. Whether the weather or a curfew had any part in the apparent set list omissions (“Gold Dust Woman” “All Over Again”) is unclear. But judging from social media reactions, fans still had a great time.
Backstage with Michael Campbell, Sharon Celani and Marilyn Martin
Live Nation European Tour Description
Legendary, GRAMMY-award winning band Fleetwood Mac announce a European tour, set to kick off in June with three exclusive performances currently announced in London, Dublin and Berlin. Produced by Live Nation, the tour will feature the newly announced line-up of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Stevie Nicks, and Christine McVie along with newcomers Mike Campbell and Neil Finn.
Watch Fleetwood Mac’s September 21st performance of “Don’t Stop” at the iHeartRADIO Festival in Las Vegas. The performance was rebroadcast on the CW Network on Monday, October 8th. The clip includes host Ryan Seacrest’s pre-show interview with Stevie Nicks.
Live Review: Fleetwood Mac Revisit History and Try to Move On at Chicago’s United Center (10/6)
Neil Finn and Mike Campbell work hard to replace the magic of Lindsey Buckingham
Return of the Mac? Earlier this year, longtime singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter Lindsey Buckingham was fired from Fleetwood Mac — or rather “let go,” if we want to be cordial. “Words like ‘fired’ are ugly references as far as I’m concerned,” drummer Mick Fleetwood told Rolling Stone of the departure. “Not to hedge around, but we arrived at the impasse of hitting a brick wall.”
In the same interview, singer, songwriter, and tambourine maestro Stevie Nicks cleared things up, saying: “We were supposed to go into rehearsal in June and he wanted to put it off until November . That’s a long time. I just did 70 shows [on a solo tour]. As soon as I finish one thing, I dive back into another. Why would we stop? We don’t want to stop playing music. We don’t have anything else to do. This is what we do.”
And so, the official story is that Buckingham wanted to chill, they wanted to go, but then you hear Buckingham’s side of the story: “I think what you would say is that there were factions within the band that had lost their perspective. The point is that they’d lost their perspective. What that did was to harm – and this is the only thing I’m really sad about, the rest of it becomes an opportunity – it harmed the 43-year legacy that we had worked so hard to build, and that legacy was really about rising above difficulties in order to fulfill one’s higher truth and one’s higher destiny.”
In other words, nothing has changed over the last 40 years with these folks.
It Takes Two: Well, that’s not exactly true. Some things have changed, particularly the addition of Crowded House frontman Neil Finn and former Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, who both get the rewarding journey of trying to make everyone forget about Buckingham. Not surprisingly, the rest of the band turned a cold shoulder on their old friend, partner, and lover, leaning curiously heavy on their salad days, as if to say, “Look, this band’s always been more than Lindsey,” which, look, they’re not wrong, but it also seems a tad convenient.
But convenience has been king in this situation for the band, as Fleetwood cheekily told Billboard: “It’s ironic that we have a 50-year package coming out with all the old blues stuff with Peter Green, all the incarnations of Fleetwood Mac, which was not of course planned. But that’s what we’re feeling, especially myself and [bassist] John [McVie], having been in Fleetwood Mac for 55 years. So it’s exciting, totally challenging in the whole creative part of it, and we’re really loving it.” It’s a nice coincidence that works wonders for the outfit right now.
Still, the addition of Finn and Campbell only stresses the impossibility of replacing Buckingham, seeing how it took two musicians to swap out one. Granted, Finn gets the job done (especially on the harmonies for hits like “The Chain” or “Go Your Own Way”), and you even get to hear him duet his band’s biggest hit (“Don’t Dream It’s Over”) with Nicks, but it’s impossible to buy any of the band’s theatricality, which has always been one of their on-stage trademarks. Even when they were phoning it in, you at least knew there was a history there.
Perhaps that’s why Campbell is the easiest new face to consider. Given his ties with the band, the legendary Heartbreaker actually makes sense, and there’s at least some narrative to be felt — even outside of the Mac. After all, here’s a guy who’s still reeling from the tragic passing of his brother-in-arms Tom Petty, and so, this gig actually winds up being the perfect opportunity for him to grieve the loss. Seeing him up there, bouncing around and adding a curveball to Buckingham’s signature riffs and scales was admittedly quite an enigmatic experience.
Though, when it came time to actually pay homage to Petty, the band more or less fumbled. Instead of covering “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” or “Insider” or “I Will Run To You” or any of the multiple Petty-Campbell-Nicks options out there, they stuck to the predictably simple sing-a-long of “Free Fallin’”. Sure, it was “nice” to hear Nicks take the reins on the legendary FM hit, but c’mon, this was a chance to dig deep and do something really special. Instead, it all felt so lazy, and it didn’t help that Getty-stamped photos were flashing in the background throughout the cover.
The True Mac Daddy: Nicks sounds straight off the vinyl. Fleetwood can bang a drum like he’s in his thirties. John McVie is still John McVie. Hell, we’ll even give a round of applause to Finn for giving the second-best Buckingham impersonation after Bill Hader. But, the true Mac Daddy of the night was Christine McVie. The band’s oft-forgotten vocalist and keyboardist has only been back with the gang for a little over four years, after retiring from the stage in 1998, and she proves on this tour why her loss is paramount.
Not only does she lead the group’s more accentuated hits — ahem, “Everywhere” and “Little Lies” — but she also oozes with character, opting to go off-script in ways that felt incredibly natural and jamming out like the biggest fan in the room. She also hardly took a break like, say, Nicks, who would vanish from time to time. (That’s no dig on Nicks; this writer would have passed out 15 minutes into the show.) No, McVie’s a trooper from beginning to end, and blame it on Buckingham’s absence, but her presence is far more defined on this go-around.
So much so that the entire set ends with an unlikely duet between McVie and Nicks on “All Over Again”, a deep cut off of 1995’s Time, the first album at the time not to feature Nicks since 1974’s Heroes Are Hard to Find. It’s a bold move by the band, given that it’s hardly an epic closer or anything, but it’s a smart move. Seeing the two of them setting aside their differences and sharing the spotlight felt like a proper moment to end on. If anything, it feels emblematic of a time when women have never been more united.
It was beautiful.
That One Song: It’s a tossup between “Little Lies” and “Rhiannon”. The former is one of those bops you tend to forget, only to hear again and say, “Oh my god, I love this fucking song,” while the latter is a legend in its own right. When Nicks began singing the mesmerizing ballad, which dates all the way back to 1975, she had the support of every single soul in the audience. Those who were leaving to get beer or hit the john quickly ran back to their seats. Those who were waiting to hear it all night bled their lungs out. Those who have loved this band forever and ever were in tears. It’s the song and always will be the song, and as long as Nicks is around, it’ll always be the song of the Mac.
Lindsey, Can You Ever Forgive Them?
Second Hand News (Neil Finn on lead vocals)
Say You Love Me
Black Magic Woman (Stevie Nicks on lead vocals)
I Got You (Split Enz cover)
Tell Me All the Things You Do (Neil Finn lead vocals)
World Turning (with drum interlude by Mick Fleetwood)
Hypnotized (Neil Finn lead vocals)
Oh Well (Mike Campbell on lead vocals)
Don’t Dream It’s Over (Crowded House cover) (Neil Finn & Stevie Nicks on lead vocals)
Isn’t It Midnight
You Make Loving Fun
Gold Dust Woman
Go Your Own Way Encore:
Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty cover) (Stevie Nicks on lead vocals)
All Over Again
Michael Roffmanon / Consequence of Sound / October 08, 2018
United Center, Chicago
Saturday, October 6, 2018
Every instance when the current members of Fleetwood Mac chanted “chains keep us together” at the United Center on only the second night of a North American tour that stretches well into 2019, it seemed to be much more than a chance for the audience to sing-a-long to what’s become its standard opener “The Chain,” but rather an internal commitment that no matter the degree of drama transpires, at least some version of the band will always exist. For those who missed the latest soap opera episode of what could easily be dubbed “As Fleetwood Mac’s World Turns,” the core four of drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, vocalist/keyboardist Christine McVie and singer Stevie Nicks are continuing for the second time without Lindsey Buckingham, who’s been let go this round (and touring solo through the Athenaeum Theatre on October 17), but once again replaced by two players.
Chances are even those who weren’t keeping up with the saga could instantly recognize the fresh faces, Neil Finn (of Crowded House and Split Enz fame) and Mike Campbell (from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), who dived head first into the Fleetwood Mac fold, despite Buckingham’s integral contributions being noticeably absent and missed. Then again, this is an act that’s been through numerous editions and incarnations (including most recently Christine McVie’s temporary retirement with merely Nicks and Buckingham out front in the 2000s), so it really wasn’t that far of a stretch to accept, at least as far as the venue’s sold out status was concerned.
Shaking up the line-up was accompanied by the unexpected inclusion of several rarities in between the main classics for well over two hours, which between all the players collectively and individually, meant there were tons of choices. “Little Lies,” “Dreams,” “Say You Love Me,” “Everywhere” and “Rhiannon” were just a handful of the Stevie and Christine notables that came across as sweet as ever, bathed in a wall of harmonies that may have sounded a bit different than the original records given the adjusted configuration, but were nonetheless textbook Fleetwood Mac.
The new recruits also had many chances to make the acquaintance of longtime fans in this format, with Finn excelling on Split Enz’s “I Got You,” Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over” in an enchanting duet with Nicks, plus the set list shockers “Tell Me All The Things You Do” and “Hypnotized” representing Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch’s contributions long before Fleetwood Mac made a commercial splash. Campbell gave listeners from the days of Peter Green and “Black Magic Woman” (resurrected earlier by Nicks) another bluesy surprise with the snarling “Oh Well,” while a tribute to his pal and former employer Tom Petty via “Free Fallin’” with Stevie singing earned a hefty appraisal.
Even with the front line’s massive appeal on their own, Fleetwood Mac mega-hits such as “Landslide,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop” called to mind exactly how valuable the group’s extensive songbook has become well beyond its main run throughout 1970s and ‘80s, alongside the forgotten ‘90s cut “All Over Again” popping up unexpectedly as the debut duet between the ladies to neatly tie up the night’s theme. Now in operation for more than 50 years, it’s probably safe to say that no matter what goes down between personnel or who winds up making the final roster during any given season, these Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will likely “never break the chain” as they “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.”
Andy Argyrakis / Illinois Entertainer / October 8, 2018
The newly rebooted Fleetwood Mac, with new members Neil Finn and Michael Campbell, kicked off its “50 Years” tour on Wednesday night at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, performing a diverse set list, which drew from the band’s vast 50-year catalog.
It was the band’s first show of the tour without guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who was dismissed from Fleetwood Mac in February. Addressing that elephant in the room, the band steered clear of most of Buckingham’s songs, but honored his indelible contributions to Fleetwood Mac’s enduring history with his first band composition “Monday Morning” from 1975’s self-titled “white album” and his most famous one “Go Your Own Way,” from Grammy’s 1977 Album of the Year, the almighty Rumours.
The group kept perennial favorites in the set — “Dreams,” “Rhiannon,” Say You Love Me,” among many others. But they occasionally delved deep into their back-catalog, pulling tracks from 1973’s Mystery to Me (Bob Welch’s mysterious “Hypnotized”), 1979’s Tusk (Stevie Nicks’ remorseful “Storms), and 1987’s Tango in the Night (the obscure UK single “Isn’t It Midnight”). The message was clear: Fleetwood Mac was a productive entity with and without Buckingham.
That work ethic began 50 years ago when Fleetwood Mac released its first recording on the Blue Horizon label, as a blues act. In Tulsa, they acknowledged these roots by playing two songs from their formative years with co-founder Peter Green: “Oh Well” and the pre-Santana “Black Magic Woman” (on which Stevie Nicks took the lead); and another two songs for the transitive years that followed (1969-1974) before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac: “Tell Me All the Things You Do” from 1969’s Kiln House and “Hypnotized” from 1973’s Mystery to Me.
And the tributes continued with the present day, as Stevie Nicks honored the late Tom Petty with a touching rendition of “Free Fallin’,” with former Heartbreakers’ guitarist Michael Campbell strumming right along in memoriam.
The highly accomplished Neil Finn (of Crowded House) and Michael Campbell (of the aforementioned Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) showcased their talents, as well, with Finn taking the male lead on many songs, notably in “Second Hand News.” Finn also played two of his own tracks, Split Enz’s 1980 hit “I Got You” and Crowded House’s 1986 anthem “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” The low-key Campbell served as a strong guitar lead for the band and sang lead on Peter Green’s blues rocker “Oh Well,” a favorite cover tune of Tom Petty.
The surprising show closer, “All Over Again,” from 1995’s Time, paid homage to another period in the band’s history without Buckingham. With lyrics like “Well it’s it’s time to move on to the rain / And finally break the chain / In spite of the heartaches / And troubles in love / I’d do it all over (do it all over),” it will was a fitting counterpart to the show’s opener “The Chain” and, more importantly, upholding the creed that has defined the band all these years, “Don’t stop,” or ironically as Buckingham might put it, “On with the show.”
Fleetwood Mac debuts new members, pays tribute to Tom Petty during tour launch in Tulsa.
One year and one day after the loss of gone-too-soon Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac launched a new North American tour and unveiled a new roster at Tulsa’s BOK Center.
The additions, who came aboard following the departure of Lindsey Buckingham, are Mike Campbell, former guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Neil Finn, vocalist for Crowded House and Split Enz.
“I can’t tell you how much it means to us that you are all here tonight to share this with us,” Campbell told a sold-out crowd.
Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood was asked in a pre-concert interview if the set list would include any Crowded House or Petty songs, or whether there might be a tribute to Petty.
“I can attest that there will be,” Fleetwood said.
Fleetwood didn’t want to cite specific songs — why ruin the surprise? — but answers came when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, no stranger to personnel changes, began a new chapter Wednesday night.
The Petty tribute, an emotional highlight of the show, came during the encore. The first song of the encore was Petty’s “Free Fallin’” with vocals provided by Stevie Nicks, a longtime Petty friend. Images of Petty were shown on a screen behind the stage as Fleetwood Mac performed the song. Judging by the number of mobile phones held high, it was the most video-ed moment of the night.
Two songs from Finn’s ouevre were on the set list, including “I Got You” (the highest-charting Split Enz single in the U.S.) and “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (Crowded House’s biggest hit, it went to No. 2 in 1986). Nicks contributed vocal help on both songs.
Immediately before Finn sang “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Fleetwood said this: “Many years ago I heard this beautiful song and, for me, it opened many doors in my heart, so this all eventually led to this lovely gentleman sharing the stage with us in Fleetwood Mac, so make him really welcome as he sings this most beautiful song.”
The new kids and the Fleetwood Mac vets — Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Nicks — played for almost two and a half hours and, perhaps feeling adventuresome in the wake of a lineup change, detoured to some interesting places.
Almost half (11 of 24 songs) of the set was mined from a self-titled 1975 album and the 1977 juggernaut Rumours.
But the first hint Fleetwood Mac was going to dig deep came six songs into the show, when Nicks handled vocal chores on “Black Magic Woman.” Written by former member Peter Green, “Black Magic Woman” was recorded by Fleetwood Mac in the twilight of the 1960s. The song became a hit for Santana in 1970.
Also on the set list: “Tell Me All the Things You Do” from the 1970 album Kiln House, the Bob Welch-penned “Hypnotized” from the 1973 album Mystery to Me and “Oh Well,” which was sang Wednesday night by Campbell and was originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac in 1969. (For context’s sake, consider that Nicks and Buckingham didn’t record with the band until 1975.)
Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac parted company in April. Do you really want a band with so many great songs to call it quits just because a key member is no longer part of the squad? Of course not.
Wanting to forge ahead, Fleetwood Mac took the hydra approach (lose one head; two will take its place) and announced a new tour.
At 8:14 p.m. Wednesday, when the new incarnation of the band took the stage, Fleetwood flashed a smile that was captured on the video screen. He and his band mates opened with “The Chain,” which has history as a show-starter and gave curious audience members a chance to immediately hear Finn at the microphone. The song didn’t match completely the version stuck in your brain from decades of hearing it, but Finn sounded like a natural fit in songs like “Go Your Own Way” and “Second Hand News.”
Introducing himself, Finn said, “My name is Neil and it’s a huge honor to be with you tonight with this magnificent band.”
A New Zealander, Finn also said this: “I would like to do a big shout-out to another fellow countryman who works just down the road, Mr. Steven Adams for the Oklahoma (City) Thunder. (He’s) the toughest guy in the league. I’m not even in the toughest person in Fleetwood Mac. I think that’s Stevie.”
Early in the show, Campbell looked at his new band mates and smiled. Nobody seemed to have more fun that Fleetwood, especially during a drum solo bookend-ed by the start and finish of “World Turning.” He introduced the rest of the band afterward and said it was a joy and privilege to welcome the new members.
Sometimes the whole cheer-for-an-encore thing feels too staged or expected, but the audience reaction (mobile phones illuminated, continuous roaring) suggested the crowd absolutely wanted more Fleetwood Mac, and that’s what they got when the anticipated Petty tribute arrived and was followed by two other songs — “Don’t Stop” and “All Over Again,” a song that Christine McVie said was about change.
A big change happened in the ranks of Fleetwood Mac. But here’s the takeaway: The tour launch didn’t feel like you were watching/hearing something less than Fleetwood Mac.
Fleetwood Mac set list
The Chain (Rumours)
Little Lies (Tango in the Night)
Second Hand News (Rumours)
Say You Love Me (Fleetwood Mac)
Black Magic Woman (English Rose/The Pious Bird of Good Omen)
While the news last month of Lindsey Buckingham’s departure from Fleetwood Mac (with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ veteran Mike Campbell and Split Enz/Crowded House’s Neil Finn taking Buckingham’s place) came as a shock to many Mac fans, this is hardly the group’s first major lineup switchup over the past half-century. Buckingham actually didn’t join Mac until 1974 (following the departure of co-founder Peter Green) and left the group once before, in the late ‘80s (he was replaced by Billy Burnette and Rick Vito at that time).
As drummer Mick Fleetwood the lineup’s one consistent member since the beginning, says, “If anyone out there has a sort of a track record of the history of this crazy band known as Fleetwood Mac, it is certainly peppered with changes through the years. … We’ve had probably four, five, six, seven major changes!”
Fleetwood is reluctant to go “into all of ups and downs and the details of where we ended up” with Buckingham this time around, but he gives “huge kudos and respect, forever and before and now and into the future, of what Lindsey Buckingham has always been within the ranks.” He also reveals that he and longtime bandmates Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie (who took a hiatus from the group from 1998-2013), and John McVie “thought very, very hard and long about going forward.”
In fact, they even considered not going forward at one point, but it didn’t take long before they realized they wanted to stick together.
“Well, it was a huddle, really. It was a team huddle of the existing band members to really not panic into anything, other than really following our hearts as to what this meant — which was huge, any which way you look at it,” Fleetwood muses. “And once we had galvanized that approach amongst the four remaining folks, the ladies and the guys in the band, we took the bull by the horns. It was really as simple as that. But it certainly took a real, meaningful breath. All of us, probably in our various ways, came to that decision that we want to, we need to, we feel good about it.
“And once we all felt that we really wanted to do that, it got hot and heavy as to how this is going to be really musically uplifting for the existing band — the band that we have now — and have it be believable for everyone out there that has been loyal and taken that journey with the crazy band Fleetwood Mac.”
The answer was to recruit Campbell — not a major surprise, considering his long history playing with Nicks — and, as more of a curveball, New Zealand singer-songwriter Finn. Fleetwood seems thrilled to be working with both “lovely gentlemen,” describing the new lineup’s dynamic as being “like a bunch of teenagers doing their thing, coming out of the garage.” He hints that Campbell and Finn’s respective catalogs will factor into the forthcoming Fleetwood Mac tour’s “huge” setlist (“their heritage and their background is going to be appropriately part of the show”), and he even says it’s likely that the Campbell/Finn collection will record new tunes together.
“I don’t think you can keep the horse in the trap, so to speak, when it comes to Christine and Stevie,” Fleetwood says of the possibility of new Mac music. “They’re still connected to everything about writing and having a whole new approach to it. Mike is hugely conversant with production and has written way more than I ever, ever knew. And he’s worked with Stevie, writing and producing and a lot of stuff that Stevie did through the years with Tom and of course the Heartbreakers. And Neil is a given; he’s just a hugely connected songwriter that really covers a huge gamut. … I truly believe that [new music] will happen. I’m hoping that we can throw out a couple of calling cards before we go out on the road. I’m not quite sure that we can apply ourselves to do that, but all of that is to look forward to. It’s hugely important, whichever way you look at it, for a band to remain being creative, not treading water.”
While Fleetwood is enthusiastic about his band’s future, he reveals that Mac’s tour, which officially kicks off Oct. 3 in Tulsa, Okla. (after the new lineup makes its live debut at Las Vegas’s iHeartRadio Festival in September) and will continue into 2019, will delve deep in the band’s archives — dating back to before the famous Buckingham/Nicks era. “We’re really looking forward to doing some spotted revisiting of some of the old blues-based, rock ‘n’ roll stuff we did back in the day,” he says, “like ‘Black Magic Woman’ and ‘Oh Well.’ And I think Stevie’s even threatening to sing ‘Black Magic Woman,’ which sounds more than exciting! … I think everything is just open, looking at what we’ve done since the beginning and no doubt touching on some of the blues stuff that Campbell, very specifically, is insisting that we do. And happily so.”
Fleetwood and his new and old bandmates are still hashing out the setlist (“We’re all exchanging lists, emailing madly backwards and forwards”), but regardless of which songs make the cut, the upcoming tour is bound to be a fascinating look at Fleetwood Mac’s complex and ever-evolving history. And it’s going to be a marathon event. “I was around Stevie’s house the other night with Campbell, and we quietly realized that we were heading towards a three-hour show! It was a sort of comedic moment,” Fleetwood chuckles, adding more seriously: “We’re looking forward to putting on an incredibly vibrant show that is truly groundbreaking, for us, and that’s about as good as it can get for a musician to be in that sort of noncomplacent place.”
Neil Finn is always looking for new projects. Today he’s announced one of his most surprising yet.
In 2018, Neil Finn will join soft rock legends Fleetwood Mac for a series of dates to be confirmed soon.
This bizarre turn of events comes after Lindsey Buckingham was reportedly fired from the group earlier this year, though the band are yet to make any comment about what transpired to result in his termination.
Both Finn, a former Double J Artist in Residence, and Fleetwood Mac members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks have made statements this morning about the new arrangement.
“We are thrilled to welcome the musical talents of the calibre of Mike Campbell and Neil Finn into the Mac family,” the band said in a group statement, according to Variety.
“With Mike and Neil, we’ll be performing all the hits that the fans love, plus we’ll be surprising our audiences with some tracks from our historic catalogue of songs.
“Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honouring that spirit on this upcoming tour.”
Finn’s statement suggests that this has opportunity not been in the offing for long.
“Two weeks ago I received a wonderful invitation to be a part of a truly great band. A few days later I was standing in a room playing music with Fleetwood Mac.
“It felt fresh and exciting, so many great songs, a spectacular rhythm section and two of the greatest voices ever. Best of all, we sounded good together. It was a natural fit. I can’t wait to play.”
There is no further information as to when and where this new-look Fleetwood Mac will perform, but dates should be announced shortly.
Neil Finn has recently played a string of shows with his son Liam, pre-empting the release of a collaborative album that fans know has been in the works for some time.