Categories
2018-2019 Tour Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac: Still going their own way

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.

Brisbane Review

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.

Christine McVie, left, and Stevie Nicks performing in Brisbane on Tuesday. Picture: AAP
Neil Finn, left, and Michael Campbell. (AAP)

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 / The Australian / Thursday, August 22, 2019

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.

Categories
2018-2019 Tour Fleetwood Mac

Seeing Fleetwood Mac in 2019 is a strange experience — but they’ve always been a strange band

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?

Besides, it’s pretty awesome hearing Stevie Nicks sing “Don’t Dream It’s Over.”

Fleetwood Mac play the following shows:

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

Dan Condon / ABC / Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Categories
2015 On With The Show Tour - Australia/NZ

VIDEOS 11/12: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall (Night 2)

On Thursday, Fleetwood Mac performed at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Boondall, the second of two shows in the Brisbane area.

Jump to: Videos | Live Tweets | Set List

Videos

Thanks to Nicole Barker and jgarner444 for capturing and sharing this footage!

The Chain (jgarner444)

You Make Loving Fun (jgarner444)

Dreams (jgarner444)

Dreams (Nicole Barker)

Rhiannon (jgarner444)

Everywhere (jgarner444)

Tusk (Nicole Barker)

Sara (Nicole Barker)

Bleed to Love Her (Nicole Barker)

Big Love Intro (Nicole Barker)

Landslide (Nicole Barker)

Gypsy Intro (Nicole Barker)

Little Lies (jgarner444)

Gold Dust Woman (Nicole Barker)

I’m So Afraid (jgarner444)

Go Your Own Way (Nicole Barker)

Encore (Nicole Barker)

Silver Springs (Nicole Barker)

Finals bows (Nicole Barker)

Live Tweets

https://twitter.com/natashasromanof/status/664933121662435328

https://twitter.com/TECHNSAVE/status/664796103477342213

Set List

  1. The Chain
  2. You Make Loving Fun
  3. Dreams
  4. Second Hand News
  5. Rhiannon
  6. Everywhere
  7. Bleed to Love Her (replaces I Know I’m Not Wrong)
  8. Tusk
  9. Sara (replaces Sisters of the Moon)
  10. Say You Love Me
  11. Big Love
  12. Landslide
  13. Never Going Back Again
  14. Think About Me (replaces Over My Head)
  15. Gypsy
  16. Little Lies
  17. Gold Dust Woman
  18. I’m So Afraid
  19. Go Your Own Way
  20. World Turning (encore 1)
  21. Don’t Stop
  22. Silver Springs
  23. Songbird (encore 2)
Categories
2015 On With The Show Tour - Australia/NZ

REVIEW: Pure Fleetwood Mac magic

This is what ‘Dreams’ are made of: Fleetwood Mac in action after all these years

Do you know who the third highest paid female musical artist is in the world? Nestled in between Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga is a name as much loved by Katy Perry fans as it is by Beatles fans: Fleetwood Mac.

If it’s any surprise to you that Fleetwood Mac should hold a position in the top three female artists, then these clips of last night’s concert in Brisbane will surely remind you that they are, quite simply, the greatest band still touring, with both Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie worth close to $60 million.

Last night’s concert was apparently something of a revelation. With Stevie Nicks having vowed the band will be “doing this until we’re 9000 vampire years old,” the band started off on a dull note. But then the unthinkable happened. During the song “Tusk,” they completely messed up and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham told the audience, “We’re going to say we’re not perfect, and we’re going to start that one again, OK?”

From there on in, it was pure Fleetwood Mac magic.

One reviewer described it like this: “There was just no sparkle – at least not until the second the band hiccupped. When the group hit silence – a musical brick wall – something magic happened. It was like they’d been given a wake-up call, a nudge to say they were slightly off their game, an embarrassing kick in the guts.”

Here are some of the highlights from the concert last night – what do you think? Have they still got it?

Fleetwood Mac will release the remastered edition of their 1979 album Tusk on December 4. Tusk was the follow-up to the band’s 1977’s iconic Rumours and it sold four million copies.

Starts at Sixty! / Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Categories
2015 On With The Show Tour - Australia/NZ

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac show dull, pedestrian

Review: Fleetwood Mac, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, November 10, 2015

Stevie Nicks John McVie
(Photo: Pat Scalia)

About 30 seconds into a song called “Tusk,” Fleetwood Mac stumbled. Like someone who’d lost their place on a page in a book, the band stopped. “We’re going to say we’re not perfect, and we’re going to start that one again, OK?” lead guitarist Lindsey Buckhingham said.

Until then, a full house at Boondall wanted badly for the show to be great. But it wasn’t. It was pedestrian at worst, ordinary at best.

One of the world’s greatest bands seemed to be going through the motions, playing like it was the 114th concert on a long two-year roadtrip.

Chart-toppers “Rhiannon,” “Everywhere” and “Dreams” had all been rolled out, and it was Fleetwood Mac. They had to be brilliant, right? There was nothing horrible about the first few songs – it was certainly no Meat Loaf moment.

There was just no sparkle – at least not until the second the band hiccupped. When the group hit silence – a musical brick wall – something magic happened. It was like they’d been given a wake-up call, a nudge to say they were slightly off their game, an embarrassing kick in the guts.

Whatever it was, the on-stage mood changed. Their energy lifted. Each member of the band found something special. No longer were they motioning through a set of songs. They began to engage – with the audience, and with each other.

Stevie Nicks, who was previously more worried about her ear pieces as she hobbled around the stage in platform heels a size too small, suddenly commanded the stage.

Fleetwood Mac
(Photo: s7r4h4n)

Her shoes looked like they fit again. The queen of rock was back, sliding around the floor, spreading the wings of her black and gold shawls, swinging her flowing blonde locks in front of the wind machine, and reminding everyone why her voice had been regarded such a distinguishable commodity for more than 40 years.

No longer was she just singing songs. She was telling stories, as songwriters of the ’70s demanded their artists must do.

“Tusk” was the eighth song of the set. And while the first attempt was botched, the audience spreading at least three generations was highly forgiving.

Buckingham ensured the second time around was superb, as was his “Big Love” guitar solo shortly after, befitting of a man Rolling Stone included in the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

The 65-year-old is not a household name like Nicks, but he is the musical brains behind the operation. And he reminded people that the band’s imperfections were sometimes what helped them connect with so many people.

Part of the band’s appeal, he said, was that they had put their personal lives – not always intentionally – “out there for people to scrutinise”.

Buckingham and Nicks, who kissed and held hands through the performance, were of course once an item.

“We had to deal with those difficulties and one way was to write songs to each other, and about one another,” he said. “And we’re still here. Within these five people, there’s a great deal of love.”

Christine McVie, the lesser-known voice of so many Fleetwood Mac hits, and before married to bass guitarist John McVie, had been in hiatus until this tour. Her voice too seemed to change a key after the “Tusk” mishap. Her closing piano solo of “Songbird” was as beautiful as ever.

And Mick Fleetwood on drums, with his Santa Claus-type beard, receding hairline and grey pony tail, is quite simply the grandfather everyone ever wanted to have.

His black vest, red bandana around his neck, white T-shirt and bright pink leather shoes proved that while he might have lost a few follicles, he’s lost none of his cool.

His drum solo which kicked off the encore during song “World Turning” was as epic as it was entertaining. Fleetwood is a showman of the highest standard, and his closing line was apt: “One might say much fun was had by all.”

Setlist

The Chain
You Make Loving Fun
Dreams
Second Hand News
Rhiannon
Everywhere
Bleed to Love Her
Tusk
Sara
Say That You Love Me
Big Love
Landslide
Never Going Back
Think About Me
Gypsy
Little Lies
Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Go Your Own Way
Encore:
World Turning
Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)
Silver Spring
Songbird

Simon Holt / Sydney Morning Herald / Thursday, November 12, 2015

Categories
2015 On With The Show Tour - Australia/NZ

VIDEOS 11/10: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Boondall (Night 1)

On Tuesday, Fleetwood Mac performed a sold-out concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Boondall, a suburb of Brisbane. The band plays a second show in Boondall on Thursday night.

The normally polished and well-rehearsed Fleetwood Mac made an uncharacteristic mistake during “Tusk,” which prompted the band to stop the song and start over. Things started to go astray at about the 1:30 mark, with Lindsey gesturing to John and Mick to cut. A few moments later, Lindsey walked up to the mic and conceded to the audience: “Well, we’re going to say we’re not perfect and we’re gonna try that one again, OK? Welcome to ‘earn-while-you-learn time in Brisbane!” (See the video below.)

Stevie dedicated “Landslide” to Dr Bill. “Over the years, this amazing doctor has taught us, anyway, taught me so many different things that really helped with, you know, keeping your health together and being able to do this until you’re like 9,000 vampire-years old. (audience laughter) You laugh, it’s not funny, it’s really true. This guy has been so helpful to us over many years  So I would like to dedicate this to you, Dr Bill. This is called ‘Landslide.'”

Jump to: Videos | Live Tweets | Set List | Reviews

[slideshow_deploy id=’211095′]

Videos

Thanks to Nicole Barker, blue54band, Todd Ellis, mhhalda, and STELLA BELLA for capturing and sharing this footage. Check back soon for more videos!

The Chain (Nicole Barker)

Dreams (mhhalda)

Second Hand News (Nicole Barker)

Rhiannon (Nicole Barker)

Rhiannon (mhhalda)

Bleed to Love Her (Nicole Barker)

Tusk (Nicole Barker)

Sara (Nicole Barker)

Say You Love Me – partial (Todd Ellis)

Big Love & Landslide (blue54band)

Big Love (mhhalda)

Landslide (Nicole Barker)

Never Going Back Again (Nicole Barker)

Think about Me (Nicole Barker)

Gypsy (blue54band)

Gypsy (STELLA BELLA)

Little Lies (mhhalda)

Go Your Own Way (mhhalda)

Don’t Stop (mhhalda)

Songbird (mhhalda)

Live Tweets

https://twitter.com/nataliekernke/status/664083209626501120

https://twitter.com/MissBellT/status/664066642888908800

https://twitter.com/caitlinxxs/status/664034234051395585

Set List

  1. The Chain
  2. You Make Loving Fun
  3. Dreams
  4. Second Hand News
  5. Rhiannon
  6. Everywhere
  7. Bleed to Love Her (replaces I Know I’m Not Wrong)
  8. Tusk
  9. Sara (replaces Sisters of the Moon)
  10. Say You Love Me
  11. Big Love
  12. Landslide
  13. Never Going Back Again
  14. Think About Me (replaces Over My Head)
  15. Gypsy
  16. Little Lies
  17. Gold Dust Woman
  18. I’m So Afraid
  19. Go Your Own Way
  20. World Turning (encore 1)
  21. Don’t Stop
  22. Silver Springs
  23. Songbird (encore 2)

Reviews

Categories
2015 On With The Show Tour - Australia/NZ

REVIEW: Christine McVie, Fleetwood Mac bring hits back to party

Concert Review: Fleetwood Mac, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, November 10, 2015

Stevie Nicks
(Photo: Marc Robertson / The Courier Mail)

WELCOME back Chrissie.

Not that Fleetwood Mac didn’t play great shows in Christine McVie’s years out of the band. But her return for this tour brings so many big songs back to the party – from “You Make Loving Fun” to “Say You Love Me” and “Everywhere.”

Naturally this first Brisbane Entertainment Centre show last night was sold out – there are a few tickets left for a second tomorrow night.

You know what you are going to get, two-and-a-half hours, mostly of hits, plus some album favourites like “Gold Dust Woman.”

McVie retired from the band and missed their Australian tours in 2004 and 2009.

Last night she was in her element at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, as she has been throughout this world tour.

Lindsey Buckingham
(Photo: Marc Robertson / The Courier Mail)

The addition of her songs, lead vocals and harmonies lifts the night to another level from their tours without her.

Mick Fleetwood and John McVie remain a powerhouse rhythm section, Lindsey Buckingham ensures the energy levels never flag despite this being show No.114 of a world tour, and Stevie Nicks’s voice remains a thing of crystalline wonder, from “Dreams” to “Rhiannon,” “Sara” and “Landslide.”

It’s a beautiful and tasteful visual production, but with this many big songs, they could play by torchlight and still hold our attention.

The band took time off as bass player John McVie was treated for cancer and wrap up this world tour with shows in Auckland a week from now.

But a new album is set for release next year so the extraordinary story of the band will continue as they approach their 50th anniversary.

Fleetwood Mac play Brisbane Entertainment Centre again tomorrow night.

(Editor’s note: Mick Fleetwood has confirmed that the band,  except for Stevie Nicks, has recorded material for a new album, but the status of the release is unknown at this stage. Fleetwood Mac remains “hopeful” that the material will be released.)

Noel Mengel / The Courier Mail / Tuesday, November 10, 2015