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
A downpour of rain could do nothing but enhance the hippie-mystique of Fleetwood Mac’s leading lady Stevie Nicks last Friday night.
The poetic and magical performer behind Fleetwood Mac had 25,000 fans at Subiaco Oval mesmerised from the moment she stepped foot on stage.
Dressed in a black lace dress with her trademark ribbon-adorned tambourine in hand, she opened to a rapturous crowd with the band’s 1977 hit “The Chain.”
Her powerful vocals were backed by the musical talents of Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Christine McVie, who reunited with the band after a 16-year absence.
Fleetwood Mac’s classic line up had returned for their On with the Show tour and as the rain pelted down on their Perth fans, they made sure they turned on one unforgettable show.
Drawing heavily on their 1970s hits from their most celebrate album Rumours, they took the start of the show up a notch with thrilling performances of “You Make Loving Fun,” “Dreams” and “Second Hand News.”
Nicks shared the spotlight with her former lover and legendary guitarist Buckingham who captivated the crowd with a series of flawless guitar solos and his comments about the band’s past exploits.
“There was a grey area between our personal and professional lives — but we have nothing left but love for one another and we’re still here,” he said before the band launched into “Rhiannon.”
The 1975 hit had the younger generation of late 20/early 30 year olds who were raised on their parents’ Fleetwood Mac albums, like myself, wanting to jump up and dance, which clashed with the baby boomer’s desire to stay firmly in their seats.
Christie McVie reminded everyone how missed her smoky vocals were as she sung “Everywhere” while perched behind her keyboard.
“Tusk,” “Sara” and “Say You Love Me” followed and were delivered with an effortless perfection that could only be achieved by a band with 40 years of musical chaos and creativity under their belt.
The night’s highlights included Nicks’ performance of “Landslide” — which showed why she was named one of the 100 greatest singers of all time – and Buckingham’s acoustic guitar solo of “Big Love.”
Nicks then gave what sounded like a 1960s hippy-inspired speech as she revealed the meaning behind “Gypsy” and sang it with such emotion it was as if she was still that struggling artist living in San Francisco.
The band’s original member Mick Fleetwood, who had been smashing the drums all night with the enthusiasm of a teenager, drew in the crowd with an eccentric drum solo behind his elaborate kit.
The heavy rain continued to fall and created a mythical ambiance as it caught the stage light while Nicks swirled around the stage setting the perfect scene for “Gold Dust Woman.”
“This is the strangest, most beautiful rainy night ever,” she said.
No one was left seated as the band finished their main set with “Go Your Own Way, a song that Lindsey wrote to mark the ending of his relationship with Nicks.
The drenched crowd rocked away to the elated encore “Don’t Stop,” before Christine McVie asked the crowd to tolerate the rain for one final stellar moment as she got behind a grand piano and finished with “Songbird.”
Fleetwood Mac gets off the chain at Perth’s Domain Stadium, despite pouring rain.
I have never been so wet in my life. This was the thought running through my head as I walked away from Domain Stadium on Friday night completely drenched, with my water-filled shoes making an ungainly squelching sound with every step. But, it was quickly followed by another — it was worth it to see Fleetwood Mac in concert again.
The last time the band came to Perth in 2009 was the first concert my wife and I watched together, not long after we had started dating. So when an opportunity arose to review Fleetwood Mac’s return to Perth I jumped at the opportunity, thinking it was a chance to relive some wonderful memories.
However, I wasn’t prepared for the wild night which lay ahead — filled with sizzling guitar, mystical vocals, die-hard fans and never-ending rain. No sooner had we taken our seats when Fleetwood Mac’s smash hit “The Chain” lit up the stadium, much to the crowd’s delight. From there the band’s three main songwriters shared the spotlight with Christine McVie welcomed back to Perth with a rendition of “You Make Loving Fun,” followed by Stevie Nicks’ “Dreams” and Lindsay Buckingham’s “Second Hand News.”
As the heavens opened it also rained down hits with “Rhiannon,” “Everywhere,” “Tusk,” “Sara” and “Say You Love Me” enchanting the 25,000 fans who turned out for the show. Then the two McVies, Nicks and drummer Mick Fleetwood vanished from the stage while Buckingham delivered an outstanding solo, guitar-only, version of “Big Love.”
The rest of the band returned in style, and the hits continued and then the rain started to ease up as Nicks explained to fans the story behind the next song “Gypsy.” As the song progressed, Nicks twirled on screen mesmerizingly almost in what looked like a rain dance.
And, as if on cue, the rain started bucketing down heavier than before, ending any hope concert goers had of leaving Domain Stadium without being completely soaked. Although no one in the crowd seemed to mind as they were straight up out of their seats to dance as “Little Lies,” another of Christine McVie’s creations, resonated around the stadium.
Nicks’ mystical twirling continued as the band launched in to “Gold Dust Woman,” and then the focus shifted to Buckingham who showed he has lost none of his guitar prowess with a stunning guitar solo to finish off “I’m So Afraid.” Buckingham received rambunctious cheers for his bewitching effort, which turned to an even bigger roar as Fleetwood Mac quickly moved into “Go Your Own Way” to finish off their main set. The upbeat tune lifted any remaining seated fans to their feet, and when the song finished, the band received a standing ovation, whose enthusiasm was never dampened despite the pouring rain all night long.
Christine McVie’s return to the the band, after 16 years of semi-retirement, appeared seamless and her vocals added another layer to the Mac’s allure, taking fans back to their golden days. The excitement was evident on the faces of fans every time one of her songs started up, with some of the biggest cheers of the night reserved for the encore when “Don’t Stop” rocked the stadium, and the second encore as “Songbird” closed a memorable, but wet, Fleetwood Mac performance.
Tim Carrier / WA Today / Saturday, October 31, 2015
Fleetwood Mac plays all the hits, fans endure downpour in Perth
Western Australian fans braved the steady rains on Friday night, as they watched their heroes play onstage at Perth’s Domain Stadium. Despite the downpour, fans, many of which were decked out in rain gear, took the wet evening in stride. Many took to Twitter to comment about the unusual concert experience (see Live Tweets below).
Sydney-based Angus and Julia Stone opened again for Fleetwood Mac.
Fleetwood Mac traverses back eastward for a three-night engagement at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne (2-Nov, 4-Nov, 6-Nov).
A LANDSLIDE brought down Subiaco Oval when all five original members of legendary band Fleetwood Mac stormed the stage in the midst of a torrential downpour.
It takes a special kind of die-hard fan to sit in a poncho for two hours on a Friday night while it’s bucketing down, but Perth fans would not be deterred from seeing the band reunited on stage for the first time in 16 years.
Accomplished singer-songwriter and keyboardist Christine McVie was welcomed back with open arms after leaving the band for personal reasons back in 1998 — the missing piece in the brilliant, complex jigsaw puzzle the band was so well-known for.
McVie said she was thrilled to be back with her “favourite people in the world” before dedicating “Everywhere” to the band.
While the Mac have enjoyed a huge amount of commercial success over the years, hits from the best-selling Rumours album were stripped back to basics as the band came clean about relationship struggles and internal dynamics.
“I think our professional lives and our personal lives have always been intertwined and that’s what’s part of the appeal,” vocalist Lindsey Buckingham said.
“The point is we’ve been together for a long time though and we’re still here. We all broke up and we all knew we had to fulfill our destiny and somehow we stayed together.
“We would bleed sometimes but I think what you have to say is that below the struggles we seem to rise with a great deal of love.”
And with that, the band broke out into an emotional rendition of “Bleed to Love Her.”
While Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks ended their relationship many years ago it’s evident some embers still burn.
The pair shared lingering glances and hand-holding during “Sara” and after an acoustic duet of “Landslide.”
Buckingham — whose guitar became an extension of his body on multiple occasions during the night — did not disappoint when he cut loose during a finger-prickingly good number on “Big Love.”
Drenching rain, sold-out ponchos and chilling winds were not enough to stop fans dancing in the aisles and cheering for the encore.
The show was a genuine reflection of the band’s journey over the decades: the love, the heartbreak, the turbulence, and the final reunion as friends.
Danielle Le Messurier / PerthNow / Friday, October 30, 2015
Thunder only happens when it rains, according to Stevie Nicks, whose legendary band Fleetwood Mac turned on a dream gig in the wet last night.
Playing to 25,000 adoring fans at Domain Stadium, the megastars promised a party in the rain. “My limousine driver told me it never rains in Perth,” Nicks said. “We bring the rain.”
The mighty Mac also brought the hits, plus an old friend in Christine McVie, much missed on the past two Perth visits.
The English singer, songwriter and pianist retreated from the spotlight after the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1998.
Fleetwood Mac were to visit in 2013 but cancelled after bassist John McVie was diagnosed with cancer. During the delay while McVie had treatment, drummer Mick Fleetwood convinced McVie’s former wife to rejoin the band. Christine McVie’s return meant Fleetwood Mac’s three great songwriters — the others being American ex-lovers Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who joined the English blues band in 1974 —were back in the saddle for the band’s first Aussie tour since 2009.
After hitting the stage with “The Chain,” the Rumours rocker credited to the whole band, the trio shared the songs.
Other Rumours favourites — McVie’s “You Make Loving Fun,” Nicks’ “Dreams” and Buckingham’s “Second Hand News” — came in quick succession.
Classic pop hits —”Landslide,” “Everywhere,” “Little Lies” — rained down on fans as the Mac clung tight to their golden era.
The famous five, plus extra musicians and singers, delivered a marathon set at the fifth of 13 scheduled Australian dates for their On With the Show world tour. Classic songs, classic line-up and still plenty of drama.
Editor’s note: The writer published a lengthier review the following day.
Before reality TV, there was Fleetwood Mac.
Thirty-eight years ago, the legendary transatlantic band laid bare their drug-fuelled intraband bed-hopping in Rumours, one of the greatest and highest selling albums of all-time.
Unlike The Bachelor or Married at First Sight, the Mac don’t need to manufacture their drama – not even on the marathon On With the Show world tour, which stopped in Perth on a wet Friday night.
Rain bucketed down on 25,000 fans at Domain Stadium on an evening singer Stevie Nicks remarked was the “strangest, most dramatic, most memorable rainiest night” of the lengthy tour.
Fleetwood Mac performed in the rain for thousands of fans at Domain Stadium. Pictures: Simon Santi/The West Australian
The presence of English songbird Christine McVie, who reunited with the band last year after a 16-year absence, also heightened the sense of occasion.
The stormy weather didn’t prevent Fleetwood Mac from revisiting their personal tempests across a 23-song, two-and-a-half hour greatest hits show, which drew heavily on Rumours.
Nine songs from the 1977 opus were aired, starting with band co-write The Chain before You Make Loving Fun, Dreams and Second Hand News made for a stunning start to the show.
Rhiannon from the erstwhile British blues band’s 1975 self-titled album, the first to feature then-couple Nicks and guitar god Lindsey Buckingham, was a smooth, early highlight. As the Gold Dust Woman shimmied behind her trademark shawls and sang “woman, taken by the wind”, many in the crowd could empathise with the titular Welsh witch.
That was a time when cracks were seriously showing in the Mac, according to Buckingham, who said the members felt the need to stay together to “fulfil destiny” – that is, turn drama into an incredible parade of pop classics.
His solo acoustic performance of Big Love was a highlight, as was the now-expected performance on Nicks’ plaintive Landslide as a duo. The ex-lovers keep their romantic history front and centre throughout the show.
“Our hearts are into it,” Nicks joked as she moved her microphone back away from the rain. “In my mind, you’re dancing above the clouds.”
While some of the performance echoed previous visits for similar big outdoor concerts in 2004 and 2009 – band leader Mick Fleetwood’s eccentric drum solo during World Turning tested some drenched fans – the presence of McVie added something special to Friday night.
Eighties hits Everywhere and Little Lies, her verse on encore highlight Don’t Stop and solo rendition of signature piano ballad Songbird to complete the evening all made this gig extra memorable.
The relentless rain also helped make Friday night unforgettable, as fans danced in ponchos to the euphoric performance of Go Your Own Way. “If I could, baby, I’d give you my world,” Buckingham sang. How about some dry clothes and hot chocolate?