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2018-2019 Tour Fleetwood Mac

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney

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.

Fleetwood Mac, Neil Finn, Sydney, August 15 2019
Stevie Nicks performs with Fleetwood Mac at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. (Dean Hammer)

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.”

The pleasure is all ours.

All photos courtesy of Dean Hammer (@deanhammer)

Jules LeFevre / Junkee / August 16, 2019

 

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2018-2019 Tour Article Fleetwood Mac

Sydney show was testament to Fleetwood Mac’s timelessness

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

Categories
2018-2019 Tour

RECAP 8/15/2019: Sydney

On Thursday, Fleetwood Mac performed the first of two shows at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

Videos

skidstar72

Black Magic Woman 

Andy Leo

I Got You

Andy Leo

Man of the World

Andy Leo

Oh Well

Andy Leo

Don’t Dream It’s Over

Andy Leo

Landslide

Duncan H

Band Intros

Andy Leo

Gold Dust Woman

Andy Leo

Set List

  1. The Chain
  2. Little Lies
  3. Dreams
  4. Second Hand News
  5. Say You Love Me
  6. Black Magic Woman
  7. Everywhere
  8. I Got You
  9. Rhiannon
  10. World Turning
  11. Gypsy
  12. Man of the World
  13. Oh Well
  14. Don’t Dream It’s Over
  15. Landslide
  16. Hold Me
  17. You Make Loving Fun
  18. Gold Dust Woman
  19. Go Your Own Way
  20. Free Fallin’
  21. Don’t Stop

“Blue Letter” (17 position) dropped from the set