Jay Hanna, STM Entertainment Editor
THERE are few bands who could weather the storms that have rained down on Fleetwood Mac.
By guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham's own admission the band's history is "complex, convoluted and emotionally wrought".
However standing in front of an audience of 12,000 Perth fans, Buckingham acknowledged that "in the long run it's made us stronger".
Buckingham went on to say that when the band, which includes singer Stevie Nicks, bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, decided to come together once again it was a with a feeling of "new possibility".
And while the absence of retired singer Christine McVie could not be overlooked, especially during Go Your Own Way, the crowd was willing to explore the possibilities along with their heroes.
Billed as a greatest hits concert, the set list delivered almost everything a fan could wish for.
Monday Morning from the band's self-titled 1975 album kicked off proceedings, followed by The Chain from 1977's Rumours, which remains one of the highest selling albums of all time.
It was the seemingly eternally youthful Nicks who first greeted the crowd with a drawn out shout of "Perth, Australia. Welcome." Before stating it was time to "get this party started".
Sporting her trademark gothic gypsy look of velvet and lace, long black gloves and flowing blonde tresses, Nicks looked years younger than her 61 years.
However it was clear that time has diminished Nicks' vocal range, robbing her of the ability to hit the high notes in songs such as Rhiannon and Sara. But thankfully Nicks refrained from straining and squealing, instead she stayed in her lower range using her unique voice to convey the emotional depth of the lyrics.
Sharing the spotlight with his former love, Buckingham was simply mesmerising. The lithe 60-year-old has lost none of his guitar prowess or agility as was particularly evident on I'm So Afraid and Big Love.
Nicks and Buckingham made a great show of affection, frequently holding hands and embracing, much to the crowd's pleasure. Buckingham famously refused to join Fleetwood Mac, unless they also took his partner in love and music, Nicks. While the pair split in 1976 and have endured a turbulent relationship in subsequent years, they seem to have found renewed pleasure in working together. There is no doubt a strong musical bond remains between the two and it was a pleasure to witness their love and appreciation for the music they make together.
In introducing Gypsy, Nicks spoke of her early days jamming with Buckingham in San Francisco in the late 60s and early 70s. She spoke of opening for Janis Joplin in front of 35,000 people and Jimi Hendrix in front of 70,000 and how Buckingham's constant guitar playing "drove the gated community crazy".
Prior to the brilliant Second Hand News Buckingham responded to a punter's call of "I love you Stevie" by confessing: "We all love Stevie".
Go Your Own Way ended the first set, with Buckingham taking over the vocal duties for the song he penned. The crowd were on their feet for what is possibly the band's greatest song.
While Nicks and Buckingham may be the face of Fleetwood Mac, it's the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie that remains its backbone.
Famously founder Peter Green named his band for Fleetwood and McVie, as attempt to lure McVie away from John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. He finally succeeded in acquiring McVie in August 1967. On stage some four decades later, Fleetwood and McVie were still a rhythmic force to be reckoned with.
Fleetwood got his chance to truly shine in an extended drum solo during World Turning. It was also Fleetwood who introduced the band, albeit belatedly, during the encore. Fleetwood took the chance to pay tribute to the reticent McVie calling him his right hand man.
Don't Stop seemed to spell an end to the concert, but the band returned for a second encore of Silver Springs.
While no one was under the illusion that we were watching a band in their prime, what we got was more than we could have hoped for.
We got to see legends at play, reveling in their love of music. And maybe, just maybe, their enduring love for one another.
Members Equity Stadium
Fri, Dec 11