Friday, September 13, 2019

Fleetwood Mac still love what they do, and it shows. - Review

Fleetwood Mac, Auckland NZ, 2019
Review by Mike Beck. Photography by Richard Myburgh.
Abmient Light - Photo Gallery



Formed amidst the British blues boom of the late 1960’s, with a rhythm section whose surnames had the rare distinction of combining to create the band’s title, Fleetwood Mac have come a hell of a long way.

Casualties, internal relationships, big success, breakups, addictions, enduring friendships, long-term musical magic and memories are all part of their story. And with another significant line-up change occurring in 2018, two questions came to mind at last night’s opening show minus key playmaker Lyndsey Buckingham; how are they travelling without him, and how would one of his two replacements, local hero Neil Finn, fair in such a pivotal role?

The first of four nights at the city’s premier indoor stadium Spark Arena, last night’s show also held special significance, as it was the first glimpse of the band with Neil Finn on his home soil. Along with Finn, ex Tom Petty Heartbreaker, guitar gun-slinger Mike Campbell have collectively replaced Buckingham, who was ousted last year due to internal conflicts. This is the second time in the history of the band that they have replaced Buckingham with two musicians. Some big boots to fill then?

So, it was with heightened anticipation, that the ominously tall founding member Mick Fleetwood led the band out onto the stage, activating joyous applause for both the beloved group itself, as well as the arrival of the boyish Finn. Fittingly they opened with ‘The Chain’ off their mega album Rumours, a song affiliated with the bands tenacity to stick together through the trials of adversity. The dual vocals required for the tune, coupled with its extended guitar solo coda, meant that both Finn and Campbell were featured straight away on lead vocals and guitar respectively. And they didn’t disappoint, both adding experience, class, style and character to the Mac sound. Underpinning all was the bassline of foundation member, the super solid John McVie.

The Mac’s female star combination of Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks both got early entries for two of their signature tunes; ‘Little Lies’ and ‘Dreams.’ Here the audience were presented with a taste of what had been observed in previous shows, that this configuration of Fleetwood Mac has consented to perform in a notably more laid-back mode than previously heard. The slight tempo pull-backs of many of the songs the best indicator of this.



Syncing with Maori language week, Neil Finn addressed the audience with “Kia Ora NZ!” before turning in a rather decent version of ‘Second Hand News.’ Again, in cruise control, McVie had the audience incrementally on their feet for ‘Say You Love Me.’ As expected last night’s set featured more than a few tracks – seven in total – lifted from Rumours, the record that propelled Fleetwood Mac into superstardom status in 1977. In its day, Rumours became the biggest-selling album of all-time, its west-coast rock appeal producing so many hits that the band unequivocally ruled the airwaves.

The first of the Fleetwood NZ shows ticked all the right boxes

Fleetwood Mac - Auckland - Thursday September 12th, 2019
By Francine Auger
Date: Thursday September 12th, 2019
Libel Music
All Photos by: Megan Moss - Gallery

Neil Finn playing with the mighty Fleetwood Mac. Not only playing with, but touring with and officially part of the band. What kind of quirky, strange, yet fascinating parallel universe could this happen in? Well, oddly enough – this one! And the long awaited tour last night finally hit Auckland; ahead of three more Auckland shows on September 14th, 16th and 19th before heading to Dunedin on September 21st. 

Auckland’s Spark Arena was packed to the rafters, with everyone high on anticipation for what to expect. Would everyone’s favourite songs be played? Would we get a stonking Mick Fleetwood drum solo? Would the Kiwi flavour of Neil fit like a well-used glove in the Fleetwood machine? Well, it was time to find out…

The show starts off with ‘The Chain’, as the suave and sophisticated Mick Fleetwood takes his place behind the drums and is soon joined by Miss Stevie Nicks. We then see Neil Finn heading out, who got a massive reception. With his guitar on fire, it seems Neil is reveling in this latest role and is enjoying being part of this huge setup.

Stevie Nicks dedicates "Landslide" to her "favourite little people" - Auckland

Review: Neil Finn's Fleetwood Mac debut in Auckland an out-of-body experience
by Monika Barton
Newshub


After witnessing the majesty of Fleetwood Mac in Auckland on Thursday night, I'm still reeling, electrified, and a little confused. Of two things, though, I am sure: 

1. Mick Fleetwood is not of this mortal plane 

2. Neil Finn really is in the band

Storming onto the Spark Arena stage with his guitar held triumphantly aloft, Finn is bursting with pride and energy. The iconic band comes to us off the back of no less than 76 shows, but this one is his. 

As the spine-tingling refrains of 'The Chain' ring out across the arena, I ask myself: 'Is Neil Finn sexy now?' The look of admiration he frequently receives from Stevie Nicks points to yes. 

One flawlessly executed guitar solo later, there's no doubt that Tom Petty guitarist Mike Campbell, another recent addition to the lineup, can keep up and then some. 

We leap into a jaunt through the band's catalogue of lighter, soft-rock hits, learning that the only thing more infectiously joyful than the intro to 'Everything' is the look of perpetual glee plastered on Mick Fleetwood's face. 

Every bit the mythical enchantress we dreamed she would be, Stevie draws us under her spell with her inimitable presence, collection of sparkly shawls and, of course, those pipes.

From the way she purrs 'Black Magic Woman', to her crisp, soaring, exactly-as-it-sounds-on-the record delivery of 'Rihannon', she truly is the stuff of legend. 

Fleetwood Mac feels like a band re-energized and refreshed

Gig review: Fleetwood Mac at Spark Arena Sept 12, 2019
By: Karl Puschmann
New Zealand Herald
Photos: Ken Buist

In the moment between walking on stage and kicking the night off with the blues stomp of The Chain, Neil Finn took a moment to shake off his nerves. As the newest member of Fleetwood Mac he'd been playing a run of successful away games but last night was the first in front of the home crowd. A quick waggle of his hands and he was off.

In a band of vocalists Finn's is the first voice you hear and the song's roaring chorus could almost be a challenge to fans still harbouring ill will about the recent departure of long-term - some would say critical - member Lindsey Buckingham.


"And if, you don't love me now," he sang as the chorus crashed around him, "You will never love me again," and there was a lot of truth in those two simple lines. Buckingham's departure may have required two world-class musicians to cover, Finn and guitarist Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but this is a new era for a band that have had more "new eras" than most.

Fleetwood Mac made their New Zealand debut last night - Review

Fleetwood Mac – Spark Arena September 12, 2019
By Marty Duda
13thFloor
Photo: Veronica McLaughlin
Check out the photo gallery, link above



The Finn-infused version of Fleetwood Mac made their New Zealand debut last night with the first of four shows at Auckland’s Spark Arena.

I have a confession…when I heard about the ouster of Lindsey Buckingham and the fact that he was being replaced by Neil Finn and former Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, I found myself more interested in hearing the band live. After all, we all know what those five musicians are going to sound like, and they did their thing just a few years ago at Mt Smart Stadium. My only complaint was that it was Buckingham who left and not Nicks, but I do understand that Stevie carries more of a fanbase than Lindsey and I’m sure economics played a part in that decision.

So, here we are with a line-up consisting of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Neil Finn and Mike Campbell, along with five other musicians on stage to fill and musical holes…two backing vocalists, a guitarist, a keyboard player and a percussionist. To the band’s credit, these ringers weren’t tucked away and hidden, they were introduced and given appropriate amount of respect.


Review Fleetwood Mac -- what they do together now isn’t always perfect but it’s always magic.

Fleetwood Mac live at Spark Arena September 12, 2019
by Samuel Scott
Photo: Garry Brandon
RNZ.co.nz



Fleetwood Mac performed a magic show at Spark Arena last night with new member Neil Finn.

I was pretty pumped to be heading along to Fleetwood Mac last night. How could I not be? Their songs are built into our DNA.

When aliens dig up our remains in a bajillion years they’ll find 40 million copies of Rumours amongst the many layers of chicken bones.  They'll assume that our world was populated by small, flightless birds with a penchant for chill pop songs with a cosmic hippy edge.

So much has been written in the last 18 months about Neil Finn joining Fleetwood Mac. People wondered if the shows would be the same, if they’d be as good without lead guitarist Lindsay Buckingham.

Of course they wouldn’t be the same ... and of course they’d be just as good.

Fleetwood Mac Live in Auckland, NZ September 12, 2019

Fleetwood Mac Delights Auckland With New Musical Chemistry
By David Boyle
Radio13
Photos:  Reuben / SomeBizarreMonkey



Legendary blues-rock band Fleetwood Mac swooped into the Spark Arena in Auckland, NZ like an albatross and delivered one of the best shows of the year.

Spoiler alert: if you are one of the many punters going to the next Fleetwood Mac concert stop reading now. If you were one of the ecstatic crowd that went last night read on with a grin because it is very likely you’ve been wearing that smile all night.

Rumours will forever be etched in my adolescent years, probably more than most because my mate Boy (really Michael) had a cassette of the album, his only one actually, jammed in his car stereo. Hopeless! So every time we went out with the boys in his car it was all we heard. Even then I didn’t get sick of it. Great days!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Adding Neil Finn to Fleetwood Mac has been a huge and lovely success

DON’T STOP
The New Zealand Herald
Sept 12, 2019

 From the September 12, 2019 edition of Time Out
New Zealand Herald

Mick Fleetwood talks to Karl Puschmann about the new-look band and touring with Neil Finn Downunder

Adding Neil Finn to Fleetwood Mac has been a huge and lovely success, Mick Fleetwood tells Karl Puschmann.

IF, AT times, it’s been a particular torture being in Fleetwood Mac, is it then safe to assume that joining Fleetwood Mac is also painful and fraught?

“Oh yeah,” Mick Fleetwood says. “We hung him up by his toenails.”

We’re talking, of course, about Neil Finn, the newest recruit to one of pop music’s greatest and most enduring bands, Fleetwood Mac. Finn was brought in, along with Mike Campbell, former guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, to join the Mac last year as replacements for long-term member Lindsey Buckingham, who left under fairly acrimonious conditions.

Today, however, Fleetwood’s in a chipper mood. He’s full of beans and excitement for tonight’s show in Sydney.

“It’s a show day,” he says, when I ask how he’s going, “It’s a circus.”

And, just like a circus, the show must go on. That means there’s not much time for talking, so I cut to the chase. The big question everyone in New Zealand wants to know is how Neil Finn came to join Fleetwood Mac.

It turns out Fleetwood’s been a Finn fan for more than 20 years.

“I’d always been a huge fan of his, unbeknown to him,” he says.

“Not only the artiste in him, but the songwriter and the singer in him is — for me and many other people, and especially for you folks there in New Zealand — something very special. But I always followed him as an artist and loved his songs.”

The fan eventually met his hero after they both played a benefit gig for Paul McCartney’s wife Linda, who had recently died.

“I met him at an after-party and we spent the whole night chit-chatting,” he says.

“I actually said, way back then, ‘One day, it’d be great to be in a band together’.”

Prophetic, perhaps, but not immediately meant to be.

“That was that; we went off into the night and never saw each other for another 18 years until I bumped into him backstage at an awards show in Auckland,” Fleetwood says, referencing the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards that he attended as a surprise guest. “Ever since then we’ve remained very close family friends.”

Soon after, Fleetwood returned and spent about six months in the studio with Finn and his son Liam, drumming on their excellent joint album, Lightsleeper, which was released last year.

“That was really where the magic of putting together this funny puzzle of us becoming very, very close friends happened,” Fleetwood says.

“So, when this all came up with Fleetwood Mac it felt eventual. I asked him whether he would be up for doing what he’s doing and it’s been a huge success.”

“So,” he says, capping off his story, “that’s how it happened”.

The other question fans want to know is why it happened? Buckingham’s sudden departure, both shocking but, perhaps, not unexpected.

In the 52 years Fleetwood Mac has existed (the band formed in 1967), roughly a dozen musicians have cycled through the band — a tally that does not count its six current members, which include Christine McVie on vocals and keys and iconic singer Stevie Nicks.

The only constant in all this time has been Fleetwood and his old mate John McVie on bass.

Which is only fitting, seeing as the band is named after them, although Fleetwood clarifies that it was long-departed founding member Peter Green who came up with the name, “somewhat ironically”.

So, when asked what’s kept them going through all the band’s tumultuous periods — in-band romances, marriages, adultery, divorces, backstabbing, bickering and monumental cocaine use — Fleetwood simply says, “It’s probably stubbornness or the English grit in me where, no matter what, you keep going with a stiff upper lip.

“Me and John McVie just aren’t giver-upperers. We always had the nucleus of a band. We don’t sing. We are the rhythm section.

“When Peter Green left it was a huge blow to us but it was a lesson learned — that you can survive and come out when you think you can’t,” he says. “Having done that once in such a major way it became sort of a habit . . . We just keep going. And we haven’t done that badly if you look at what we’ve been able to pull off.” He laughs and says, “I’m being a little facetious,” which is true, when you consider what they’ve “been able to pull off”, is selling more than 120 million records, releasing a string of hits that are woven into people’s lives and being part of a band whose current live show, even with four members in their 70s, remains vital and unmissable. “The truth is it’s sticking at it and going, ‘Why wouldn’t we try that?’ The trying became the next step. It could have been we tried and we failed,” he says, before giving an example.

“Look at what we’ve done with Neil and Mike. We could have looked at what was a huge change at a very late date in this band’s history, the parting of company with Lindsey Buckingham, that could have been, ‘We’re done’. But we all looked at it and said, ‘We don’t want to be done’. The question was how do we do this with integrity?

“And it’s not been anything but a huge and lovely success. But we might have failed in the trying. We might not have been able to find those right people to put in the band, and you wouldn’t be talking to a present member of Fleetwood Mac.”

So, there you have it, the secret to Fleetwood Mac’s half-century of success; don’t stop thinking about tomorrow and go your own way. There’s probably a song or two in that . . .



Monday, September 09, 2019

NEW Christine McVie 90 Minute Documentary airs in the UK September 20th

If you are in the UK on September 20th, cancel your plans!



Fleetwood Mac's Songbird: Christine McVie
Friday 20, September 2019 21:00 BBC FOUR

Christine McVie is undoubtedly the longest-serving female band member of any of the enduring rock ‘n’ roll acts that emerged from the 1960s. While she has never fronted Fleetwood Mac, preferring to align herself with ‘the boys’ in the rhythm section whom she first joined 50 years ago, Christine is their most successful singer-songwriter. Her hits include ‘Over My Head’, ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Everywhere’.

After massive global success in both the late 1970s and mid-1980s, Christine left the band in the late 1990s, quitting California and living in semi-retirement in Kent, only to rejoin the band in 2014. In this 90-minute film, this most English of singers finally gets to take centre-stage and tell both her story and the saga of Fleetwood Mac from her point of view.

Interviewed Guest Christine McVie
Interviewed Guest Stevie Nicks
Interviewed Guest Mick Fleetwood
Interviewed Guest John McVie
Interviewed Guest Neil Finn
Interviewed Guest Mike Campbell
Interviewed Guest Stan Webb
Interviewed Guest Nancy Wilson
Executive Producer Mark Cooper
Director         Matt O'Casey

There are actually two channels in the UK airing shows related to Fleetwood Mac on September 20th 

(Compiled by Fleetwood Mac UK)
UK TV channels BBC Four and Sky Arts have an evening dedicated to Fleetwood Mac on Friday 20 Oct 2019

Monday, September 02, 2019

Fleetwood Mac is rock history. It’s a pity no-one new is coming even close to taking the place of talent like this.

Fleetwood Mac Bring Neil Finn Back To His Musical Home Melbourne 
by PAUL CASHMERE
Noise11
Photo: SusanMM


I guess a lot of us went along to see Fleetwood Mac tonight not really knowing what to expect. No Lindsey Buckingham meant this could go horribly wrong. Instead it went wonderfully right.

Fleetwood Mac has operated like a corporation since the inclusion of California duo Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in the mid 70s. Their addition became a nucleus of the band. A non-Buckingham Fleetwood Mac cannot bypass his legacy. Songs like ‘Second Hand News’ and ‘Go Your Own Way’ were generated from his DNA, so while the man has gone, the DNA remains. Neil Finn handled the Lindsey vocals honorably. Heartbreakers’ guitarist Mike Campbell handled Lindsey’s leads remarkably.

The songs are what makes Fleetwood Mac and this is simply one of the great bands of all-time performing some of the greatest songs of all-time.

Lindsey’s songs, his voice and that guitar style meant that no-‘one’ could replace him … so they chose two. The Heartbreakers Mike Campbell, long associated with the band through Stevie Nicks and Neil Finn, a great friend of Mike Fleetwood, faithfully reproduced Lindsey’s musical DNA. Neil is there for the voice, Mike for the guitar. Both their individual legacies are recognized with Neil’s Split Enz and Crowded House classics ‘I Got You’ and ‘’Don’t Dream Its Over’ and Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’ added to the set as a tribute to Tom in the encore.

Review - Fleetwood Mac Live in Melbourne, AU Sept 2, 2019

Review: Fleetwood Mac at Rod Laver Arena
Cameron Adams,
Herald Sun
Photo: Brett Schewitz



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.