Wednesday, December 09, 2009

REVIEW: Fleetwood Mac Sydney, Australia December 8th

Loyal fans ignore the cracks in heritage rock
By: Bernard Zuel

Fleetwood Mac
Acer Arena, December 8

THIS is not meant to be a story about change. Things don't change in a hurry, if at all, in what the Americans call heritage rock. As in, solid as a rock. As in, preserved just as it was when we first saw it rock.

This of course is hardly going to cause complaints in an audience who have come for the security and comfort of the familiar: if they wanted new songs, they would buy a new album by some new artist. And what's an MP3 anyway?

The structure of this tour is much the same as five years ago: the songs - the hits, naturally, with one song each from a Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks solo album; the solo spots (Buckingham alone for Big Love; Buckingham and Nicks duet for the excellent Landslide); and the solos (Buckingham, as often as possible; John McVie briefly and Mick Fleetwood once).

There were also the absences. Without Christine McVie's songs this show is diminished and let's not get started on the wiped-from-history pre-1975 versions of Fleetwood Mac. And the additions (the multiple extra voices and instruments augmenting the remaining parts of the ''classic'' line-up).

But there were some changes worth noting and not just the fact that Mick Fleetwood's banal drum solo, complete with gibbering, was kept to less than 10 minutes (oh hallelujah!). Or that apart from occasional great moments such as Second Hand News and the set-closing Go Your Own Way, tempos and energy levels were frustratingly half a pace off, deadening songs such as Storms.

First, while Nicks's voice is in even poorer state than five years ago - the top range is long gone, the middle range is wobbly and songs such as Rhiannon can never recover - and her movements more stiff and limited, she seemed much more engaged with the songs, the audience and her bandmates this time.

On the other hand, a self-satisfied Buckingham was even more over the top, balancing his evident status as the healthiest and most capable musician in the band with a tendency to mug furiously and ridiculously. Perhaps unwittingly his voice was considerably louder than anyone else's in the mix so that when he and Nicks sang together her voice disappeared.

Not that the audience, wildly applauding anything and everything and offering standing ovations freely, minded. That's another thing which never changes.


Anonymous said...

i went to the tuesday concertat acer and Bernard Zuel can just go see britney,fleetwood mac are legends, micks drum solo was great,be€tter than 5 years ago when yes it did go to long.
Lindsey well the best singer song writer ang guitarist ever and he really makes the mac Rock.
john mcvie was great but i was surprised he left the stage when mick stevie and lindsey thanked the audience (a bit rude) and stevie although she looked stoned at the begining is our favourite her voice is beautiful and it was a prialage to see and hear her sing her beautiful songs thankyou stevie
oh i loved micks jibbering and the dribble from his mouth just magic.

Alex. said...

I was there also on the Tuesday.
I thought it was amazing.

Stevie Nicks though, gosh, my heart just goes out to her.

Though she was visibly happy and smiling, I could just feel the sadness within her. She's so beautiful and lovely, the poor petal shouldn't have to be sad :(

Anonymous said...

I wasn't at Acer but I certainly saw them in Melb. and let me just say they were outstanding! Again Stevie could of been high but she is amazing and her voice (no matter the age) has always changed over time. To me she still sounds as beautiful as ever before..
I could sense the sadness.. But wouldn't you be sad if you let the one go and have a constant reminder once a week when she gets on stage singing all the songs they wrote for and about eachother.. Another thing that wouldn't help in Oz and NZ Fleetwood Mac were in Meltdown (Wellington March 1980) and is also the time here supposed affair started with Mick....

G Merrin said...

Hey Bernard Zuel....How about you get your lame hairy arse up there and belt it out (in an entertaining fashion mind you) for 3 hours. Bet you couldn't do it. I was there on Tuesday night. These people are rock legends...thats how they get to still be around, performing decades later. Cause they can. I'd like to see some of the crappy acts that are around today still performing when there 61+. Somehow I think they will be buried deep in the trash can where they belong, (along with your review).

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