Saturday, December 12, 2009

(REVIEW) PERTH, AU - FLEETWOOD MAC (NIGHT #1)

THE MAC BACK
WITH BLASTS FROM THE PAST
SIMON COLLINS | MUSIC EDITOR
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
DECEMBER 12, 2009

Seventies supergroup Fleetwood Mac turned back the clock last night at the first of two concerts at ME Bank Stadium this weekend as part of their Unleashed worl tour.

The touring veterans treated around 12,000 fans to two-hour time-warp through their late-70's hits, kicking off with Monday Morning, the opening track from the 1975 self-titled ablum.

That release first saw American couple Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham join British blues men, rhythm section and the source of the band's name, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, plus his wife Christine McVie.

As with the Mac's performance at the WACA Ground five years ago, Christine McVie was absent - she hasn't toured in more than a decade - leving the four survivors to deliver a lengthy set sparkling with gems plucked from their best-selling 1977 opus Rumours and plenty of songs from 1979's experimental Tusk.

Possibly the greatest break-up album of all-time, Rumours contributed the big hits to last night's show; The Chain, Second Hand News, Don't Stop and that classic kiss-off, Go Your Own Way.

There was one solo song each for Nicks and Buckingham, plus a rendition of early number Oh Well, a reminder of when Fleetwood Mac were an English blues band led by Peter Green.

McVie was there in spirit, with her former bandmates dishing up her excellent Say You Love Me and World Turning.

Fleetwood Mac plays at ME Bank Stadium again tonight, before heading back over east for shows in Brisbane and New Zealand.

Fleetwood Mac - ME Bank Stadium
Friday, December 11
SIMON COLLINS, The West Australian

Forget Dallas, Dynasty and even our own Number 96. The best soap opera of the 70s and early 80s was Fleetwood Mac — a saga that had everything: love, drugs, sex, affairs, more drugs, insanity and wonderful music.

Rather than save it all for a Behind the Music special or an unauthorised biography, the Mac poured all these dramas into some of the greatest and most emotionally naked pop songs the world has ever heard.

And three decades later, four survivors of those tumultuous times are still reliving those painful, joyous and ultimately legendary episodes on stage for a fan base that clings to those memories, perhaps living through a few similar scenes themselves.

So it was that 12,000 Perth music lovers tuned in at ME Bank Stadium on Friday night for the first of two big gigs on the Australian leg of Fleetwood Mac’s Unleashed world tour.

The Mac always draw on the drama at concerts, with evergreen guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham — one-third of the Stevie Nicks love triangle with drummer Mick Fleetwood — underselling the incredible turmoil experienced by the great British-American band.

“We’ve had a fairly complex, convoluted and emotional history — it’s not always been easy,” Buckingham said on Friday night. “But in the long run, it’s been worth it.”

Fans would agree. After all, we got the songs, not the heartache.

As the Mac unleashed these emotions, it was clear that there is still a lot of love between the members, particularly Nicks and Buckingham, who embraced frequently during the performance.

Maybe it was staged, but the audience lapped it up.

They also loved the greatest hits set, dominated by classics from Fleetwood Mac’s incredible trio of 70s albums; 1975’s self-titled effort, 1977’s mega-selling Rumours and 1979’s wild Tusk.

Plenty of people were still finding their seats as the Mac opened with Monday Morning, before they kicked into the familiar thud of The Chain — a Rumours track about solidarity that perhaps rings truer than it has for many years.

Many Mac fans were there simply to see Stevie Nicks and while her husky voice can’t hold the high notes these days, she inhabited the classic Dreams and her unofficial theme songs Gold Dust Woman and Gypsy.

The latter song, as she explained during one of the many times she, Buckingham or drummer Mick Fleetwood addressed their fans, was inspired by her time alongside Buckingham in San Francisco band Fritz, playing with the likes of Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

There’s some more history for you.

Nicks and her old flame swapped the lead throughout the night, with her blonde hippie offset by his virtuosic guitar playing and eccentric, but powerful vocal performance.

Buckingham provided several highlights: Second Hand News was rollicking fun, the folky Never Going Back Again had the crowd on their feet and his solo rendition of the acoustic rocker Big Love was a master-class for guitarists in the crowd.

At 22 years old, the latter single off Tango in the Night was the youngest song played on Friday night as the Mac remained stuck in the 70s — in more ways than one.

They went back even further, to 1969 for Peter Green’s Oh Well — a reminder that Fleetwood Mac were an acclaimed British blues band before Buckingham was recruited and insisted that his girlfriend should also join.

In the set that stretched for more than two hours there were too many highlights to list, ranging from the sublime Landslide to the ridiculous (but rocking) Tusk.

One of the few steps away from the expected was Tusk track Storm, which fell flat, as did the turgid Pink Floyd-esque I’m So Afraid. At least the latter was followed by Stand Back, a fizzy pop song from Stevie Nicks’ 1983 solo album The Wild Heart.

Fleetwood Mac finished the main set with their best song ever, the bittersweet rocker Go Your Own Way. By the time they dished up the encore of World Turning and the stamping Don’t Stop, many fans were racing for the gates, having ticked all their favourite boxes.

However, the Mac weren’t done; returning for the excellent Nicks ballad Silver Springs before Buckingham, then Nicks and finally Fleetwood warmly thanked the audience for coming to see them.
Will the Mac be back?

Friday night’s performance suggests at least one more rerun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The only band I have ever seen who are even better live than on disc! Fantastic, stunning, sexy, raw, emotional, wondeful! They exceeded all my expectations - thanks for such a great night Fleetwood Mac!
Shirley, Perth Australia, 12th Dec 2009

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