By Emilia Vranjes
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Photos by: Will Russell
“SOMEONE loves you, Stevie. We all love Stevie.”
And with those words from Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham - in response to adoring chants for the supergroup's seductive songstress Stevie Nicks - the 12,000-strong crowd at ME Bank Stadium last Friday night erupted in unanimous delight.
Nicks was clearly everyone's darling, including one-time lover Buckingham, who declared his affection for the mystical frontwoman on numerous occasions, holding her hand and with a warm embrace during the beautiful Sara.
It was a stirring statement from a pair of musical legends who, along with original member Mick Fleetwood on drums/percussion and bassist John McVie, once gain showed how to put fractured relationships behind them to deliver their cross-generational fans an epic journey of lush soundscapes, phenomenal instrumentation and effortless charisma.
The two-and-a-half hour set - spanning 23 songs mainly from their decorated post-1975 back-catalogue - kicked off with Monday Morning from their breakthrough self-titled album of 75, before rocking out with The Chain from their opus, 1977's Rumours.
Two songs in and Nicks - who was rarely without her trademark tambourine - greeted the crowd, urging everyone to 'get this party started', before sinking her still sexy, husky vocals into the ethereal magic of Dreams.
It was then time for Buckingham to endear himself to the punters, acknowledging the Mac's “complex, convoluted past” while declaring that coming together created new possibilities, which paved the way for I Know I'm Not Wrong from the ambitious, quirky double album of 1979, Tusk.
There were anectodal interactions aplenty with Nicks reflecting on her time alongside Buckingham in the Fritz Raybyne Memorial Band in San Francisco in the late 60s, opening for the likes of Janis Joplin in front of 30,000 people and later, Jimi Hendrix before 70,000; “when you open for other bands, this is where you hone your skills”.
She then performed the hauntingly beautiful Gypsy, releasing her inner gypsy with her stage twirls and shortly after backed it up with Rhiannon, but not before one of many costume changes - albeit mainly of her essential accessories: gloves and shawls.
Matching Nicks in crowd favouritism was Buckingham, who mesmerised with his howling vocals and ferocious guitar playing on Tusk.
Followng Nicks' Sara, Buckingham backed up Tusk with the powerful acoustic guitar-driven Big Love, before Nicks and band returned with Landslide, a song dedicated to all of Perth.
It was then Buckingham's turn to shine again with Never Going Back Again, performed like a man possessed in what was among the night's highlights.
Nicks then introduced Storms from Tusk as a “dark stormy song about people having a dark stormy time” - fitting from a band which together has weathered many a storm.
She then donned a gold shawl for Gold Dust Woman before the boys rocked out with early 70s Mac number, Oh Well, defined with Buckingham's aggressive snarl.
Nicks later returned - this time draped in a white lace shawl - to add some '80s glam with the lush, synth-heavy Stand Back from her 1983 solo album The Wild Heart, before donning an all-black ensemble complete with matching top hat for a spirited performance of main set closer, Buckingham's much-loved Go Your Own Way.
The foursome emerged for the first encore in pairs - first Fleetwood and McVie, followed by Nicks and Buckingham holding hands - and launched into a fervent rendition of World Turning, marked by Fleetwood's extended primal drum solo.
The double encore - which also comprised long-time band absentee Christine McVie's Don't Stop - concluded with “our first lady and poet” Nicks leading the band for Silver Springs, her composition that was famously cut from the final release of Rumours.
It was then time to bid farewell, but not before Fleetwood urged the crowd to “be kind to each other in this crazy world”.
They were pertinent parting words from someone who has somehow managed to keep this legendary musical collective united (for the most part) through four decades of emotional highs and lows.