Sunday, December 20, 2009


Gig review: Fleetwood Mac
New Plymouth, New Zealand
1st Show Saturday, December 19, 2009
by: Simon Sweetman

Fleetwood Mac had fans in raptures at two sold out shows in New Plymouth over the weekend. Reviewer Simon Sweetman was there.

From late-60s British blues band to mid-70s American soft-rock superstars, Fleetwood Mac have evolved and endured, the sound almost taking a back seat to the soap-opera antics of the band members.

Inter-band relationships and affairs, along with drug and alcohol abuse, have, somewhat ironically, been the glue for this band, providing material for many of the classic songs.

This version of the Mac features original rhythm section John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). Out front are Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, the singer-songwriters who in the mid-70s took the band to the top of the charts and helped in creating one of the greatest-selling albums of all time, Rumours.

Christine McVie declines the invites to tour the hits these days. Her songs Don't Stop and Say You Love Me were played here, however.

The band began with the lively burst of pop that is Monday Morning, the opening track from the eponymous 1975 album. The audience stood strong as the rain came in, and were treated to The Chain and Dreams, an early one-two punch.

Buckingham owned the stage, stalking with his guitar, low-slung, crouching, peeling off piercing runs of notes, squalling solos that enthralled.

If he was occasionally too intense with his between-song banter detailing the emotional connections – something lost on parts of the audience, there to drink first and listen to the six radio hits they knew – then he certainly saved face with his powerhouse solo acoustic take on Big Love, transformed from the Tango in the Night version.

By the time the set-closing anthem Go Your Own Way was ringing out, Buckingham was receiving healthy ovations for every guitar solo.

Nicks, ever the beguiling performer, manages, still, to very much become the song she is singing – to morph into a character that embodies the white witch of Rhiannon; that is the "poet in my heart" of Sara; that is the Gypsy.

Her tour-de-force moments were Gold Dust Woman and the final encore, Silver Springs. An always tender moment in a Fleetwood Mac show is when Nicks sings Landslide; the emotional journey that she and Buckingham have provided for generations of listeners and for themselves seems to be summed up in the lyric.

John McVie was the quiet rock, as ever, pushing the songs forward with his bass playing, receiving huge applause for the exploratory line that propels The Chain, the concert's first of many truly awesome moments.

And Fleetwood, a towering presence behind the kit, got to show off a touch of his possible madness as he chanted near-gibberish around a drum solo at the end of World Turning.

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Fleetwood Mac: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
by: Simon Sweetman

While the big stars, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and John McVie, jumped into the flash cars, the lesser members of the entourage filled the Toyotas

It's an amazing story, or set of stories.

On the drive back - yesterday afternoon - we chatted about some of the stories connecting the band; about the Peter Green years and then on to the involvement of Bob Welch and then the "classic lineup". I even have time for the album they recorded called Time.

But I do not have a lot of time for idiots in crowds. And I was reminded of why I hate open-air concerts in New Zealand.

The venue, oversold from what I could tell, was stripped of its unique selling-point: the pond in front of the stage was crudely/cruelly boarded over with a platform to house some seats so that people can be packed in (can anyone say Concert Cave Creek?) There was also a couple of eyesore mini-grandstands jutting out like the back-ends of a bogan mullet, flanking the front of the stage, rendering large patches of the banks useless.

You either queue up early - or you fight for your patch of land. If you do get there early you have people push in and end up on your turf anyway.

All of this should be okay - not ideal but okay - but in among the picnic baskets and recyclable bags filled with cushions and blankets, people forget to pack any sense of humility. And to save on space most tend to not bother taking along any dignity.

I will never, as a music fan, understand how people can choose to spend $120 on a ticket and stand there talking, hooting, laughing, being annoying until the three or four radio megahits are played. And I will also never understand why people pay so much money to go to these shows - including petrol or flights and accommodation as well as ridiculous booze prices - to get written off and not really remember anything but the obvious songs.

I didn't want Fleetwood Mac to play Don't Stop. I don't need to hear that song ever again.

But you know they will - and that's fine. You take it because you know you are going to get Silver Springs and Oh Well (a tribute to the old blues band); you know you are going to get Rhiannon and The Chain. I don't mind some of the big-big hits; I'm not being a snob. Go Your Own Way is probably as overplayed as Don't Stop. It's a far better song though.

Stumbling and tumbling around the crowd of apparently 18,000 people (according to this) were, presumably, no fewer than 987 women between the ages of 35 and 17 named Rhiannon - just waiting for the moment to yell "this is MY song"; their mothers there too, hoping for Landslide for the chance to yell "this song is about MY life" and far too many females dressed in leather and lace - with only the lace being removable - unaware that Gypsy is anything other than a Fleetwood Mac song (one of the ones to singalong to) and that Cougar is a type of pre-mixed bourbon-drink.

Before you write in calling me a killjoy, I am all for people having a good time. I think it's great to be part of a crowd that is having a good time - I enjoyed Don't Stop more than I thought I would on Saturday night because all around me people were partying, wrapped up in a song that everyone knew.

It's the aggression and agitation I cannot stand. That - and the absolute idiocy.

This was similar to any of the shows I have reviewed at Hawke's Bay's Mission vineyard. A place where they could put a guy on stage with a lawnmower and you would still have a paying audience pouring in with chilli-bins. "Mow another strip Trev; classic! Absolutely classic!"

We cannot stop these people from buying Dai Henwood's new CD/DVD. We cannot stop them from cackling at Bro Town. We cannot stop these people from playing Fat Freddy's Drop at a BBQ or for calling the first Norah Jones album jazz.

But we should not have to rub elbows with them on the way in and out of a poorly designed park in a mad rush.

Outdoor concerts are gross.

The venue takes a hammering with cans and bottles being biffed; food and rubbish everywhere. People are rewarded for hooligan behaviour because articles are written saying the show was well supported; the city will apparently benefit from the cash injection/s. It reduces good music to the base level of being background drinking sounds for The Brains Trust.

It's insulting - to the real fans and to the band.

It rained the whole way through the concert - that cannot be helped. It made me wonder, though, if the people behaved worse because of it, or should I have been relieved? Maybe if it was a sunny day there would have been more drunken goons with no idea, no taste and no real business being there.

I vowed, as I spent 45 minutes in a near standstill trying to leave what had been an amazing musical performance, that I would never go to an outdoor show at a vineyard or natural amphitheatre ever again. Of course it's not true - it's an occupational hazard that I will have to (continue to) endure. But I'm getting close to picking the venue as being almost as important as the act. I will probably always make exceptions - I really wanted to see FlDrunken Boganseetwood Mac and it was worth it to me to travel there, pay to stay, pay for tickets - but if I can help it I will be sticking to seated stadium shows and indoor events.

People are idiots. And it's a shame.

What do you reckon? Over the top? Or do you agree? Have you had gigs ruined for you by drunken jerks? Or do you think that if you pay the money you get to, within reason, do what you want?

And were you at Fleetwood Mac this weekend? What did you think? Did the rain dampen your spirits? Or could nothing stop the Mac attack? Or were you disappointed by the music? Maybe they only played Rhiannon and Don't Stop once each and that bugged you? (I heard someone yell "play Rhiannon again!")

What are your thoughts on this weekend's Mac show? And/or on outdoor shows in general? Do our crowds embarrass themselves? Or am I barking up the wrong tree?


DECEMBER 19 & 20, 2009




By FELICITY ROSS - Taranaki Daily News

The energy and excitement in the air at the weekend was so thick you could almost taste it.

Fleetwood Mac's two New Plymouth concerts spun the city into a fever with 25,000 out of town fans hitting the streets to shop, eat and see the sights.

On Saturday the rain held off for most of the day as the sidewalks of the CBD remained five people deep and left every cafe and bar without an empty seat.

It was middle-aged mania with married duos taking over the streets complete with matching outfits to keep the elements away.

On both Saturday and Sunday the Bach on Breakwater Wine Bar had people queuing half an hour before they opened.

"I told my staff to sit down and have breakfast because they wouldn't get another shot at it," owner Barbara Olsen-Henderson said.

"We had queues out the door all day both days but everyone was really good and patient and it has been a wonderful weekend."

Local art gallery and gift shop Verge was packed with people all weekend.

A spokesperson for the shop said it had been full to the brim all weekend with visitors to Taranaki buying for Christmas and personal treats.

Crowded House Bar and Cafe co-owner Doc van Praagh said his inner-city eatery had been packed almost all weekend.

"We just got slammed from 8am each morning," Mr van Praagh explained.

"It was full before and after the concert, there is no rest for the wicked."

There was only one hitch, a phase on Devon St East blew and knocked out half of Crowded House's power from 8pm on Saturday night until yesterday morning.

"It was a pain but it didn't stop everybody from having a good time," said Mr van Praagh, who also co-owns Stumble Inn in Merrilands and Butlers Reef in Oakura.

Although run off his feet, he did get to the concert himself on Saturday night. "It was awesome, well worth the ticket and the Bowl just looked great. Lindsey Buckingham on the guitar was just a machine. It was just an awesome weekend." He said both the Stumble Inn and Butlers Reef were packed full of people all weekend.

Several other bars and pubs took advantage of the big visitor numbers by taking out special liquor licences for last night.

And after the shows concert-goers filled the CBD but despite the influx police said people were pretty well behaved.

By MATT RILKOFF - Taranaki Daily News

"We have had a ball."

Mick Fleetwood spoke for 36,000 fans and the city of New Plymouth when he said goodbye for the 83rd time on the final concert of their 10-month Unleashed tour last night.

However, guitarist and singer Lindsey Buckingham hinted there was more to come.

"New Zealand, thank you so much for making our last show so great. We absolutely loved it. You were an absolute pleasure. We will see you next time," he said.

However, when next time will be was left hanging.

Whether they come back or not, the supergroup has left everyone satisfied for now.

Fleetwood Mac could not put a foot wrong during their two concerts at New Plymouth's picturesque Bowl of Brooklands on Saturday and last night.

Hardly a shower touched last night's crowd at the Bowl for the second concert by the much-loved supergroup.

By comparison Saturday's fans got soaked, but neither group would have traded places for the world.

Wet and dry, fans revelled in being so close to the music heard in so many of their memories.

From the first song Monday Morning those who hoped to sit through the concert realised it was hopeless.

As a mass the crowd rose and for the next 2 1/2-hours bounced, swayed and cheered with the energy pouring from the stage.

Between the big hits like Gypsy, Rhiannon and Landslide guitarist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Steve Nicks reflected on their own successes, excesses and the relationships that kept the band gravitating towards each other through all the turmoil.

"Something you will notice is we take breaks, sometimes long breaks," said Buckingham, in reference to the on-again off-again relationship the band members share.

"But each time we come back it's something different."

Although not so different their fans didn't drift into a pleasant fog of nostalgia. For the many baby-boomers it was a chance to relive their 20s and dust-off the dance moves that still embarrass their offspring, who themselves knew the music from their childhood.

For everyone in between, the songs were soundtracks to memories they would never forget.

Sue Greenville of Te Aroha proudly declared the group her favourite of all time.

The fact the voices of Nicks and Buckingham lacked the raw power of old was never going to detract from her experience.

"It was absolutely fantastic. I knew every single one of the songs and loved every minute of it. It was really, really cool," she said.

The concert was her first time at the Bowl of Brooklands and if Fleetwood Mac came back, as Mick Fleetwood hinted they might do, so would she.

And from the rumbling cheers the opening bars of each song were met with, it is unlikely she would be alone.

Although their 10-month world tour finished last night, from the way all the individual group members revelled in the experience it is unlikely the band members will go their separate ways.

Early in the set Buckingham spoke of how much they were enjoying the tour.

"There is none of the pressure of promoting a new album because there is no new album to promote. Yet," he said.

That they were having fun was plain to see, even from the very back of the Bowl where the on-stage antics were best watched on the two large video screens on each side of the stage.

Fleetwood's energetic drumming and vast array of facial expressions were beaten in enthusiasm only by Buckingham's near crazed strutting guitar solos which belied his age and expected hip strength.

For many it was Nicks who stole the show with her many changes of costume, her high heeled prancing and otherworldly dance style.

Despite the Bowl hosting one of the biggest crowds ever, there was little trouble to speak of.

By FELICITY ROSS - Taranaki Daily News

Veteran Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham declared Saturday's New Plymouth concert as one of the five all-time top shows of his career.

That gig was the first of two the supergroup played at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth at the weekend.

More than 36,000 people attended the concerts and all walked away with the memory of an energetic band still full of melodic power after more then 40 years in the business.

Fleetwood Mac promoter Andrew McManus said the whole band was more than impressed with the venue and the crowd's enthusiasm.

"Stevie [Nicks] knew the venue from playing last time and when I spoke to the band after the show they were just glowing."

He said he received a text message from Buckingham yesterday morning which said it all.

"It said it was one of the top five shows he has played in his career – and he has played a lot of shows."

And the persistent rain during Saturday's show did little to put the band off. In fact, they said it added to act. During the short time Fleetwood Mac was in New Plymouth Mick Fleetwood took his family out and about while Nicks took the day to rest, Mr McManus said.

"Stevie is a professional, she always says `I've got an instrument which 17,000 people are paying to hear and I need to protect it'. So she rests in her suite and doesn't talk."

As for rumours this is Fleetwood Mac's final world tour it won't be if Mr McManus has anything to do with it.

He said Buckingham was writing new material and another album, coupled with another world tour, could be in the works. "And if they do tour and New Plymouth is not on the itinerary then I will be having a serious talk with them," Mr McManus laughed. "Mick and John [McVie] just love touring, they love being on the road and Mick has just been nominated for a Grammy in the jazz section.

"Stevie is the key and I would love to think they could all work together again and be on the road in two or three years.

"This is the third show I have brought to New Plymouth and the venue is just world-class," he said.

"It is the ambience and the acoustics that make it work. We have played a lot of bowl venues where the acoustics just swirl around. It's amazing really."

He says the success of the Fleetwood Mac shows has opened the floodgates for other promoters to bring artists to New Plymouth.

"The band's enjoyment is important and at the bowl all the boxes were ticked."


Powhiri for Fleetwood Mac gets great response

The song Rhiannon proved the perfect response to a welcoming powhiri for Fleetwood Mac.

After Saturday's concert at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, the members of Fleetwood Mac were treated to a powhiri backstage by a local kapahaka group.

New Plymouth District Council manager business development and events Garry Sharpe-Young said the band had never refused a powhiri.

It was simply a timing issue.

"The time schedules were changing and all over the place," Mr Sharpe-Young said.

As Fleetwood Mac members Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie went backstage after the show, the powhiri happened behind the scenes.

"The kapahaka group looked magnificent and sounded wonderful," said Mr Sharpe-Young.

"They performed, then Lindsay McLeod explained this is what we normally do and people usually sing a song back but you don't need to, but they did Rhiannon."

He said having Stevie Nicks singing two feet away was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Mick Fleetwood grabbed a rubbish bin from the caterers and started banging away on it, said Mr Sharpe-Young, adding a cheeky Mr McLeod hugged Ms Nicks and asked for her phone number.


Fans deflated by Fleetwood Mac's arrival
Taranaki Daily News

Only a handful of fans turned up to see Fleetwood Mac arrive in New Plymouth on Saturday and most went away slightly deflated.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood managed a popular wave or two but Stevie Nicks, arguably the most loved of them all, left her devotees devastated.

From the door of the plane to the door of her waiting car she was covered from all angles by umbrellas.

"You're not the bloody Queen, Stevie," yelled someone in the crowd.

The diva even shielded her face as she sped past the small group of fans, allegedly heading straight to the Bowl of Brooklands where the band performed that night and the next.

In contrast to the antics of Nicks, skinny legged guitarist Lindsey Buckingham casually sauntered down the steps to his waiting car and most people seem to mistake bassist John McVie for someone's lost grandfather.

New Plymouth woman and prize-winning gardener Denise Wood had been drinking a cup of coffee when she "realised" the band would be arriving at 4pm and made her way to the airport.

Her guess was bang on the money and it had nothing to do with women's intuition.

"I get messages from a higher power, dear," she said.

Fleetwood Mac volunteer Maree Atkinson left a muffin reheating in the microwave to run out and see the band.

Having been at the airport all day helping visitors with directions she had been through a few false alarms before they finally arrived in a white Whisper Jet marked ZK-ECO.

The four stars and a hefty gang of support crew were whisked out of the airport in a motorcade of four silver Mercedes S-class sedans, three Toyota Estimas and one Previa. At the front was New Plymouth mayor Peter Tennent's new Porsche Cayenne, lent to the group for the big arrival.


Fleetwood Mac belt out the hits in New Plymouth
By MATT RILKOFF - Taranaki Daily News

Just as the rain kept falling the hits kept coming at Fleetwood Mac's sold out New Plymouth concert last night.

Unashamedly playing their most popular songs the supergroup had taken to the stage 15 minutes earlier than scheduled and managed to avoid the rain for that long.

The heaving crowd of nearly 18,000, one of the biggest ever seen at the Bowl of Brooklands venue, took the weather in their stride and let out a roar of approval to the opening lines of The Chain, the second song of the set.

"Well it's taken us a long time to get back here. I think it's been 25 years,'' said singer Stevie Nicks. "That being said I think we should just get this party started."

But it already was.

The hits Rhiannon, Landslide and Go Your Own Way kept adding to a thrilling momentum that threatened to derail in a tangled mess of middle-aged dance moves by the time Don't Stop was played as the second encore song.

The gig, which was the first of only two New Zealand concerts and the last in a 10 month world tour, pulled in people from all over the country.

More than half of the crowd in New Plymouth for the night had travelled there from outside of Taranaki.

Accommodation in the city had been booked out for months and despite hundreds of locals putting up visitors in their spare rooms and garages, many concert goers spent the night in their cars.

Others like Andy Blair of Taupo had no other choice but to drive home when the show finished at 10.30pm last night.

"It was worth it though,'' she said.

Drummer and founding member Mick Fleetwood gave the fans two pieces of advice to take away.

"Take care of yourself and more importantly take care and be kind to those around you in this crazy world we live in. We love you and remember the Mac will be back'' he said.


Fleetwood Mac Rocks On
By Jack Tame
Watch The 13 Minute Interview

It's hard to keep up with Fleetwood Mac.

For their quick fire Kiwi visit they flew to New Plymouth in their own chartered jet (Evidently Jetstar doesn't feature among the considerations of international rockstars...)

At all times of course, their security remained ever-close and their band management were ever-managing.

It's 29 years since Fleetwood Mac last played a New Zealand gig.

I'm sure many of the Fleetwood fans who trekked to the Taranaki shows didn't even exist in 1980, let alone listen to Stevie Nicks.

It's not that the band hasn't toured, or hasn't played music together& just that New Zealand hasn't featured among their plans.

Still, when you consider Fleetwood Mac's journey in a slightly wider sense, it's incredible they made it here at all.

It's been a drama from day one.

Fleetwood Mac formed in England in 1967, strictly playing blues.

Since then they've survived through drug addiction, toxic inter-band love scandals, and repeated changes to their line up.

It's hard to keep up with the different guitarists they've been through.

One guitarist over did things while taking LSD and simply disappeared for several years, another was kicked out after developing relations with Mick Fleetwood's wife, and another just walked off one day and joined a religious cult.

Over time, the music's changed almost as much as the line-up, but somehow, through it all, Mick Fleetwood has stayed.

He's kept drumming, the band's kept playing, and Fleetwood Mac has kept selling.

As he approaches 63 years of age, Mick Fleetwood accepts he's an ageing rocker.

But with good health, good band relationships - and most importantly good sales - Fleetwood Mac's next New Zealand gig shouldn't be so far away.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


A massive crowd Saturday Night at The Bowl of Brooklands
(in the rain no less)
The first of two shows in New Plymouth, New Zealand

Go Your Own Way

Photo by: TommyB8S


Fleetwood Mac hit
New Plymouth
Source: ONE News

Watch The Video

Fleetwood Mac took to the stage at New Plymouth's bowl of Brooklands on Saturday night in the first of their two sold-out concerts.

At 62 Mick Fleetwood is savouring the finer things in life such as the adoration of 17,000 fans watching him perform.

"This is a real book marker in Fleetwood Mac's history, coming back here. I hope we make it through the gig," he said before the concert.

The last time Fleetwood and his band were welcomed for a Kiwi concert was back in 1980 but the band is still playing music and still touring the world.

Fleetwood has now spent over 40 years in showbiz as it was 1967 when he first drummed for the original Fleetwood Mac.

As they have wracked up their hits the group has battled through arguments, drug addiction and about six or seven different guitarists.

Through it all Fleetwood Mac still sells. Tickets to the New Plymouth concerts were sold out and the best of album has spent weeks in the New Zealand charts.

With younger generations of fans these days Fleetwood says the band's next Kiwi concert will not be such a long wait.

Fleetwood Mac's Big Mick
By David Farrier

3News Video

Full Interview with Mick Fleetwood
Watch The 20 Minute Video Interview

Fleetwood Mac are on of music’s iconic bands.

Formed in 1967 in London, they have seen numerous line-up changes – beginning as a straight Blues band, they morphed into a more pop-oriented group.

The man behind the helm is Mick Fleetwood.

It has been 29 years since Fleetwood Mac played in New Zealand; their drummer and namesake now an impressive 63-years-old.

Fast forward nearly three decades, and Mick Fleetwood is glad to be back, aware that after all the drugs and inter-band relationships between Lindsay, Mick and Stevie – they are lucky to be around.

“Yeah, the passion or desperation, or the fear factor,” says Mick about what has kept the group together.

“No, it’s the first.”

Passion, that is, allowing them to make music for 42 years.

“Coming back here is a real line in the sand in terms of, you know, we will wake up sweating. Those dreams, sit up, oh my God, we didn't do that did we?”

They probably did, but regardless, it all resulted in great music.

Their songs and rock and roll lifestyle are now ingrained in pop culture.

The first ever episode of Flight of the Conchords even contained a Fleetwood Mac joke; Rhys Darby keen to interrupt our interview and get Fleetwood's take on it.

“When I did the gag about you guys and the album ‘Rumors’, just going back, Brett said ‘Oh, do they have foursomes?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s just rumours’, did you appreciate the gag?” Darby asked.

Mick did appreciate it.

“We have a humour about the fact that our lives were incredibly public. Really we were stupid enough to do interviews like this and talk openly about who we are and what we are,” he said.

It is that openness, combined with the bands musical talents that have led to 100 million in record sales, and now, 42 years in, two shows in New Plymouth.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Directions to the venue for visitors in New Plymouth




Pollstar has compiled its year-end research from 2000 to 2009 and come up with the highest-grossing touring artists of North America for the decade.

According to POLLSTAR Fleetwood Mac placed #33 in the Top 50 grossing 146.2 million between 2000 & 2009 with 1.7 million tickets sold. Not bad for only two world tours this decade.