Sunday, August 18, 2019

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Sydney Aug 15, 2019

Fleetwood Mac review: Neil's in, and it's not a too-crowded house
By Michael Bailey


Qudos Bank Arena, 15 August

It was apt that Frankenstein's monster was on the big screens as Neil Finn played I Got You on this night with, blimey, Fleetwood Mac.

For this unlikely melding of Kiwi artiness and California slickness was thanks to the 'Mac going back to the lab. Sixties bluesers who owned the late 1970s after sewing on folk duo Buckingham Nicks, last year they shafted Lindsey Buckingham and grafted on one of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, Mike Campbell, plus the singer-songwriter from Split Enz and Crowded House.

The experiment ended better on this night than Dr. Frankenstein's did, although as in Mary Shelley's novel, the motivations weren't perfectly clear.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie, and frontwomen Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks certainly seemed pleased with their antipodean addition, and not just because Finn's presence meant they could book four nights at this arena instead of the three they could justify when they last visited in 2015.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Show #1 Fleetwood Mac Live in Sydney, AU August 15, 2019

Following the departure of Lindsey Buckingham, Neil Finn stepped in to play with Fleetwood Mac
Kathy McCabe, National music writer, News Corp Australia Network
The Weekly Times
Photos: Christian Gilles

The Chain has been a Fleetwood Mac concert opener seemingly forever, an ode to the musical bond which has bound these legendary artists together against the odds.

That bond has been stretched and tested and snapped over the decades thanks to their well-documented divisions and most recently last year when Lindsey Buckingham not-so-amicably parted company with Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John and Christine McVie.

Perhaps now The Chain better represents the connection between the band and their millions of fans around the world as they continue their farewell victory lap of the globe.

The signature song also served to satisfy the curiosity of fans new, old and somewhere in between, about how Neil Finn and Tom Petty’s longtime sideman Mike Campbell fit into this iteration of the legendary rock band.

A natural interplay both vocally and as performers between Finn and Nicks was further underscored when they were matched in Second Hand News.

There’s definitely no doubt he is loving this gig.

Christine McVie, who returned to the band in 2013 after a 16 year hiatus, may not possess as much lead vocal strength as in decades past but her harmonic presence and keyboard virtuosity are essential to this farewell tour.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Fleetwood Mac "Man of the World" Live in Perth, Australia August 11, 2019

Watch Fleetwood Mac Play ‘Man of the World’ for First Time in 50 Years
Band also brings out 1975 deep cut “Blue Letter,” which they hadn’t played since 1990


Fleetwood Mac brought their world tour down to Australia for a month-long run of shows late last week, and during the second concert at the RAC Arena in Perth Sunday they expanded the setlist by playing the Peter Green-era classic “Man of the World” for the first time since 1969. Check out fan-shot video of the song right here. “We’re going to debut this song now which was one of [Green’s] great songs,” Neil Finn told the crowd before they did it. “It’s an honor and a privilege for me to play it for you.”

The show also featured the Split Enz song “I Got You,” which was in the setlist when the tour began in October but vanished after just eleven shows. Neil Finn is native to New Zealand and the 1979 song hit Number One there in addition to Australia, so bringing it back into the set was a no-brainer. More surprising was the return of “Blue Letter” from the 1975 Fleetwood Mac LP, which the band hadn’t played since the Behind The Mask tour in 1990.

Before the tour began, Stevie Nicks told Rolling Stone that she wanted to play songs they hadn’t touched in a long time, including ones from the Peter Green period of the late 1960s and early 1970s. “There are 10 hits we have to do,” she said. “That leaves another 13 songs if you want to do a three-hour show. Then you crochet them all together and you make a great sequence and you have something that nobody has seen before except all the things they want to see are there. At rehearsal, we’re going to put up a board of 60 songs. Then we start with number one and we go through and we play everything. Slowly you start taking songs off and you start to see your set come together.”

Fleetwood Mac’s Australia/New Zealand leg ends September 21st with a show at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. They then return to North America in late October to make up for seven shows they postponed earlier this year when Stevie Nicks came down with the flu.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Fleetwood Mac 2019 deliver a show with something for everyone - Perth Aug 9, 2019

LIVE: FLEETWOOD MAC – Perth, 9 August, 2019
RAC Arena, Perth, Western Australia
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Damien Crocker

How do you know when a band is ubiquitously iconic?

When the opening notes of practically every song they play are instantly recognisable to fifteen thousand people whose ages and backgrounds range from teens to pensioners, and across all demographics.

It sure doesn’t hurt that the noticeable absence of Lindsey Buckingham (hey – vocal harmony combinations like his, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie are one in a billion) is brilliantly filled by not one but two guitarist/singers with almost as impressive careers as theirs.

Mike Campbell, sidekick to Tom Petty in The Heartbreakers even before that band formed, is a laid back presence on the stage, and Neil Finn – of Split Enz, Crowded House and solo fame – needs no introduction, especially in this neck of woods, and he enjoyed a rousing cheer at every turn.

Anyway, this is one band which is no stranger to radical personnel changes, and their early, bluesier days with founding guitarist Peter Green get a very welcome revisit tonight with a darkly gothic take on Black Magic Woman, Nicks re-purposing the lyrics from the titular woman’s perspective, and a raunchy romp through Oh Well with Campbell taking the lead vocals and him and Finn tearing it up with a fiery guitar rough n’ tumble.

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live at RAC Arena Perth August 9, 2019

Sean Drill
Photo: Linda Dunjey
(view more photos at the link above)

Is there any band that has undergone more line-up changes, infighting, break-ups and love-ups than Fleetwood Mac? 52 years together with 19 line-up changes in that time, it was the years between December ’74 and August ’87 where the hit machine was in its most prolific and popular form.

It was this configuration (almost!) we got to see on Friday evening. Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks were all present. Who wasn’t, however, was the recently and unceremoniously dumped Lindsey Buckingham. Not surprisingly, this void could not be replaced by a single individual, instead vocal and rhythm guitar duties were taken by Neil Finn (Split Enz/Crowded House) and Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers).

With no opening act and the RAC Arena at full capacity, Mick Fleetwood took to the stage to a roar of applause. A giant screen behind projected footage of his foot laying down the opening beat to The Chain while the rest of the band and backing performers took their places.

It was a simple stage layout with minimal decorations but it worked to keep the focus on the performers.

Friday, August 09, 2019

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Perth August 9, 2019

Fleetwood Mac: Australian tour opens with emotional first night – now with added Neil Finn

By Bob Gordon
The Guardian
Photographs: Duncan Barnes

RAC Arena, Perth
If Lindsey Buckhingham must be replaced, best to do it with the likes of Finn and Mike Campbell. In the legendary band’s latest incarnation, the magic of the music lives on.

Fleetwood Mac are a lore unto themselves. While the Rumours-era line-up holds the romance (mostly broken) for the majority of its fandom, it is the 11th line-up in a total of 19. This is a band who, aside from the rock-solid rhythm section footing of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, has weathered more life and loss than most. Anyone else, no matter how famous or beloved, has come and gone … some returning, and then going again.

So despite the uproar that followed the 2018 announcement that Lindsey Buckingham had been let go, it was, in the context of history, less of an anomaly and more a case of showbusiness-as-usual. The regard held for new members Neil Finn and Mike Campbell is clear and present all evening on the opening night of the band’s Australian tour – from the sentiments offered from the stage by Fleetwood, vocalist Stevie Nicks and vocalist/pianist Christine McVie, to the time given to showcase the talent of the new breed.

Mick Fleetwood walks out onstage first to a legion of cheers, promptly applauding the crowd before his bass drum brings in The Chain and his bandmates take the stage. It’s spine-tingling from the get-go; Stevie Nicks is reassuringly draped in black with sleeves, long lace, braids and beads on her microphone stand and arms, while John McVie’s classic bass intro to the song’s outro is just well, classic. Notably, Neil Finn on guitar/vocals is immediately a strong presence as is former Heartbreaker Mike Campbell, who owns the lead break.

“Welcome Perth. We’ve done 62 shows in the US and Europe and this is show 63,” Nicks says by way of greeting. The singing icon sounds worryingly hoarse, but her voice warms to the occasion within a few songs.

Christine McVie’s Little Lies raises spirits and hands, and Dreams is suitably dreamy: Nicks’ voice folds warmly into it, her hands exuberantly working a tambourine. A huge chandelier hangs from above, its grandeur complemented by video screens switching from noir-framed mansion staircases to sunny Californian coastlines in washed-out ‘70s colour.

Fleetwood Mac, as such, are augmented by keyboardist Ricky Peterson, guitarist Neale Heywood, percussionist Taku Hirano and backing vocalists Marilyn Martin and Sharon Celani, though everyone is working up a storm onstage. Second Hand News finds Finn on lead vocal, turning slightly sideways to face Nicks as they sing, similar to the time-honoured manner she did with Buckingham.

Say You Love Me Brings the smiles, but when Nicks introduces Black Magic Woman claiming that she initially though it was by another big band (that’s Santana, by the way), she takes band-founder Peter Green’s vocal and sings it “from the eyes of a woman and here she comes now.” The song becomes an extended blues jam, all personnel shining, all giving each other perfect space. 

“Okay now for a complete contrast,” says Christine McVie, as the pop feel of Everywhere is followed by the Finn-fronted Spit Enz hit, I Got You. The contrast continues with Rhiannon immediately bringing the crowd to its feet. There’s tingles aplenty as the older voice gives new weight to this dark, Welsh tale and Nicks receives absolute applause for her signature song.

Live set mainstay, World Turning, is led vocally by Finn and McVie but remains Fleetwood’s showcase, from the video montage of the man through the years to his wild, lively call-and-response drum solo, which features master percussionist Hirano. He soon comes to the front of the stage armed with his beloved African talking drum, shouting joy at the crowd before the band closes the song, and Fleetwood delivers some loving band introductions, notably for Campbell and Finn, the latter’s name almost bringing down the roof. McVie is described as “the songbird,” Nicks the “eternal romantic” and lastly, bassist John McVie as being “always on my right-hand-side, no doubt the backbone of Fleetwood Mac.”

Nicks’ eternal romance is showcased in Gypsy and Landslide, though those two songs are split by Campbell fronting a mean and dirty run through Peter’s Green’s Oh Well: all riffage and world-weary with angry young man attitude.

From rock to jewel, Fleetwood gives a heartfelt introduction to Finn’s Don’t Dream It’s Over. The Crowded House staple is delivered with the expected tender gusto from Finn, but as Nicks takes the lead on the final verse it steps into a previously unexpected dimension. “A song like that comes along once on a million years,” she states at song’s end. “It’s magnificent.”

In 1982, Hold Me – from the band’s album Mirage – was quite the hit single, but over the years seems largely forgotten in the haze of decades of multi-platinum success. Tonight it returns, a compelling soft-rocker that allows each member to shine. It’s followed by Christine McVie’s Rumours-era track You Make Loving Fun, about the man she left John McVie for in 1977. One wonders what he makes of it all, playing this irresistibly giddy love song every night on tour.

From Rumours’ most happy moment to perhaps its most ominous, Gold Dust Woman find Nicks in a golden shawl, delivering a trademark dark Hollywood Hills evocation. It’s a bravura performance that inspires a fair few arms-undulating “Stevies” in the audience, too.

Go Your Own Way provides a majestic and rousing end to the main set, with Finn – having completed a winning lead vocal – ending the song on the drum riser, eye-to-eye with Fleetwood, looking for all the world like a kid who cannot believe his luck.

Thursday, August 08, 2019

INTERVIEW Fleetwood Mac Sunday Night Australia TV Special

Fleetwood Mac Sunday Night Australia TV Special

INTERVIEW Mick Fleetwood and Neil Finn Sunday TV New Zealand

Kiwi music legend Neil Finn is famed for his bands, Split Enz and Crowded House.  But when one of the world's biggest acts, Fleetwood Mac, offered him a lead role in their group, he couldn't say no.

Next thing, he was stepping straight into playing alongside Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood with the band who've bewitched audiences on and off the stage for more than 50 years.

Originally aired on Sunday TV New Zealand

Fleetwood Mac concert-goers are demanding refunds

Fleetwood Mac concert-goers are demanding refunds after the iconic band performed at two London shows at Wembley Stadium on Sunday and Tuesday evening.
Evening Standard
By Rebecca Speare-Cole

Some fans praised the “absolutely fantastic” and “incredible” event from parts of Wembley Stadium, but others complained that the band's music sounded “terrible” due to the audio set-up.

The legendary band performed in the capital as part of their 28-date tour around the world.

The Pretenders also performed as the band's supporting act and Harry Styles from One Direction made a surprise appearance on Tuesday, even bringing along his mother to the gig.

Stevie Nicks dedicated the song Landslide to the One Direction star, saying: "He’s really a gentleman, sweet and talented and boy that appeals to me.”

However, hundreds of the 90,000 people in the crowd, who paid up to £150 for a ticket, are demanding a refund after claiming they were unable to hear “anything but echo”.

Sue Allen tweeted on Wednesday morning after the show: “Shocking sound quality at #FleetwoodMac at Wembley last night. Left early. V disappointed and will be pursuing a refund."

Another fan who said the bought three tickets costing £51.70 tweeted that: “the sound system was terrible. It was one of the most expensive concerts I have ever been too and am so upset at how bad the sound was.

“I do feel under the circumstances that some sort of refund is due.”

On Sunday Jules Swain posted a video which appeared to support their claims of poor sound at the show, saying “You need to fix the sound!!! Can’t tell a word they’re singing.”

“At Wembley – can’t hear anything but echo - £300 on tickets – you are awesome but sadly your sound people have massively let you down,” one twitter user said.

Helen Murray said: “Sound system at Sunday concern in block 122 row 39 was DREADFUL. The echo was painful and completely spoilt the show.”

According to fans, Live Nation, the concert’s organisers, are refusing to offer refunds.

Despite the sound issues, many people celebrated their experience on Twitter, with one user saying: “Best experience of my life to date! @fleetwoodmac were absolutely fantastic.”

Another wrote: “Fleetwood Mac last night @wembleystadium were absolutely incredible. Have to say when Stevie Nicks began singing I got literal goosebumps. Such a special evening thank you."

The Mac produced nothing short of a spectacle in a packed-out Wembley Stadium.

Fleetwood Mac put the past to bed at their second and final Wembley Stadium show
By Bobby Rathore
The Line of Best Fit

The turbulence of Fleetwood Mac off-stage is essential to their energy, chemistry and intimacy on-stage; it's fuelled them for over 50 years. Tonight, the angry ghost of Lindsey Buckingham was keenly felt, but nonetheless, The Mac produced nothing short of a spectacle in a packed-out Wembley Stadium.

A tour set against the backdrop of Buckingham's looming absence did not derail this battle-scarred band. It was difficult not to feel a fleeting twinge of sadness at the erstwhile frontman; his distinctive voice and masterful guitar-playing undeniable; his tension and on-stage chemistry with Stevie Nicks achingly romantic.

Despite this undercurrent of loss, tonight Fleetwood Mac demonstrated that the band is bigger than the sum of its parts - an idea already developed through their shifting line-ups through the ages. Tonight’s show was a careful balance of nostalgia and restoration, as the two newest members, Neil Finn from Crowded House and Mark Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, showed their worth. Their clever use of these two replacements to do something different worked tonight in a way that left the audience both surprised, heartwarmed and elated.

The band start off steadily, despite the racing tune “The Chain” opening the night - after sixty-one shows this year already, weariness could be rearing its ugly head. Before any of the audience members can even formulate this thought into a lasting opinion, Stevie Nicks unleashes her wild on-stage persona, shaming 90,000 people for even toying with the idea that this would not be worth the ticket price. “Second Hand News” transforms Nick’s famous tasselled sleeves into air drumming drum sticks as she bangs them through the air, encouraging Mick Fleetwood’s relentless energy on percussion.

From hereon in, the show was set. “World Turning” is welcomely interrupted by the elected showman for the night - “don’t be shy” screams Mick Fleetwood during a close-to-ten-minute solo and drum battle with Taku Hirano. Fleetwood jumps up from his impressive percussion set and starts banging on a handheld drum, inciting Taku and the crowd even further, and just when the drumming is beginning to sound like thunder, the band take us back to “World Turning”. The sound issues that plagued Sunday's show are mercifully absent throughout. It's a moment that drives home Fleetwood Mac’s sheer energetic agelessness - they are a band that do not grow old.

With songs being dedicated to Tom Petty, Jimmy Iovine and Harry Styles, and an audience comprised of millenials with their grandparents, Fleetwood Mac’s performance tonight showcased their timelessness in a fashion that only the likes of The Rolling Stones can match.
  • The Chain
  • Little Lies
  • Dreams
  • Second Hand News
  • Say You Love Me
  • Black Magic Woman
  • Everywhere
  • Rhiannon
  • World Turning
  • Gypsy
  • Oh Well
  • Don't Dream It's Over (Crowded House cover)
  • Landslide
  • Hold Me
  • You Make Loving Fun
  • Gold Dust Woman
  • Go Your Own Way
  • Free Fallin' (Tom Petty cover)
  • Don't Stop

After 52 years Fleetwood Mac can still sell out Wembley - June 16, 2019

Fleetwood Mac at Wembley Stadium — has the chain been broken?

Ludovic Hunter-Tilney
Financial Times

After 52 years the band can still sell out Wembley Stadium but the latest line-up change may be a rupture too far.

A tour by one of the biggest bands in rock history is always notable, but “An Evening with Fleetwood Mac” might have been particularly special. When it was conceived, there were suggestions that it could have been Fleetwood Mac’s swansong. A new album was in the offing too, a final recording. But the band’s penchant for volatility has once again intervened.

It is the second tour since Christine McVie officially rejoined their ranks in 2014. The keyboardist-singer played a key role writing some of their biggest hits, and the new Fleetwood Mac album was to have been written by her and guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingham. But singer Stevie Nicks did not want to record a new Mac album, so instead it appeared under McVie’s and Buckingham’s joint name in 2017.

The next twist came with Buckingham’s exit from the group, reportedly after reigniting his long-running feud with his ex-lover Nicks. He stomped off to play solo shows in the US last year, where his setlist included a pointed rendition of the Fleetwood Mac song “Never Going Back Again”. Meanwhile, his septuagenarian former bandmates are touring the world with a nostalgia-circuit setlist and no talk of farewells.

Fleetwood Mac review, Wembley Stadium: Band perform with too much zest for this to be a simple exercise in nostalgia
It is difficult not to occasionally feel the lack of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, less for his guitar wizardry than for the tense, loaded chemistry he always shared with ex-partner Stevie Nicks

Alexandra Pollard
Photo by looper23

“It’s unbelievable that we’re all still doing this,” proclaims Mick Fleetwood from behind his vast drum set onstage at Wembley Stadium. The “all” isn’t quite accurate – for one thing, guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was unceremoniously ousted from the band last year, reportedly after smirking at Stevie Nicks – but he has a point nonetheless. Fleetwood Mac have come to the brink of self-destruction more times than there are people in this enormous stadium.

Fifty-one years after the band first formed (though Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are the only founding members remaining), this is “the 61st show of a long trip we’ve been on since September”, announces Stevie Nicks. She says so with just a hint of weariness – the energy, at first, is a little fatigued, the first few songs sung seemingly by rote. But things take a turn by the time “Second Hand News” comes around, taken from their seminal 1977 album Rumours, which was recorded when the band were tied up in romantic knots and barely speaking to each other. Nicks, an occult leader all in black, suddenly clicks into gear, air drumming along to Fleetwood’s hugely impressive percussion.