Saturday, August 24, 2019

Who would have thought that we'd still be seeing Fleetwood Mac in 2019?

Seeing Fleetwood Mac in 2019 is a strange experience — but they’ve always been a strange band

By Dan Condon
Photos Robbie Smith

 If their songs weren't so strong, endurance may be Fleetwood Mac's greatest legacy

Thirty minutes into Fleetwood Mac's set at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre this week, Stevie Nicks admitted that she didn’t realise 'Black Magic Woman' was a Fleetwood Mac song until well after she’d joined the band.

It's an astounding admission. Sure, the song had been popularised by Santana's 1970 cover, but to not know the extent of your new band's catalogue – especially the hits – before joining is almost unthinkable.

But this says more about the strange and complex entity that is Fleetwood Mac than it does Nicks' own knowledge gaps. This is a band whose history is confusing, whose music is wildly diverse, and who continue to keep us guessing.

Who would have thought that we'd still be seeing Fleetwood Mac in 2019? Moreover, who'd have thought that Neil Finn and Tom Petty collaborator Mike Campbell would join the band?

You don't get a timeline like this without a strange history.

That's why the prospect of seeing this wildly new incarnation of one of the history's most celebrated rock bands doesn't seem completely unfaithful. Consistency is not Fleetwood Mac's strong-point. When their line-up has remained staid, their very existence has been precarious, reportedly fraught with infighting and ill-feelings.

If nothing else, you have to respect the band's endurance. That they are still touring in any form feels almost miraculous.

But are they any good?

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Brisbane August 20, 2019

Andrew McMillen
The Australian

Since it began as a British rock band in 1967, Fleetwood Mac has undergone 19 iterations while steadily adding Americans and, most recently, a New Zealander to its line-up. Its only remaining founding member is drummer Mick Fleetwood, who recently described each version of the group as “incredibly different musical episodes in this Shakespearean play we blundered into”.

Whether at work, at play, at each others’ throats or at risk of dying young from excessive drug consumption, this group of artists has produced some of the finest songs in popular music, which is why tickets to these tours continue to sell at premium prices, and why audiences continue to show up by the tens of thousands.

Few albums in rock ’n’ roll history have sold more copies — or prompted more commentary about the unique interpersonal dynamics that surrounded its creation — than 1977’s Rumours. Towards the end of the year of its release, the group — Fleetwood, singer Stevie Nicks, singer-guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, singerkeyboardist Christine McVie and bassist John McVie — visited Australia for a tour named Rockarena, on a bill that also featured Santana and Little River Band.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

REVIEW Fleetwood Mac Live in Brisbane August 20, 2019

A crowded house for Fleetwood Mac’s Brisbane return
Lydia Lynch

The first few songs of Fleetwood Mac’s Brisbane return roused cringe-worthy flashbacks to one of those work Christmas parties where you end up at a dingy karaoke bar in the early hours of the morning.

The sound was off, the vocals felt groggy and the sparkle that fuelled decades of success for the 50-year-old band was just not there.

That was until the group launched into the first bars of Black Magic Woman, penned by former band member Peter Green, and the hypnotic Fleetwood Mac spirit arrived.

“When we first went into rehearsal for this tour we went through our history of Fleetwood Mac and we picked out a couple of songs we thought you might enjoy,” Stevie Nicks told the crowd on Tuesday night.

REVIEW An extraordinary group of people comprise Fleetwood Mac these days

Fleetwood Mac @ Qudos Bank Arena - Syndey
15 August 2019 | Beck
Photos Josh Groom

"The hits just kept on coming."

An extraordinary group of people comprise Fleetwood Mac these days - much technical brilliance, decades worth of experience, probably centuries really if you added it all together, and flat-out, no question, critically and commercially tested, outright talent.

Mick Fleetwood, Christine McVie, John McVie and Stevie Nicks may have lost Lindsey Buckingham in the last band shake-up but have added Mike Campbell (ex Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) and Neil Finn to fill the gap and it’s evident from the opening song, The Chain, that they couldn’t have done better.

The hits just kept on coming, and not little ones either. These are the BIG ones. The songs that have been feeding commercial FM radio since its inception. Over two hours worth of songs that are so deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness that we don’t even remember how we know them.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

“It’s huge, and it’s magical,” he said of the latest incarnation of the Fleetwood Mac.

The Courier-mail
By Kathy McCabe

MICK Fleetwood believes the seed for Neil Finn to join the legendary Fleetwood Mac was planted more than 20 years ago.

Ahead of the first of four concerts in Sydney on their world farewell tour, the band’s co-founder said Finn was one of the first people he thought of when Lindsey Buckingham left the band last year.

After the bandmates decided to continue touring, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie enlisted former Tom Petty band member Mike Campbell to join them to play guitar.

And then Fleetwood suggested his “secret weapon” Finn, who he has become “incredibly close”, with their respective families sharing holidays in Auckland.

The drummer also played on their “family album”.

They first met when they were sitting next to each other at a Paul McCartney benefit at the Royal Albert Hall two decades ago and have continued to catch up at random events before forming their firm friendship.

“It’s huge, and it’s magical,” he said of the latest incarnation of the Mac.

“And this funny relationship that I had with Neil, neither of us knowing why it was that we have passed in the dark, so many times. And now we know.”

At the Live Nation Green Room event before the show, the famous drummer said he wouldn’t go into the details behind the separation between the band and Buckingham.

“Note that I’ve said it before, we were not happy, and that was really the crux of, of all the details that don’t need to be known,” he told the invited guests.

Fleetwood also reminded his fans about his other Australian friendships developed when he had a home in Mittagong, close to Jimmy Barnes’s old property.

“We called it Barnesville back in the day,” he said of the Southern Highlands town. Fleetwood credits the generational appeal of the band – and in particular their seminal Rumours record, which remains one of the best-selling vinyl records each year – to their musical integrity.

“And we put our heart into what we do. And we took a lot of trouble whenever we made our albums, and they translated into something that has become somewhat, if not extremely, timeless, which is about the biggest blessing an artist can have especially when you get into your 70s,” he said.

Fleetwood Mac began a four-night stand in Sydney last night and play at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on August 20, 22 and 24.

‘It’s a love story really’: Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks on wooing Neil Finn
Fleetwood Mac brought ‘secret weapon’ Finn into the fold after an ‘incredibly sad, incredibly challenging’ time

By Steph Harmon
The Guardian

Mick Fleetwood described Crowded House frontman Neil Finn as a “secret weapon” he held onto for two decades, before asking him to fly to Hawaii to audition for Fleetwood Mac.

In April 2018, it was announced that longstanding member Lindsey Buckingham would be leaving the band, to be replaced by Finn and Mike Campbell, the guitarist from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

REVIEW Mick Fleetwood is a tornado of flying limbs and screaming lunacy

QUDOS Bank Arena, Sydney Thursday 15 August 2019
Photographer : Joshua South
Reviewer : Louie Smith

Fleetwood Mac conquer the Qudos and ‘unleash the howls’.

Combined feelings of nostalgia, excitement and intrigue swirled along with Stevie Nicks on Thursday night as she spun around in a familiar gypsy fashion. Her hair as luscious as the day she first sung the lyrics “listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise“, although now joined by the legendary lyricist Neil Finn. An obvious and seamless addition, Finn formed some of the most magical moments of the night. His presence felt natural and long time members Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie and the eccentric Mick Fleetwood all revelled in his talent just as Finn did theirs.

He wasn’t the only new addition, with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell demanding the spotlight with his sharp solos, not allowing anyone to neglect his position as he stood side by side the hyped up New Zealander. Both held their own in a night of celebrating one of the most revered catalogues of music and with a crowd of all ages proving the span in which Fleetwood Mac’s music truly transcends.

It’s hard to believe that the four core members are all in their seventh decade of life. “Like a weird flock of birds” they still travel around “this lovely planet of ours”, sharing wisdom and playing shows as if they weren’t a day over twenty. Although time has put limits on McVie and Nicks’ physical abilities their passion and drive still lies deep within their voices. Fleetwood on the other hand is a tornado of flying limbs and screaming lunacy. A drawn out drum instrumental had everyone at arms length, flurrying in and out of a strange trip.

REVIEW Stevie shines on Dreams, Rhiannon and Gold Dust Prompts Standing Ovation

Fleetwood Mac concert review: Hits, new members and one sly dig at Sydney
Fleetwood Mac played the first of several shows in Sydney last night — but new member Neil Finn couldn’t resist a hilarious dig at the city.

By Nick Bond
Photos: Christian Gilles

Sydney’s controversial lockout laws have given the city quite the reputation, it would seem.

Midway through Fleetwood Mac’s first show at Qudos Bank Arena last night, faced with a somewhat timid weeknight audience, the band’s newest member Neil Finn goaded the crowd to get up and dance with a cheeky dig at the Harbour City.

“Remember, you’re out of the inner city now, so that means you can have a good time. You can drink and dance as much as you like,” he teased. “You know you want to.”

This new-look Mac — Lindsey Buckingham unceremoniously dumped last year, replaced by Crowded House star Finn and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers band member Mike Campbell — may take a moment for some fans to adjust to. It’s only as Finn takes centre stage for electric opener The Chain, his vocals carrying the song, that you realise Buckingham’s are big shoes to fill.

To address the elephant in the room: No, Buckingham doesn’t rate so much as a mention during this two-and-a-half hour show.

REVIEW The Fleetwood Mac of today is not some hodge-podge operation

The Fleetwood Mac Sydney show was a testament to their timelessness
By S. B. Williams
Photo Dean Hammer


Last night, Fleetwood Mac descended on Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena. The band treated fans to a career-spanning setlist that proved that though 50 years into their career, the band are not one to rest on their laurels.

The show was Sydney’s first taste of Fleetwood Mac in their new form. Last year, longtime singer, guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham was “let go” from the band after they reached a boiling point over touring disagreements. Buckingham was replaced by New Zealand royalty, Neil Finn of Crowded House and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers guitarist, Mike Campbell.

Whilst it would be futile to deny that the absence of Buckingham was not felt; the new lineup revitalized the band in other ways. The addition of Finn on vocals has ushered in a new era for Fleetwood Mac, one that feels fresh and exciting. The Fleetwood Mac of today is not some hodge-podge operation tenuously thrown together in an attempt to ride the coattails of former glory. Rather, they are a band with a passion that feels tangible, that reinvented themselves out of necessity.

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.