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FLEETWOOD MAC @ RAC Arena gets 9/10


Fleetwood Mac @ RAC Arena

Friday, August 9, 2019

9/10

It was billed as “all the hits that the fans love, plus a few surprises”. With Split Enz, Crowded House and Tom Petty covers, the new look Fleetwood Mac delivered all that and more at their Australian tour opener on Friday.

In fairness, the Mac have been a rotating cast of performers since day dot, with drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie the only constants since their formation in 1967. But replacing singer and guitarist extraordinaire Lindsay Buckingham felt different – in many ways Buckingham has been the driving force of both their concerts and albums for more than four decades, and his stage precence at their 2015 show in Perth was all charisma.


So how did Crowded House frontman Neil Finn and former Tom Petty sideman Mike Campbell go filling that Buckingham-shaped hole? Pretty damn well as it turned out.

Finn in particular shone as the voice of Buckingham. A seasoned performer in his own right, from opener The Chain through main set and encore finales Go Your Own Way and Don’t Stop he more than held his own. In particular, he absolutely brought the house down with Split Enz’ I Got You, and had the crowd in his palm duetting with Stevie Nicks on Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It’s Over. Giving it a Fleetwood Mac twist, Nicks and Finn singing “We know they won’t win” repeatedly together at the end was perhaps the moment of the night – in an evening full of unforgettable moments.


And while Campbell wasn’t quite the guitar hero Buckingham is on stage, his playing was on point throughout, particularly during the extended outro to Go Your Own Way. He also led a spine-tingling cover of Free Falling in the encore, complete with vision of Nicks and Tom Petty singing together onstage. It brought a tear to the face of many in another spectacular highlight.

But the Mac songs were always front and centre. From the opening barrage of hits including The Chain, Little Lies, Dreams, Second Hand News, Say You Love Me and Everywhere, where we got to see Nicks, Finn and Christine McVie’s vocal chemistry from the outset (most notably in McVie’s hits Little Lies and Everywhere), to the pivotal moments like Rhiannon, You Make Loving Fun and Gold Dust Woman – there’s a reason this is one of the most celebrated catalogues in popular music.


Stevie Nicks was in particularly good form, and was obviously loving singing alongside Finn. She slayed Gold Dust Woman, going off completely when she came to the front of the stage and danced with the abandon of someone half her age. At 71, she’s still got the moves.

After Don’t Dream It’s Over, she quipped “and now I have to follow that” to the electrified crowd, but seemed to raise the bar even higher with Landslide, which featured ice candelabras and snow visuals bringing the stage to life as Finn fingerpicked that familiar acoustic guitar part.

Even the drum solo was good as Mick Fleetwood worked his signature crowd involvement into the show. It was also left to Fleetwood to deliver the closing message, sending the crowd on their way: “There will never be a night like tonight – take care of yourselves in this very crazy world we’re living in, be kind to one another.”

It was all over too soon and yes there were a few hits missed – the addition of Tusk, Sara, Seven Wonders and Silver Springs may have just made this the perfect night. But if that’s the only complaint after some major personnel changes and a little over two hours of some of the greatest hits of all time, then you’re doing a lot right, Fleetwood Mac. Bravo. Encore please.

HARVEY RAE

Photos by Giselle Natassia

 

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