Fleetwood Mac’s success and longevity is categorised by the perfect storm of intra-band relationship drama, superb song writing and pure talent and ability.
All of the above were on display during their two and half hour, 23 song set at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
Fleetwood Mac is the kind of effortlessly casual band that impress not through carefully choreographed solos and theatrical trickery, but just by being bloody good at what they do.
We went along and picked out the eight best tracks from the show.
Second Hand News
Mick Fleetwood took the honours as best on ground in the early part of the show, from the second the steadying bass drum backbone of alt country-ish opener ‘The Chain’ kicked in. But it was the complex-yet-breezy ‘Second Hand News’ that provided the first real highlight. Fleetwood’s rolling snare drum both anchored and drove the track, which was the first to get the audience up and moving. (A six-minute drum solo in the ‘World Turning’ interlude was Fleetwood’s big moment, but it was his reliability behind the kit that was most impressive.
The bouncing sugar-sweet pop of ‘Everywhere’ was another song that had the audience beaming and on their feet. The Fleetwood Mac of 2015 is a band that looks like they’re plain having fun on stage, particularly following the return of Christine McVie after a 16 year touring absence. Stevie Nicks might be the bands’ poet and most recognisable member, but McVie’s underrated vocals are consistent and clean. ‘Everywhere’ is a tune that goes above and beyond thanks to the band’s chemistry, with Nicks and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham joining for the harmony and providing an extra kick.
Nicks might lumber around the stage like Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but she still has dem pipes. Her signature twirls are now few and far between – though the impressive collection of shawls remain, thank goodness – but vocally, the Nicks of 2015 is damn close to the Nicks of 1979.
‘Sara’, which would sound ambling and unfocused in the hands of a lesser performer, saw Nicks completely in control, and was another scene in the Buckingham Nicks show.
The song saw the duo play up their relationship, gazing at each other as they sang the lyrics “I think I have met my match”, while dancing face to face like characters from the Rumours album come to life.
Buckingham fired right up as the show went on, as he progressed from slowly stalking the stage in the early moments, to putting on an all-out rock star performance worthy of Angus Young by night’s end.
The formerly synth-pop ‘Big Love’ brought him on stage alone, and was transformed into an arresting flamenco guitar number that filled the arena with intensity and urgency. It saw the audience at its most still and attentive for the night, and solidified Buckingham’s spot as one of the sharpest guitarists in the business.
‘Big Love’ kicked off a 20-minute acoustic stanza that provided the most captivating and emotional portion of the gig. With just Buckingham and Nicks left on sparsely lit stage – though the hundreds of iPhones in the air added an extra shade of light – the duo launched into a sped up version of ‘Landslide’. Again, it was a song that managed to showcase the chemistry and insane skill of the two, without a hint of showing off.
Never Going Back Again
Another Buckingham solo number, but with backing vocals from Nicks, ‘Never Going Back Again’ was slowed right down as the lead guitarist drew out every note and lyric of the two-minute track into something of a five-minute opus that started with a whisper and finished with a howl.
A slow psychedelic jam that burst into a South American-style marching band rhythm, upon the addition of tribal drums and horns. ‘Tusk’ is another song that seems like a whole lot of fun for Fleetwood Mac to play, and their energy was contagious.
Go Your Own Way
The band’s signature karaoke classic was their last song before encore, and epitomises everything about the band. Written by Buckingham as a dig at Nicks following the demise of their relationship, the song has lost none of its passion or pain, despite being close to 40 years old. While you get the sense that you’re watching Buckingham and Nicks playing hammed up versions of themselves, it’s still a cracker of a song whichever way you look at it, and a darn fine way to spend three minutes of your time.