REVIEW: What to expect at Fleetwood Mac show

Spoiler alert: What to expect from Fleetwood Mac’s Australian tour

Fleetwood Mac are an unmissable icons, and the opening night of their Aussie ‘On With The Show’ tour was a rockfest of the highest calibre. The famed five piece lineup – back together after 16 years of playing sans Christine McVie were on absolute top form, and all members played with the stamina and energy of performers decades their junior.

68-year-old Mick Fleetwood tore up on percussion, while guitar king Lindsey Buckingham went strong all night – the only member not to take a break for a single song the whole set.

Sydney’s Allphones Arena was buzzing with anticipation for the show’s start, and by the time the iconic opening riff of 1977’s ‘The Chain’ rang out, the atmosphere was at fever pitch, and fans were cheering from the get go.

With almost fifty years of first-class material to choose from, there wasn’t a single number the whole evening that wasn’t adored by the crowd. Hits ‘Second Hand News’ and ‘Rhiannon’ went off, and the older crowd demographic definitely didn’t hinder the upbeat, rocking ambience of the night.

An unexpectedly sweet highlight of the night was the rendition of ‘Bleed to Love Her’ from 1997’s The Dance album, the last record the group performed before Chrstine McVie took her departure. Buckingham shared the story of the song, a number that delves into some of the emotion and heartbreak the band has been through personally, and together as a group. Buckingham and McVie shared a couple of sentimental glances, and the number overall was quite touching and sweet.

Stevie Nicks was an absolute treat to look at in her opening ensemble, the kind of outfit that you could just keep looking at and discovering something new. Gypsy crow meets Slovenian grandmother probably describes it – flowing, lacy, glittery, and fabulous, it was classic Nicks, and it was glorious.

The ‘prodigal daughter’ of the group Christine McVie absolutely defied her age, looking elegant, playing beautifully, and bringing an understated air of graciousness to the stage.

Bassist John McVie kept it cool and calm in the wings, opting out of the spotlight and any showboating, but absolutely shredding the whole night. From his deep licks to his gritty endurance you’d never know he is suffering any health problems, and was a pillar and backbone to the whole night’s sound.

Taking a break from the hugeness of the rock show, Lindsey Buckingham performed a cranking solo of Tango in the Night’s single ‘Big Love’ before a short acoustic set with Stevie Nicks covering ‘Landslide’ and ‘Never Going Back Again’.

Rejoined by the rest of the band, they launched into ‘Think About Me’, before playing through an overwhelming stream of hit after hit. ‘Gypsy‘ followed by ‘Little Lies’, and ‘Gold Dust Woman’, before an absolutely massive ‘I’m So Afraid’ culminated in Buckingham screaming with reckless abandon slapping his frets and letting the front row fans play his guitar – the whole moment was so classic rock that it looked like it might end with Buckingham just smashing his guitar right there on stage, though fortunately he restrained himself enough to keep it to jumping on the spot while the crowd lost themselves in the rock.

Finishing up the set with ‘Go Your Own Way’, by the time the number was over not a single person in the arena was sitting, and there were more than a few people wiping a tear from their eyes.

It would be a sin for a band of this calibre to not come back out for an encore, and the crowd revelled in ‘World Turning’, which led into a several minute long Mick Fleetwood drum solo, a number that highlighted just how damn great the guy is, both behind a kit, and on the microphone. The crowd cheered, laughed, and played off Fleetwood as he mirthfully and wildly rocked out.

‘Don’t Stop’ was a roof raiser, with the whole arena harmonising, and would have been a massive high to finish on – however the group opted go out on a softer note, playing through ‘Silver Springs’ together, before finally closing on a Buckingham McVie duet in ‘Songbird’.

Following the final number Fleetwood returned to the stage for a heartfelt thank you to the fans, to his bandmates, and a timely reminder to take care of ourselves in this crazy world we now find ourselves in. From his little speech, echoing an earlier sentiment Nicks had shared, it’s clear the group is from another time, and however relevant they have made themselves in today’s culture, they are in fact a little world weary.

Fleetwood has hinted in recent interviews that On With The Show will likely be the very final tour of the band – at least as the iconic five-piece they have once again found themselves. His little speech was emotive, and perhaps a touching, if veiled farewell.

Maybe it was something in the water, but the 70s seemed to breed a different set of performers, and Fleetwood Mac are among some of the best. The group should basically be a ‘how to guide’ for current musos on how to put on an unforgettable performance. Thursday’s opening night of their Australian tour was absolutely exceptional, a simply wonderful night, and remarkable performance.

Setlist

‘The Chain’
‘You Make Loving Fun’
‘Dreams’
‘Second Hand News’
‘Rhiannon’
‘Everywhere’
‘Bleed to Love Her’
‘Tusk’
‘Sara’
‘Say You Love Me’
‘Big Love’
‘Landslide’
‘Never Going Back Again’
‘Think About Me’
‘Gypsy’
‘Little Lies’
‘Gold Dust Woman’
‘I’m So Afraid’
‘Go Your Own Way’

Encore
‘World Turning’
‘Don’t Stop’
‘Silver Springs’

Encore 2
‘Songbird’

FLEETWOOD MAC AUSTRALIA TOUR DATES

Thursday, 22nd October 2015
Allphones Arena, Sydney

Saturday, 24th October 2015
Allphones Arena, Sydney

Sunday, 25th October 2015
Allphones Arena, Sydney

Wednesday, 28th October 2015
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Friday, 30th October 2015
Domain Stadium (Formerly Patersons Stadium), Perth

Monday, 2nd November 2015
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Wednesday, 4th November 2015
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Friday, 6th November 2015
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Saturday, 7th November 2015
A Day On The Green, Mt Duneed Estate, Geelong

Tuesday, 10th November 2015
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

Thursday, 12th November 2015
Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

Saturday, 14th November 2015
Hope Estate Winery, Hunter Valley

Sunday, 15th November 2015
Hope Estate Winery, Hunter Valley

Wednesday, 18th November 2015
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

Tickets and info at www.livenation.com.au

Hannah Teape-Davis / Tone Deaf / Friday, October 2015