Concert Review: Fleetwood Mac

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They may be old, but they sure don’t act like it.

Fleetwood Mac are the ultimate performers and last nights show at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin was just what fans were after. After the first four songs – The Chain, You Make Loving Fun, Dreams and Second Hand News – my friend turned to me and exclaimed: “and there are still so many good songs to come!” That statement perfectly summed up how you felt the whole night as the band charged through hit after hit with a contagious energy.

Having Christine McVie back on board for this tour was acknowledged by Stevie Nicks early on as being such a blessing and I definitely agree. When the band last toured here in 2009 they were powerful enough with the four of them, but adding her musical abilities and her amazing collection of songs into the mix gave this concert a whole extra layer. It was fantastic to hear Little Lies, Everywhere and Say You Love Me all sung by McVie who’s voice is well intact.

The magic of a band like this is that each and every member is such a talented musician. With three of the best song writers of all time the variation between songs is refreshing when so many acts today sound same-same. Each writers tunes are equally loved by the audience and it sounds fresh and exciting going from an impressive Lindsay Buckingham guitar picking track like Big Love straight to a slow Nicks ballad like Landslide which had the whole crowd captivated.

Other highlights for me included Gypsy which had the whole crowd dancing up a storm, a lovely rendition of Never Going Back Again and an attention grabbing Gold Dust Woman. (In which Nicks appropriately donned a very shiny gold jacket).

As with their last show, Lindsay Buckingham really stood out for me. He lead the action on stage, didn’t take a single break, sang beautifully and played guitar solos that sent shivers down your spine. In comparison, although as compelling as ever, Nicks’ voice is definitely not what it used to be. It’s a pity she can no longer hit the higher notes in tracks like Rhiannon, but she does make up for it in presence.

As the set came to a close with a singalong to be envied during Go Own Way. They came back on to rapturous applause and played World Turning featuring an interactive Mick Fleetwood drum solo in his true, hilarious fashion. Then the crowd went wild as they busted out a foot-stomping Don’t Stop. I thought it was all over then, but my dream came true as the group played Silver Springs, this song was mesmerising, I was completely enthralled as it grew in momentum and their voices built a wall of sound to good to be true. I could have gone home happy then, but we got one more taste of Fleetwood Mac and it came in a beautiful performance of Songbird which left a tear in my eye. What a way to finish.

My only complaint about last night is that the acoustics at Forsyth Barr are shocking. It was my first concert at this venue so I was interested to check it out but the technical quality I witnessed last night doesn’t make me want to travel here for a show again. It’s great having a roof on a cold Dunedin night but the echo at the back of the stands was so bad it hurt your ears. Things got better after we ditched our seats and headed into general admission but only marginally. I was glad I’d seen the group before at the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth because it meant I knew they sounded even better than they were coming across last night.

Still, that said, last nights concert was one hell of a show and worth every cent. Fleetwood Mac are easily one of the best live acts of all time and with a set list as good as that – you can’t go too wrong. Auckland are in for a treat with their two shows this weekend.

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The Ticket Pile

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The favourite thing I have in my bedroom is a large stack of tickets that sits on my dresser and takes pride of place.

I’m such a concert nerd that I keep hold of every ticket. I love nothing more than spending a few hours looking back through the pile, listening to the music and reminiscing on the best nights of my life. No exaggeration there. The best nights of my life are all concerts, there’s no question about it. However, when I look at the pile, I have so many good memories that I could never chose one particular gig as the best. I just have to count myself lucky that I’ve had so many amazing experiences.

Although my Coldplay butterfly confetti, that fell from the ceiling during Lovers In Japan on the bands Viva La Vida tour in 2009, is looking a little worse for wear, it makes me grin with happiness as I remember the truly magical moment.

My shiny, uniquely designed collection of Big Day Out tickets takes me back to the sun-filled days packed in at Mt Smart Stadium, rushing from act to act, with barely enough time to stop for food let alone a toilet break!

My Fleetwood Mac ticket has me craving a dance in the pouring rain at the Bowl of Brooklands and desperate for November to roll around so I can see them live again.

The Bon Iver stub reinforces my desperate need for new music from what is easily one of the best live acts ever to exist.

I could go on forever.

Memorabilia is the best!

Fleetwood Mac are coming to NZ – get excited!

Me and some friends at Fleetwood Mac at the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth 2009
Me and some friends at Fleetwood Mac at the Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth 2009

If you could be any singer, alive or dead, who would you be?

It’s a question I like to ask people. For a music junkie like me, how one answers this question tells me a lot about them. I mean how seriously are you going to take a guy who says he would be Justin Bieber? Maybe there’s something attractive about having a pet monkey, but wouldn’t you rather swoon like Paul McCartney – one of the greatest artists of all time?

So one Easter as I sat in the car on the Auckland motorway, bumper to bumper, barely moving and cringing with distaste at how many hours longer my trip home to New Plymouth would take than normal, I turned to my passengers and asked the question. They’re my friends for a reason. Their answers were Adele, John Lennon and Cat Stevens.

What’s my answer you ask? It’s easy. Stevie Nicks.

So you can imagine my excitement yesterday when Fleetwood Mac announced they’re returning to New Zealand in December to play Auckland’s Vector Arena. Now I’ve calmed myself down enough to write I have four words for you. YOU CAN’T MISS IT!

The band was last here in 2009 when they played New Plymouth’s Bowl of Brooklands and boy oh boy what a concert. I fancy myself as a bit of a concert connoisseur and this gig was easily at the top of the list.

It was a miserable December night for an outdoor venue but the faithful fans gathered in a sea of blue and yellow plastic rain ponchos. The rain never let up and the natural grass amphitheatre quickly became mud. But no worries, the crowd never lost faith and they had good reason to put up with the conditions because as soon as Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood hit the stage the weather was the last thing on their mind for the next three hours.

I still remember it like it was yesterday. Starting off with Monday Morning, The Chain and Dreams, the crowd was whooping and singing every word within seconds. And it didn’t let up the whole set. Nicks is exactly as you’d imagine, wearing a sparkly ‘gyspy’ dress and shaking her body like a true hippy. Buckingham has amazing stage presence, strumming that guitar like his life depended on it. Often the drummer gets lost on stage, but not Fleetwood, he’s as much a part of the performance as the others.

They sang the classics and backed each other up in their solo pieces. Tusk, was perfectly timed. As the sky opened up people stomped their feet in the mud dancing like mad, every time one slipped onto their bum the people around cheered louder and sang louder.

Everyone stood dead still as ex-lovers Nicks and Buckingham sang a chilling rendition of Landslide, a song Nicks wrote when their long relationship was coming to an end, to each other from separate ends of the stage. All before coming together and wrapping up with upbeat crowd favourite Go Your Own Way and power ballad Silver Springs.

It took about three days to wash the mud out of my clothes, but every scrub was worth it.

Fleetwood Mac are a must see in concert so take my advice and go, I’ll see you there!