Dominion Post - Dec 21, 2009
Review of the December 19th FLeetwood Mac show at the Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, NZ
Fleetwood Mac had fans in raptures at two sold out shows in New Plymouth over the weekend. Reviewer Simon Sweetman was there.
From late-60s British blues band to mid-70s American soft-rock superstars, Fleetwood Mac have evolved and endured, the sound almost taking a back seat to the soap-opera antics of the band members.
Inter-band relationships and affairs, along with drug and alcohol abuse, have, somewhat ironically, been the glue for this band, providing material for many of the classic songs.
This version of the Mac features original rhythm section John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). Out front are Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, the singer-songwriters who in the mid-70s took the band to the top of the charts and helped in creating one of the greatest-selling albums of all time, Rumours.
Christine McVie declines the invites to tour the hits these days. Her songs Don't Stop and Say You Love Me were played here, however.
The band began with the lively burst of pop that is Monday Morning, the opening track from the eponymous 1975 album. The audience stood strong as the rain came in, and were treated to The Chain and Dreams, an early one-two punch.
Buckingham owned the stage, stalking with his guitar, low-slung, crouching, peeling off piercing runs of notes, squalling solos that enthralled.
If he was occasionally too intense with his between-song banter detailing the emotional connections – something lost on parts of the audience, there to drink first and listen to the six radio hits they knew – then he certainly saved face with his powerhouse solo acoustic take on Big Love, transformed from the Tango in the Night version.
By the time the set-closing anthem Go Your Own Way was ringing out, Buckingham was receiving healthy ovations for every guitar solo.
Nicks, ever the beguiling performer, manages, still, to very much become the song she is singing – to morph into a character that embodies the white witch of Rhiannon; that is the "poet in my heart" of Sara; that is the Gypsy.
Her tour-de-force moments were Gold Dust Woman and the final encore, Silver Springs. An always tender moment in a Fleetwood Mac show is when Nicks sings Landslide; the emotional journey that she and Buckingham have provided for generations of listeners and for themselves seems to be summed up in the lyric.
John McVie was the quiet rock, as ever, pushing the songs forward with his bass playing, receiving huge applause for the exploratory line that propels The Chain, the concert's first of many truly awesome moments.
And Fleetwood, a towering presence behind the kit, got to show off a touch of his possible madness as he chanted near-gibberish around a drum solo at the end of World Turning.