REVIEW: Meet the new, improved Fleetwood Mac live

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Fleetwood Mac looked at home on stage at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena (Photo: Thom Devereux)

Fleetwood Mac erupted onto stage at Margaret Court Arena on the evening of September 7, the An Evening with Fleetwood Mac tour marking the group’s first Australian visit in almost four years.

Much has changed in those four years, with lead guitarist Lindsey Buckingham (who joined the group in 1974) departed, their current lineup featured long-time members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, as well as newcomers Mike Campbell and Neil Finn.

The five-time Grammy-nominated group wasted no time diving into the classics, entering without introduction into a perfect rendition of The Chain. Before long, former Split Enz and Crowded House vocalist and guitarist Finn stepped into the shoes left behind Buckingham to lead on Second Hand News.

Neil Finn, formerly of Split Enz and Crowded House, joined Fleetwood Mac in 2018 as a replacement for Lindsey Buckingham.
(Photo: Ralph_PH, Flickr via CC).

If there was anyone missing Buckingham, they must have been three or four sold-out arenas away. Finn exceeded expectations with his pitch perfect vocals and lively on-stage chemistry with not only Nicks but also new recruit Campbell. Campbell, former lead guitarist of Tom Petty’s Heatbreakers until Perry’s death in 2017, also brought a warm feeling to the stage; his detailed and well lengthened solos screamed over classics, and his grungy, worn voice echoed across the arena when taking the lead for Oh Well.

“ARE YEH WIT MEH?” drummer Mick Fleetwood screamed through his thick Scottish accent at the audience during his 15-minute long solo, slowly building the crowd’s roars before Finn and Nicks treated them with a duet of Australian classic Don’t Dream It’s Over, the whole audience swaying in fluid motion, singing as one, waving lights in unison.

Mike Campbell, formerly of Tom Petty’s The Heartbreaker, has performed with Fleetwood Mac, also replacing Buckingham in 2018.
(Photo: Ralph_PH, Flickr via CC).

Rumours featured heavily throughout the show’s setlist, with You Make Loving Fun, Gold Dust Woman, and Go Your Own Way forming the finale of the band’s set, the final drawing out, with lyrics shouted from the band, only to be returned by the crowd. Responding to the audible demand for an encore, Fleetwood Mac returned to emotionally cover Free Fallin’, a tribute to close friend Petty. The group finished with an extended and explosive rendition of Don’t Stop, each member bringing magic in their solos, before Fleetwood departed the stage with a beautiful sentiment: “Be kind to one another”.

Not one person attended wasn’t singing, dancing or crying to a show that seemed much more personal than just a band performing for a crowd. Nicks performed with a raw sexuality that screamed of the 70s, with each tracks coming to life as though you were hearing Rumours on vinyl for the first time in 1977.

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