Fleetwood Mac’s full classic line-up was in fine form before diverse Adelaide crowd.
All photos by Kristy Delaine
Recalling the sports stadium vibe of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” video, Coopers Stadium was an apt setting for one of the last true stadium bands (who surprisingly admitted they rarely play outdoor concerts).
On what could be their last tour, the classic line-up (sorry Peter Green fans) was in fine form in front of a diverse crowd that ranged from baby boomers to 30-somethings raised on their parents’ Fleetwood Mac albums and 20-something women dressed in their best Stevie Nicks-inspired gear. The post-1975 Fleetwood Mac era is one that has it detractors but the all-ages crowd proved how the Nicks/Buckingham era of the band has only become more influential as the years have progressed; excellent songwriting lasts as fashion fades.
Angus & Julia Stone seemed an odd opening choice but they represented a large percentage of the crowd, the children of the original fans. With four back-up musicians, the Stone siblings showed why they were a much better choice than the kinds of acts that usually get picked for these sort of tours (such as Jimmy Barnes or, god forbid, John Farnham), as their Nicks-influenced Gypsy mysticism was prevalent during their largely rock/blues set. The siblings also seemed humbled by the occasion; paying tribute to the headline act once they finished.
I’ve never described a concert as sweet before but the reunited transatlantic group was just that, as former partners Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham walked to the stage hand-in-hand, and Nicks blew kisses to long-time absentee Christine McVie (who has been living the quiet life in her English castle for the past 16 years). The dysfunction behind some of pop and rock’s greatest moments seemed to be all but forgotten. Beginning with “The Chain,” McVie’s brilliant “You Make Loving Fun” showed why she is the secret cog in the Fleetwood Mac machine. As one of the most underrated pop hit makers of the ‘70s and ‘80s, McVie’s collection of earnest pop (“Little Lies,” “Everywhere,” “Think About Me” and “Say You Love Me”) were some of the highlights of a greatest hits concert few bands could match.
Nicks’ “Rhiannon” was an early crowd-pleaser, as the audience up front temporarily got off their seats for the early Nicks/Buckingham Mac era classic. The light rig lowered for Buckingham’s experimental pop masterpiece “Tusk,” with the energetic visionary of the band (who looks extremely fit at 66 years of age) excited by the rousing performance of “Tusk,” jumping up and down at the completion of the marching band classic.
The middle of the show largely showcased Nicks and Buckingham, who proved to be one of the greatest ring-ins in music history when Mick Fleetwood recruited the struggling duo and they helped to turn his blues outfit into a stadium rock/pop behemoth in the mid-‘70s. Buckingham performed a rousing solo rendition of “Big Love” while Nicks’ “Landside” showed that famous husky voice has lost none of its enigma even though Nicks doesn’t twirl with as much as ease as she once did. “Gold Dust Woman” was pure magic before “Go Your Own Way” closed proceedings.
Despite some cheesy moments (drum solos and ‘inspiring’ anecdotes in-between tracks), you could feel the love between the band, who had to cancel their 2013 Australian tour due to John McVie’s (who played his bass unceremoniously in the background) cancer scare.
From a selfish music lover’s point of view, the positive to take from the 2013 cancellation is that the 2015 tour saw Adelaide witness the full classic line-up, complete with John McVie’s former wife, Christine, who drove home her influence with two of the encore’s highlights: “Don’t Stop” and a beautiful rendition of “Songbird.”
A brilliant night for young and old.
Wednesday, October 28
David Knight / Rip It Up / Friday, October 30, 2015