Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gig Review: Fleetwood Mac, Mt Smart, Auckland, 21 November 2015

The wind swirled and the rain fell relentlessly at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland last Saturday night. But it didn't really matter too much, as the age-defying Fleetwood Mac thrilled the near 40,000 in attendance with the band's 119th show of 2015.

Even one or two serious production issues along the way – intermittent big screen failures being an obvious one – couldn't dampen the spirits as the band reeled off one big hit after another over the course of nearly two and a half hours.
The bulk of those hits came from the band’s trilogy of late Seventies albums, with Rumours dominating the set-list throughout; after opening with 'The Chain', the concert was four songs old before we strayed from the Rumours path (with 'Rhiannon' off the eponymous 1975 effort). The "regular" set peaked and closed with 'Go Your Own Way', while the four-song encore included 'Don't Stop', before the gig closed with Christine McVie's 'Songbird' … and to think I was fretting a little beforehand that Rumours might perhaps be overlooked.

In between, we got the best of the rest, including 'Everywhere', 'Tusk', 'Sara', 'Little Lies', and a terrific take on 'Big Love', which was testimony to the genius of Lindsey Buckingham, and one of the night’s highlights.

Each member of the group took a moment to shine individually, Stevie Nicks in particular lapping up the adulation with ‘Landslide’ (gratuitously dedicated to the All Blacks), and the pure magic that is ‘Gold Dust Woman’, which was none the worse, and quite probably all the more dramatic, for arriving amid one of the night’s heaviest downpours.

Mick Fleetwood surpassed himself during the encore, with the long-time live favourite ‘World Turning’ including his obligatory lengthy drum solo, and before we knew it, after the ‘Songbird’ torch moment, the band was gone, having covered some 20-plus favourites.
Early Doors: Calm before the Storm
Grump time: Some of the production (big screen/sound) was poor, and I’m not sure how much of that can be attributed to the quickly deteriorating weather conditions. The support set of (Australian brother/sister duo/band) Angus and Julia Stone was also not without issues, in much calmer conditions.

Grump time 2: Don’t sing loudly in my ear. No matter how much you believe you’re Stevie Nicks “drowning in the sea of love”, you’re actually not. You’re annoying and you have a poor grasp of the words. I paid money to listen to Stevie, not your lame fog-horn attempts to replicate her. She’s a boho-goddess with velvet tones, and you’re the exact opposite of that. Okay. Got that? Ta.

Otherwise, all things considered, Fleetwood Mac at Mt Smart was pretty special, and I’m pleased I made the effort – which was, just quietly, considerable.

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