Going to watch Fleetwood Mac live in 2015 may seem a tad mundane to the average baby boomer who witnessed them live in their prime, but I knew instinctively as I paid for my $75 ‘nose bleed’ section ticket, that it would be an indelible moment in time for me to see this illustrious band do their thing.
Throughout the concert I wrote a stack of notes that regrettably washed away with the night’s rainy weather, so although the following is not in complete order, it’s my recount of an evening with Fleetwood Mac, the original, complete, romantic as ever, five piece.
As their 105th Australian show, their first in more than 2 months, and Christine’s first time in the country in ‘almost 30 years’, the crowds energy levels were contagious. As soon as the lights dimmed, and the band emerged, some hearty drumbeats from Mick kicked them straight into The Chain. At first, I wasn’t too impressed. All the warnings of ‘mediocre vocals’ i’d gotten from people who had seen them in the past few years, were seemingly coming true. Lindsey could barely stay in key, and Christine appeared a little uninterested. But as the night went on, and as all parties settled in, their magic began to unravel.
Among the array of hits, including; You Make Loving Fun, Tusk, Little Lies, Second Hand News, Dreams, Rhiannon and I Don’t Want To Know, a few renditions and unexpected happenings touched my soul far more intricately then expected.
As Stevie’s effervescent voice softly sung the opening lines to Silver Springs, the band chimed in behind her. As the song reached an intense peak, Stevie turned to Lindsey to emotionally croon ‘you’ll never get away from the sound of the woman that loves you’ and before I knew it, I was in tears. Witnessing a band who have gone through so much together, share such intimate moments on stage all these years later, gave the set a true sense of purity.
Things took a turn for the sexy, impressive and down right dirty, as Lindsey broke out into a long winding rock n’ roll solo during I’m So Afraid. LB tore up his guitar like it weren’t nobody’s business, except he made sure it was, by lettin’ some of the audience members’ lucky little hands touch and strum his gorgeous instrument, mid solo.
Mick and John were their usual selves, staying back and keeping the band in check, John shyly and Mick, well, wildly. With a gong behind him, chimes beside him, and his trademark jungle style beats, he called out to the audience during what seemed to be a 10 minute sweat inducing, panty dropping, crowd astounding solo.
After multiple mini outfit changes including a golden shawl for Gold Dust Woman, and a top hat, Stevie paused to tell a story from a time when she and Lindsey were ‘very young’ living in San Francisco, studying/playing in a band, and making some great money. She’d heard that some of the biggest women in rock n roll, including Janis Joplin and Grace Slick were buying their clothing from a small store called The Velvet Underground, so, she decided she would buy ‘something nice to wear on stage’. As she pulled on up and walked in she soon realised that despite wanting everything in the store, she couldn’t afford a thing. She recalled a ‘dream twirling over’ her in that moment, and having an epiphany, an internal feeling that someday she would be able to walk into the store, and buy anything she wanted, never having to look at a price tag again.
She then went on to tell the audience a little something along these lines – “NEVER let anyone tell you ‘you can’t have your dream’ that’s crap! You reach into the sky, grab your star and pull it down to you, go back to The Velvet Underground, and NEVER LEAVE!!!”
Before embarking on a solo, acoustic version of Big Love Lindsey also spoke about the immense power of change, a common theme throughout the bands’ 2 and a half hour show, that of which came to a lustful end with Christine, her piano, and Lindsey on guitar, doing a beautifully nostalgic rendition of Songbird.
Despite the soul invasive musicality enshrouding the Arena, and the surreal nature of seeing some of my heroes in the flesh, the greatest part of the night was the togetherness and connection between the band and the audience.
As they broke out into Don’t Stop, so did everyone around me – I felt apart of something bigger. I felt a complete wave of content wash over me. There we all were, in a sold out arena show, embracing the allure of the music, singing along, and doing so with the complete strangers around us, no judgment involved. That for me, was the nights defining moment.
Stevie may have waltzed on out of The Velvet Underground with a brand new attitude, but I strutted on out of their concert with an even greater appreciation for authentic music and its power to bring people together. Kudos for the wisdom Fleetwood, and kudos for showing us just how hot the flame still burns. Age is but a number for these legendary beings.
I recommend that each of you goes to see the band whilst they’re here in Aus, don’t think twice, just buy some tickets and bask in the glory of all things Mac & mystical.
Peace, love, and keep singin’ the Blues,