Fleetwood Mac, Neil Finn, Perth, Australia, RAC Arena, August 11 2019

Fleetwood Mac brings old magic back to Perth

The soundtrack of my youth was eclectic. Seattle grunge bands. Alan Parsons Project. Chemical Brothers. Tchaikovsky. Spice Girls. The Doors. Radiohead.

But it was my dad who introduced and captivated my ears with the signature sounds of the 60s and 70s. The Beatles. Pink Floyd. America. Simon and Garfunkel. And of course Fleetwood Mac.

It was Perth in the 80s. Dad would hit the road in our orange Datsun 180B, cassette tape playing, as we set off on the de rigueur summer holiday down south.

Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Perth, Australia, RAC Arena, August 11 2019
Fleetwood Mac in Perth. (Andrew Ritchie)

I sat squished between my siblings. A towel splayed across the back seat, protecting the backs of our legs from third degree burns threatening to percolate from the vinyl seats on a scorcher.

A lot has changed over the decades, including for the legendary Fleetwood Mac who kicked off the Australian leg of their tour at RAC Arena on Friday night.

The Grammy award-winning band has sustained more melodrama than an episode of The Bachelor over the past 52 years.

Most recently the unceremonious dumping of guitarist Lindsey Buckingham who reportedly reignited his feud with ex-lover Stevie Nicks on the eve of their world tour.

Enter the new line-up of Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Nicks, and Christine McVie, along with newcomers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and adopted Aussie Neil Finn of Crowded House fame.

Fleetwood Mac, Michael Campbell, Perth, Australia, RAC Arena, August 11 2019
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell joins the Fleetwood Mac Line-up. (Andrew Ritchie)

Fleetwood Mac kicked off their Perth gig with “The Chain” released on their critically acclaimed, best-selling album Rumours. It was followed by hits “Little Lies” and “Dreams” before Finn took the lead vocals on “Second Hand News.”

Say You Love Me was followed up with Black Magic Woman. It seemed apt with Nicks dressed head-to-toe in black, long blonde locks flowing over a shawl, working the stage like a mythical occult leader.

“Everywhere” was followed by the Finn-fronted Spit Enz hit, “I Got You.”

Finn appears a left-field choice. An unlikely coupling, but a match made in heaven. Like a great Kiwi pinot with a hunk of nutty gruyere.

Mike Fleetwood said the group has always been about an amazing collection of songs performed with a unique blend of talents. And the chemistry with Campbell and Finn really works, It’s something new, yet it’s got the unmistakable Mac sound.

“Rhiannon” drew huge cheers from the crowd, but “World Turning” didn’t appear to be a fan favourite with a mini exodus for the bar.

Fleetwood Mac, Neil Finn, Perth, Australia, RAC Arena, August 11 2019
Aussie Neil Finn of Crowded House fame on stage. (Andrew Ritchie)

The nostalgic swaying started when “Gypsy” played and was followed by “Oh Well” recorded by the band in 1969.

With Fleetwood Mac 63 shows into their world tour the fatigue was at times palpable notably from Christine McVie and Nicks. But then these seasoned rockers are no spring chickens with most of the band firmly in septuagenarian territory.

With a little help from Nicks, Finn dug out the Crowded House anthem “Don’t Dream It’s Over” prompting a sea of mobiles to come out in a flickering tribute to one of our nation’s favourite songs. Nicks told the crowd that a “magnificent” song like this comes along once in a million years.

While “Go Your Own Way” is rapidly becoming a licensing tragedy courtesy of an overplayed car commercial, the rousing rendition delivered a standing ovation.

The night took a sombre turn as a slideshow of the late Tom Petty played on the screens while the band played “Free Fallin’.”

The night was nearly over but it couldn’t end without an encore. It was time for “Don’t Stop.”

As the haunting guitar-based instrumental “Albatross” filled the Arena, concertgoers took their cue and flocked to the exits. A wave of nostalgia washed over me and I couldn’t help wishfully thinking it seemed only natural that Crowded House should reunite for a tour. It’s been too long.

Fleetwood Mac will perform their second Perth show tonight, Sunday, August 11.

Sarah Brookes / Western Suburbs Weekly / Sunday, August 11, 2019

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