Fleetwood Mac – Live @ Spark Arena, 2019
Let’s set the scene, a typical drizzly Auckland evening in early spring and I’m inside Spark Arena waiting for the timeless Fleetwood Mac featuring our very own Neil Finn. I was in my element and very much looking forward ticking this box on my concert wish list.
WORDS BY KIMBERLEY JONES | PHOTOS BY BRAD HOLLAND
Thursday night was the first of four Auckland concerts with the last New Zealand Concert in Dunedin and it started with a bang! The Chain effectively raising the roof and Fleetwood Mac starting as they meant to go on. The screen at the back of the stage filled with a montage of various camera angles so there was no way to miss anything that happened on stage.
Stevie told us that last night was show number 76. After being around the states twice and surviving Australia Stevie said, “Let’s get this party started!!”
Little Lies next out of the gate with people already on their feet and the night had only just begun. Centre stage was shared well in the beginning with everyone having their turn in the spotlight during Dreams and then our Neil with Second Hand News. There were just so many hits in one single night, I truly feel I would have to go a second time just to be able to take it all in.
When Fleetwood Mac went into rehearsal last year and went through their old songs, they picked the next one, Black Magic Woman, and though,t to reflect the world as it is now, to have this lead vocally by a woman. The harmonies were incredible and I would have said the people on stage have been together for decades rather than months.
With the odd kiwi tribute song in the setlist, of course, anyone left sitting wasn’t going to see anything anymore. I Got You, (Split Enz) was followed by a drama-packed Rhiannon lead by the wonderful Stevie. World Turning and it was impossible to sit still with the best drum solo I’ve witnessed. And Mick had his eyes closed through most of it creating their own version of duelling banjo’s but it was duelling drums between Mick and the percussionist. Then Mick Fleetwood himself came out to the front of the stage with a handheld drum and had everyone else on their feet while the others took 5. Mike Campbell came out with another amazing guitar solo rocking his top hat and looking a bit like the scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. Mike gave special mention that he purchased the jacket he was wearing about 30 years ago when he was last in New Zealand and hadn’t worn it until last night.
Mick acknowledged everyone on stage in turn and said that everyone has their key role to play. Humble yet cheeky as ever, he took his time giving more than just everyone’s names which helped to connect the audience even more. When Neil’s turn was up, of course, any roof that was left was ripped off with all the applause and cheering.
With such a huge back catalogue to call upon, it was no surprise that the setlist was 21 songs long. This meant that these idols were up on stage for approximately 2.5 hours. From Stevie having her signature tassels on her microphone stand as well as her tambourine to Mick having his red top hat the people that were on stage last night delivered a show to rival their careers. From Gypsy to Oh Well song after song, hit after hit unfolded on stage with grace and excellent musicianship. Mike on guitar, all I can say is WOW!
Neil was up next with a short intro for Man of the World, saying that he had to show respect to those that had been before him. Mick gave a very heartfelt intro for the next song, Don’t Dream It’s Over, (Crowded House), and Neil appeased the crowd even more by saying he was so glad to be home. Landslide and Hold Me were duets with Neil and Stevie then Neil and Christine respectively.
Golden lights covered the crowd in front of the stage as Gold Dust Woman highlighted the harmonies once again. Stevie on stage is just hypnotising. With Go Your Own Way, Fleetwood Mac took the time to go to every corner of the stage and acknowledge everyone that went out last night to see them.
The encore started with a cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin that involved a slideshow of photos on the screens behind and surrounding the stage of Tom’s life on stage and featured many with Stevie herself in. Don’t Stop rounded out the evening and had people starting to head out of the arena absolutely raving about what they had just seen on stage.
I don’t want to say much more as this is one night I feel is best experienced for yourself. I am lucky to have been given the chance to see history being made and urge anyone that can make it to get your tickets asap. This is not a night to be missed. Mick ended with his famous saying…. But you will have to go and see for yourself.
Very limited tickets are still available for the remaining NZ shows, full details right here