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Neil Finn shows dream isn't over for Fleetwood Mac at Auckland concert

By Audrey Malone

Mick Fleetwood introduced Neil Finn’s Don’t Dream It’s Over as a song that enveloped his heart at a time he needed it most. 

This was at the Auckland leg of at Fleetwood Mac’s world tour yesterday night.

As the song floated out of Finn’s mouth throughout Spark Arena, the packed-out audience was transported to the time they, too, turned up that song as they lay on their bed sobbing their heart out.

“Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over” the audience sang along, allowing the song to envelop their hearts once again.

This is all part of the 2019 iteration of Fleetwood Mac.

Various iterations of the band have been around since Adam was a cowboy. 

Fleetwood Mac and Neil Finn on the Auckland leg of their world tour Source: Garry Brandon

So the story goes, in 1974 Mick Fleetwood wanted Lindsay Buckingham in his band. Buckingham would only agree if Fleetwood would also take on his girlfriend – Stevie Nicks. And then the band, which had originally formed in 1967, blew up. World tours, record-breaking albums, money and a lot of cocaine followed. 

But, allegedly, and ironically, it was Nicks who got Buckingham kicked out last year, saying it was him or her. Buckingham was pushed.

The current version of Fleetwood Mac consists of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, John McVie, Christine McVie, with both Neil Finn and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell replacing Buckingham.

And, in this bunch of would-be retirees, at 61-years-old, Finn is the baby who showed everyone what rock’n’roll is. 

Neil Finn and Fleetwood Mac at Auckland's Spark Arena Source: Garry Brandon

It made a bold opening statement – opting out of having an opening act. It didn’t need one. If anything, a second-rate band opening to this uncompromising class act dressed in eclectic gothic clothes would have taken away from the brilliance.

The band belted out The Chain to kick off the 76th concert. Straight away, the audience was moving, swept along by the electrical currents zapping the air. And they kept moving as more hits were belted out, including Dreams, Rhiannon, and Little Lies. 

The accidental member, Stevie Nicks, led many of the songs. And, to the untrained ear, Nicks did not disappoint. Her throaty rendition of Landslide, dedicated to someone called Ellen, had my skin rippling with goosebumps.

But setting aside the star power of Nicks and local favourite, Finn, the two standouts of the night were Fleetwood and Campbell.

Mick Fleetwood’s an enigma. 

Never have I ever witnessed a drummer who called the shots and held a captive audience of thousands like Mick did.

Even with his mouth wide open, like he was struggling for breath and may need medical assistance at any given moment, for 10 minutes he beat away on his drum. He got the audience to howl at him while the rest of the band had a break. And howl back we did.

His charming demeanour was oozing out, spilling onto the expectant crowd, lapping up every word he said.

Then into the spotlight struts Campbell, looking like an older version of Johnny Depp’s dishevelled character from Pirates of the Caribbean. As soon as the 69-year-old opened his mouth, the women in the front row were putty in his hands, showing his strumming prowess as he smashed out Oh Well.

It was Nicks who summed up the night best when she bookended Finn’s performance of Don’t Dream It’s Over.

She said songs like that, which can transcend time and always hold currency and meaning, only come up once in a lifetime. 

But, sitting in amongst the audience filled with various generations on their feet, when you are Fleetwood Mac, you seem to be able to get those once in a lifetime songs several times over.

Fleetwood Mac will play again at Spark Arena in Auckland on September 14 and 16 and at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on September 21.

Audrey Malone

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The Kiwi musician performed in a duet with Stevie Nicks. Source: Breakfast