It was 1980. Fleetwood Mac played two sold-out shows here that year, with most of the band nursing raging cocaine habits financed by the success of their biggest album Rumours, released three years earlier. Rumours was inescapable in New Zealand we heard it in shopping malls, takeaway bars, petrol station forecourts, drifting from the open windows of houses and passing cars. Radio stations thrashed it, and your mum quite possibly played it at fondue parties where the after dinner instant coffee arrived in earthy brown Temuka Pottery cups.
And I played it myself, incessantly. When Rumours came out, I was 16 and Stevie Nicks was a powerful object of desire, a Californian hippie witch with ragged hems and come-to-bed eyes. Now Nicks is 61, and Fleetwood Mac are returning to play their first New Zealand gig in 29 years in New Plymouth in December.
"Really, I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to it," says Nicks from her home in Santa Monica, her speaking voice as nasal and husky as her singing voice. "I came down there on a solo tour in 2006 and I loved it, and so when Fleetwood Mac were booked to come to Australia, I convinced the rest of the band we should play New Zealand as well."
It is, says Nicks, a tour that will delight their fans. They won't have to suffer any new songs; it'll be singalong nostalgia all the way.
"It's our first ever greatest hits tour. In the past, we've always had a new record to promote, and the fans are, like you're not doing `Say You Love Me' because you wanna play a song we don't know? C'mon! So this time we're gonna pick 23 of the biggest songs Fleetwood Mac ever did and play 'em all over two-and-a-half hours. It's like OK, here's our body of work. Here are the best songs we've made since this line-up came together in 1975. This is our tapestry."
And what a rich tapestry it has been. Even within the notoriously dramatic world of rock'n'roll, Fleetwood Mac's career has stood out for its lack of calm and restraint. The band's history resembles a particularly tumultuous soap opera, or perhaps a soft-rock Spinal Tap, replete with madness and cults, lawsuits and lust, bogus touring bands, clandestine shagging, industrial strength bitchiness, oceans of alcohol, blizzards of cocaine. Numerous members have burnt out, flipped out or been kicked out along the way, leaving drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie the only surviving members from early line-ups.
Read the rest of this great article over at The Sunday Star Times!