Rumours of Fleetwood Mac almost as good as the real thing

After seeing the original Rumours era line-up of Fleetwood Mac as well as original guitarist Peter Green's Splinter Group, it would be easy for a self-confessed rock snob to sneer at the very concept of a tribute band.

By Mick Burgess
Sunday, 24 March, 2019, 12:20
Rumours of Fleetwood Mac performing at The Sage Gateshead. Pic: Mick Burgess.

After all, dressing up and pretending to be somebody else appears rather sad, doesn't it?

Well, two sold-out shows at The Sage Gateshead, a story repeated the length and breadth of the country, tells a different story, and a video introduction and drum roll from none other than Mick Fleetwood is a glowing endorsement in itself.

Billed as 50 Years of Fleetwood Mac, this promised to cover every nook and cranny of the band's illustrious history and glorious catalogue of classic songs, and they certainly did not disappoint.

They played a two-hour show divided into two main sets, with the first including crowd favourites such as Dreams, Little Lies and Sarah.

Songbird was simply beautiful, with a delicate piano and a soaring sweet vocal from Emily Gervers singing the Christine McVie classic to perfection.

The slow, pulsating beat and exquisite harmonies of The Chain and THAT bass line had the whole hall on their feet.

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac performing at The Sage Gateshead. Pic: Mick Burgess.

Those delicious harmonies, the key to many of Fleetwood Mac's finest moments, were spot on, especially during Gold Dust Woman, where Jess Harwood absolutely nailed the vocals of Stevie Nicks, with James Harrison delivering the vocals and guitar work of Lindsey Buckingham with such authority.

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Where Rumours of Fleetwood Mac really showed their class was during the opening songs of the second set, which saw them dipping right back into the more blues-based period of the Peter Green years.

Black Magic Woman and the dark Green Manalishi contrasted starkly to the dreamlike instrumental Albatross, the opening notes of which elicited some wistful sighs from the crowd before Oh, Well brought in some serious tough-edged blues.

Rumours dug deep too, treading where the real thing rarely goes these days, with World Turning and Landslide from the first album to feature Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and Bleed To Love Her from Mac`s last ever studio album, Say You Will.

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac performing at The Sage Gateshead. Pic: Mick Burgess.

Don`t Stop, Everywhere and Go My Own Way had the crowd back to their feet once again, while Rhiannon - so beautifully performed by Harwood - gave them a breather before a monstrous Tusk, including Allan Cosgrove's Mick Fleetwood drum extravaganza brought down the curtain.

With almost 30 songs cherry-picked from right across the Fleetwood Mac repertoire, so beautifully and authentically performed, that close your eyes and you'd almost think the real thing was in the hall.

They certainly had this rock snob eating his words, unfolding his arms and rising to deliver a well-deserved standing ovation, along with the rest of the sold-out crowd.

Rumours of Fleetwood Mac performing at The Sage Gateshead. Pic: Mick Burgess.