Some times Eagles land perfectly
One of these Nights - The music of Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, Studio 49 and JCD Productions Civic Theatre, Friday night
Craig Allott had a dream. It went something like this: "I've always dreamed of playing music that I love to a soldout crowd at the Civic Theatre. Who knew ...?"
The dream became reality at the Civic as the Invercargill musician closed the show he had masterminded with a spine-tingling, achingly beautiful rendition of the Eagles' ballad Desperado.
The song, and the show, drew a standing ovation from the capacity 900-plus audience who had witnessed one of the proudest nights in Southland entertainment history.
On a scale of homegrown achievement, this felt like a Ranfurly Shield win.
Ten of Southland's finest singers and musicians pooled their considerable talents to present more than two hours of mostly flawless, at times perfect, performances of some of the world's best known and most loved music.
Throughout the entire show the uncharacteristically animated Southland crowd was right behind the band, whooping and cheering on their hometown heroes. The atmosphere in the theatre was fizzing with expectation that did not go unrewarded.
The first half was all Fleetwood Mac, hit after golden hit, with the vocals of Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie sublimely interpreted by Southland Entertainer of the Year Michelle Lange and the artist who has won that title three times previously, Shannon Cooper-Garland.
The complexities and subtleties of Fleetwood Mac's music were all faithfully reproduced - every keyboard swell from Scott Calvert, every bubbly bass guitar run from Chris Hewton, every guitar nuance, all galvanised and driven with precision by drummer Aaron Ives. From the dynamic crescendo of the opening song, The Chain, sung with joyous abandon by an excited Dene Allen, to the rich wall of elaborately harmonised vocals supporting Lange on Gold Dust Woman, this was as close to the real thing as many in the audience will get.
A highlight among many in the first half was Jason Schmidt's extraordinary demonstration of technique and dexterity as he nailed Lindsay Buckingham's complex guitar and vocal masterpiece Big Love.
Another was Allott's epic, echo-drenched guitar solo in Cooper-Garland's You Make Loving Fun.
In the second half, with the checkered shirts signalling a country set, the front of stage was owned by Dave McMeeking, whose voice is as close a match to Don Henley's as you could hope to hear.
The wind beneath his wings came from the airtight musical backline in which Arun O'Connor and Schmidt soared with their exquisite guitar work, culminating in tag-team guitar heroics in Life In The Fast Lane and Hotel California.
O'Connor and Allott also featured prominently on lead vocals in this set, as the band dialled into the Eagles' laid-back melodic country rock groove.
By the time they hit Heartache Tonight it was party on to the finish line, brought to that memorable conclusion by Allott's Desperado and a compulsory encore of Life In The Fast Lane.
The Southland Times