LIVE MUSIC: Fleetwood Mac - The O2, Dublin


She’s a drama queen and she knows it. But we love Stevie Nicks all the more for it. At 65, this hot hippie is still able to hold an audience spell-bound.

It’s the perfect couples night out – with Nicks keeping the mid-life crisis men enthralled and Lindsey Buckingham, a very youthful 62, looking hot in his skinny jeans and leather jacket.

“I think Dublin is the best place to start up again after 47 shows in the US,” says Nicks, and we really believe her.

This could easily be dubbed a Greatest Hits tour – such is the outpouring of chart successes over five decades, with staples, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Tusk’ and ‘The Chain’ all featuring in a song list of favourites, with just a few gentle nods at more recent recording sessions.

The bizarrely complicated love triangles and trysts the members of Fleetwood Mac engaged in down the years have been played out in public, but neither Buckingham nor Nicks seem able to let it go. In what seems an almost therapeutic sharing with the 13,000-strong sell-out audience, the duo reference the troubles in their past several times over. Could they be wearing the band’s dysfunctional history as a badge of rock honour?

It seems almost distasteful at times — to die-hard fans it’s unnecessary, and to new fans it’s irrelevant. There are rumours of the one missing member of the original line-up – Christine McVie – joining them in London later this week, but one wonders if she’d really want to listen to old coals being raked in public again.

Drama aside, the show had a wonderful feelgood factor – with highlights including Nicks’ dedication of ‘Landslide’ to Guinness master brewer Fergal Murray, and Mick Fleetwood’s frenzied drum solos which seem unwittingly inspired by The Muppets’ Animal.

As the set finishes with ‘Say Goodbye’, an almost tearful Nicks thanks us for being ‘dream catchers’ and implores us to go out into the night and spread the love – proving she’s still that 70s hippie at heart.

CLASSICAL: Orpheus - Everyman Palace, Cork

John O’Brien has, as he did with Pagliacci last year, looked at an operatic masterpiece and totally re-imagined it. Together with set and costume designer Lisa Zagone, choreographer Tina Horan, and lighting designer Michael Hurley, he has created another world that is Nowhere and Everywhere.

They have taken the mythical tale of Orpheus’ descent to the Underworld in search of his lost love, Eurydice, and stripped it of many of the accretions of Gluck’s 1762 libretto and score, and have changed the ending. In doing so they have revealed the essential finality of death and left this 21st century audience spellbound, overcome by the beauty of the music and the professionalism of its performance.

This could not have been done without the extraordinary skills of the six musicians, Carolyn Goodwin, Tom Crowley, Sinéad Frost, Caitríona Lightfoot, Christiane O’Mahony and Conor Palliser, who memorised everything in the score (apart from the Overture), acted as characters in the story, and performed O’Brien’s totally re-orchestrated version without a conductor — an astonishing feat. My one reservation about his scoring concerned the saxophone, which, for me, was too prominent.

There was too much magic created onstage for me even to attempt to describe this production, all of which depends on the central character, Orpheus. The part was originally written for contralto or countertenor, but it has, in recent times, been sung by tenors. In the physically imposing Ronald Samm we heard a most expressive Orpheus, whose final ‘Che faro senza Eurydice’ was totally, heart-breakingly beautiful. In Majella Cullagh’s too-brief appearance as Amour we heard a gorgeously sensitive ‘Dalla cetra tua’. Tara Brandel’s performance throughout was wonderfully expressive. In particular, her despair at Orpheus’s refusal to look at her was an astonishingly moving dance.

The choral singing, movement and, in particular, their dancing was astonishingly good, their ‘Dance of the Furies’ being especially terrifying. If readers only go once to the theatre this year, this is the show to go to. It is unmissable.

*Until Sep 28

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