@ The Sage Gateshead, February 29 2016

Tribute acts are pretty easy to categorise. There’s the over the top, pastiche style bands looking to match every characteristic and go note for note with their original counterparts. They are usually a fun way to pass a couple of hours in the back of the local pub on a Saturday night or even a Christmas party.

Then there is the other kind. These guys are serious players, devoted to celebrating and sharing the work of some of the most beloved music acts to grace the business. Talented enough to be endorsed by the real McCoy and they even sell out venues most bands will never get a chance to play at.

Thankfully Rumours Of Fleetwood Mac fit in to the latter category. Playing to a packed Hall One in the gorgeous Sage, ROFM took on the unenviable task of cramming almost five decades’ worth of material in under three hours.

Having seen the band a couple of months ago, it is refreshing to see the set-list isn’t set in stone and, due to a surprise guest joining them on stage for the second half of the show, easily adaptable. The band’s aim is to share the music and spirit of Fleetwood Mac and as most will know never get a chance to see the real deal, this is as close as you can get.

Introduced by Mick Fleetwood himself (via pre-recorded video) the band is an ensemble of hugely talented musicians that deserve a lot of credit for what they do up and down the country, as well as overseas.

As with FM the two leading ladies steal the show. Amanda Kostadinov playing Christine McVie’s soulful and angelic sounding counterpart, her voice ranging from the heart-breaking Songbird to the crowd favourites of Everywhere and Little Lies. Louise Rogan in full Stevie Nicks garb is quite simply spellbinding, taking one of the most distinctive voices of rock and creating her own unique version should not be underestimated. The highlight of the night, easily went to a stunning rendition of Silver Springs closely followed by a beautifully haunting version of Landslide.

Although the ladies take centre stage, the rest of the band serve up a musical treat – Alan Hughes on lead guitar and Dave Goldberg as Peter Green ensure the blues heritage of the original band is never far away. To get an idea of how highly rated ROFM are, look no further than special guest and former member of the band proper, Rick Vito, joining them on stage.

Vito stepped into Fleetwood Mac after Lindsey Buckingham went solo for a few years and it’s easy to see why. Effortlessly riffing from Peter Green’s Black Magic Woman to providing incredible solos on Go Your Own Way to Don’t Stop, it was a pleasure to witness a master of his craft at work.

Although nothing can quite hold up to the grandeur, mystic and privilege of seeing the official band play, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac do a more than solid effort.  Able to go their own way, but never straying too far from the spirit and soul of the original material.

Andrew Spoors