Many moons ago I saw a “perfect” woman take the stage of FILLMORE EAST, something I was not expecting. At that moment I was a bit disappointed as a major shift of personnel for the band I wished to hear had drastically changed. A few weeks prior to this engagement I had purchased tickets to see (Peter Green’s) FLEETWOOD MAC and up until the days prior to that night I was wholly anticipating seeing one of my favorite guitarists and “his” band once again. Then, well…he disappears. On my turntable at the time was the album “Fleetwood Mac” aka “The Garbage Can Cover”. Back on November 22,1969 I experienced JOE COCKER with THE GREASE BAND, FLEETWOOD MAC (with Peter Green) and an opening act of KING CRIMSON at Fillmore East in New York City. This billing was a memorable one as CRIMSON blew the house down in the opening 35 minutes. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC topped it with its one hour plus set. While COCKER had the head bill he carried a severe liability. After FLEETWOOD MAC left the stage THE GREASE BAND was musically no match for either act. I was in awe of CRIMSON and MAC. I had to see FLEETWOOD MAC again.‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Albatross‘, ‘Man of the World’, ‘Oh Well’ and ‘The Green Manalishi’ all rang in my head in great anticipation. But unbeknownst to me PETER GREEN left the band May 1970.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF: August 29,1970: SAVOY BROWN/ FLEETWOOD MAC/ FAIRPORT CONVENTION@FILLMORE EAST. Back to Fillmore East for what would be one of my favorite shows for the summer of 70. This one featured Savoy Brown, Fleetwood Mac, and Fairport Convention all British acts sharing the bill. Fairport once had Sandy Denny who was not in the band any longer but still had Richard Thompson on guitar/vocals. Fleetwood Mac was missing Peter Green (the main attraction guitar/vocals)which was a huge disappointment to me but this newer FLEETWOOD MAC now had Christine Perfect (John McVie’s wife) on board full time (keyboards and vocals) and they did some KILN HOUSE stuff which rocked. Savoy Brown was Kim Simmonds but Chris Youlden (vocals) was no longer a member. Lonesome Dave did the voice and shades of FOGHAT were born.
This new version of FLEETWOOD MAC, one of many more versions to come, had this new piano player, a singer who offered different styles of songs and rearrangements of older material AND she was a “looker” as was said at the time. As much as I was disappointed in not seeing PETER GREEN there was something about this new beginning to FLEETWOOD MAC that excited me.
CHRISTINE PERFECT McVIE became a permanent member of the band. The BOB WELCH version was up next with “Future Games” and then “Bare Trees” both lps moving THE MAC further from their original blues based origin but closer to what the band would become. Then,“Penguin” the band added BOB WESTON (slide guitar) and (IMO horrendous) vocalist DAVE WALKER (from Savoy Brown #7). The “Mystery To Me” era, WALKER is fired so vocal duties are split between WELCH and CHRISTINE. Its release has the band back on heavy radio rotation. However, the drama known as FLEETWOOD MAC rears its ugly head again as MICK FLEETWOOD finds out that his beautiful wife JENNY BOYD (George Harrison’s sister in law) is having an affair with BOB WESTON, BOB is ultimately fired and the band cuts the tour short moving back to England.There, as a four piece they record “Heroes Are Hard To Find”, a beautiful collection of tunes sung perfectly by WELCH and CHRISTINE.
Unfortunately, meanwhile back in the States…CLIFFORD DAVIS longtime manager of said FLEETWOOD MAC going back to their blues days (1967 in England) was upset with the band for cancelling the tour midway through. He decides to have FLEETWOOD MAC book a new tour of the U.S., a tour without any members of FLEETWOOD MAC participating. Unbeknown to the concert going public, we buy tickets.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF: January 26,1974, Academy of Music- FLEETWOOD MAC/KISS/SILVERHEAD. I’m there for FLEETWOOD MAC. SILVERHEAD, well I had no idea who they were, still don’t. KISS was on a return performance from their debut at the same venue on New Years Eve. That night their set was cut short as Gene Simmons set his hair on fire.This night, KISS set the entire venue of 3000 on fire, not literally. A great show with lights, fire breathing, fully costumed performers and ear drum shattering loudness. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC appears. I notice MICK FLEETWOOD is not on the kit, No John McVie, No Christine…strange looks all around the crowd, “Who are these guys?”, guys playing instrumentals and no noticeable MAC tunes. Boos start, getting louder by the moment. An announcement is made that refund vouchers are available at the box office, to which I took my two. This was a bogus FLEETWOOD MAC, a band put together by the alleged owner (a past manager) of the “brand name” FLEETWOOD MAC. This “band” hit the road while the true members were sorting out problems with alcohol, drugs, relationships, etc. Immediately after this, the true band members grab the reins, moves to The States (were the touring money was), BOB WELCH leaves and FLEETWOOD MAC hire Buckingham and Nicks, the rest is history, or…
The 10th album, recorded by the 10th lineup of the band in 8 years time, 1975’s FLEETWOOD MAC took one full year to finally run up to the top of the charts. February of 1977 “Rumours” is released, a true “pop” album. No shades of the original band of 67 existed any longer. However, CHRISTINE as a vocalists continues to shine. The album explodes, Number 1 for weeks/months at a time.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF: June 30, 1977- FLEETWOOD MAC @ Madison Square Garden. In my collection of memorabilia I saved John Rockwell’s NYTimes review of FLEETWOOD MAC’S “Rumours Tour” stop at Madison Square Garden, for what reason I don’t know. The show was great for its time but I longed for Peter Green’s FLEETWOOD MAC. This band was so much different. Overall I thought the show was pretty good.
(partial from Rockwell) FLEETWOOD MAC’s debut Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden—the first of two performances there—was a confirmation of its newly won status as this country’s most popular and best poprock band—except for, maybe the Eagles. And by and large it was a superior show to the group’s outing earlier this year at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, L.I. With one crucial exception.That exception was Stevie Nicks. Miss Nicks, along with Lindsey Buckingham, gave the three British veterans in the band the spark that lifted Fleetwood Mac into its current status. Miss Nicks composes wonderfully sinuous, mystically compelling songs, she is about as alluring a performer as rock can offer and, at her best, she sings with a huskily seductive individuality.
But she had two problems Wednesday. The first and less important had to do with her onstage manner. Always a languorous wanderer as a performer, she pushed her lackadaisical loopiness too far. She managed to come in on cue and to remember her words, but at her worst she looked like a glamorous female equivalent of Joe Cocker, and in general her slack meanderings were more a cause for concern than for fascination.
Far more serious was the state of her voice. Miss Nicks has nodes on her vocal chords, and her condition has worsened appreciably since the Nassau date only three months ago. The band canceled its sold‐out Syracuse concert Tuesday because of her throat, but it didn’t seem to help much.
It was at this point in time that I gave up all hope that FLEETWOOD MAC would be the MAC I remembered, this was a very different ensemble. My taste did not lean toward a twirling, spinning woman dressed in black. I preferred the blonde playing piano and singing off to the side. RIP, CHRISTINE McVIE.