Juke National Rock Weekly (April 14, 1990)

Fleetwood Mac by Greg Phillips

Witnessing an international band kicking off a world tour in Australia can be something of treat. We get to see the new stage setting, the latest high-tech lighting and the song list before any other fans in the globe.

The other side of the coin is, of course, under rehearsed songs, musicians still out of synch, and a PA not riddled with gremlins and goblins but witches and warlocks.

Such was Fleetwood Mac's third only show of their Behind the Mask tour. But rather than forging ahead with some quite unjustified criticisms, let's remember that Fleetwood Mac are Fleetwood Mac. Somewhat like Grateful Dead or Midnight Oil, they have a fanatically loyally (their error not mine) following that sees them as part of an extended family and don't care if the act is in or out of fashion. They know the ins and the outs of the band's personality problems, and connect on that intimate level.

So while the reviews of the early Mac shows were justifiably harsh, it was taken in its stead by most of the audience. A first gig is a first gig, right? The bugs certainly didn't dilute the adoration, sympathy and empathy. Mac themselves grimaced at the problems but enjoyed themselves. The first of five packed Melbourne shows brought them back for three encores. Those who found them dull and sloppy were probably those that who'd come along to bop along to record-perfection renditions of the hits.

Apparently Mac took note of the negative reviews in the dailies, and a discussion was held after each show to thrash out the problems. The performances easily got better with each show (by the time they get to Phoenix, they'll be riding!)

The show was what you'd expect from a mega-platinum act - stunning light show and cleverly designed animated stage. They nervously started off with '"he Chain" and some familiar fare from Rumours and Fleetwood Mac. The famous Mac ballads like Stevie's "Landslide" and Christine McVie's "Songbird" were much appreciated.

New boys Billy Burnette and Rick Vito slotted in but kept low profile. The visual factor was Ghanian-born percussionist Isaac Asante, bedecked in Viking headgear and armed with illuminous drum sticks. Nicks contented herself with costume change after each song.

Material from the new LP, like the "Save Me" single suggested that Mac still have a safe thickness of tread, but things still needed a fine-tuning.

Thanks to Rochelle for submitting this to us.