Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 1984


by Ken Tucker, Inquirer Popular-Music Critic

The best thing about rock singer Christine McVie is that she has never seemed like a rock singer. As a vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist for Fleetwood Mac, McVie has spent the last decade acting like an extremely intelligent romantic who may have her prim side but who knows how to have fun - what a complex, beguiling image for a pop star to have.

Surrounded in Fleetwood Mac by the charming eccentricity of Lindsey Buckingham and the space-cadet sexiness of Stevie Nicks, McVie strikes many of us as an admirably sensible role model who also just happens to sing hauntingly and write first-rate songs.

McVie has recently released a solo album called simply "Christine McVie" (Warner Bros.). On it, she is backed by a slick Los Angeles band led by guitarist Todd Sharp, and on the album's best songs - the singles "Love Will Show Us How" and "Got a Hold on Me" as well as "Who's Dreaming This Dream" - McVie's strengths are glowingly apparent. She can sing about small, private moments without a trace of coyness or self-consciousness , and she can lash out at a perceived wrong while never seeming petulant or immature. I'd use the word "dignity" to describe McVie's persona if the term didn't carry an implication of coldness or reserve to which McVie never succumbs.

On Saturday night, McVie came to the Tower Theater, accompanied by most of the musicians who perform on her new album. She gave a deft, lively performance that emphasized the material on "Christine McVie" but that also gave her longtime fans many examples of familiar Fleetwood Mac hits.

Dangling above McVie and her band was a pretty stage prop: huge piano keys bent into a slithering snake shape, as if the keys had just slid off a piano and were about to slip off into space. These slinky piano keys were an apt metaphor for McVie's sinuous music, which she performed while alternating between electric and acoustic pianos.

McVie hopped back and forth across her career, playing a new song one moment, an old one the next, confusing the chronology. Nonetheless, what emerged was a unified body of work: Virtually all of McVie's dreamy love songs become, upon close listening, carefully reasoned arguments about romantic commitment and the dangers of betrayal.

From "Love Will Show Us How" on the new album to "Spare Me a Little of Your Love," from the 1972 Fleetwood Mac album "Bare Trees," McVie's song selections on Saturday dealt with the details of hard-won relationships.

While McVie's voice was wonderful - thick and smoky, yet expressive - it was easy to see why she is in no hurry to leave Fleetwood Mac. Her current band is perfectly good, but it lacks the pleasing idiosyncracies that make Fleetwood
Mac such a constantly surprising group. On this tour, McVie has permitted Todd Sharp to take too many guitar solos, which occasionally weaken the impact of McVie's terse songs. Nonetheless, this McVie performance was a nice way to bide time until Fleetwood Mac tours again.

Thanks to Les for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for formatting and sending it to us.