TICKETS TORN IN HALF:(THE REAL and FAKE) FLEETWOOD MAC-Various Nights in Various Places with Various People
(1968) I’m a sixteen year old, living across the street from a nineteen year old college student, a bohemian kinda guy who enjoyed music as much as I did. When he had time to be seen with a young punk we would (occasionally) engage in a conversation about the bands he saw. He told me about The LOVING SPOONFUL early on in their career, a little later THE AIRPLANE, and once he mentioned seeing FLEETWOOD MAC(December of 1968 @ Steve Paul’s THE SCENE ). This guy raved about the group, especially their singer/ guitarist. I jotted the name of the band in my trusty notebook thinking this is a band to be on the look out for. Then,I heard nothing about them for quite some time and no matter where I searched I could not find any of their recordings. A few months passed (early 69) when I found A Hard Road (February 1967 release date), the third John Mayall album (and the first to feature Peter Green who I still did not know was the singer/guitarist in question). “A Hard Road” was amazing, especially “The Stumble” which I thought would make the perfect “break song” for my band, “Another Kinda Love”, and …”The Supernatural”. Who is this guitarist?Peter Green? Who?
My kid brother was a THREE DOG NIGHT fan and a budding concert goer. Pop always said it was the double breasted suits, Beatle boots, and music which led him astray from the priesthood. So, with a few friends he attended a July 1969 show at THE (NYS) PAVILION in Queens, NY. On the bill was FLEETWOOD MAC.While my brother raved about how fantastic THREE DOG NIGHT’s performance was, he said little about FLEETWOOD MAC except to say I would like them. A few nights later my buddies (sans me) saw Ten Years After @ WOLLMAN RINK in Manhattan and lo and behold FLEETWOOD MAC opened. The guys loved both bands. For me it was another missed opportunity. But alas, a few weeks later I found “Then Play On” in the record store, also “Fleetwood Mac”, the one with the garbage can on the cover. I was mesmerized by the music, and now realized Peter Green from Mayall’s “A Hard Road” was the guitarist/singer in question.
Then, it was my turn,November 22,1969@Fillmore East, JOE COCKER and THE GREASE BAND headlining with FLEETWOOD MAC and KING CRIMSON as support bands; I saw Cocker in August, Crimson was unheard of (another story)…It was a Fleetwood Mac night to remember, at least for me. PETER GREEN was phenomenal as was the rest of the band. So,so good they were.My girlfriend thought they were not even close to Cocker’s Grease Band. What?I need to rethink girlfriends.
Two months later, Friday night, January 23, 1970 FLEETWOOD MAC is headlining locally (Island Park) at The Action House with Frost opening. Knowing I had QUICKSILVER tickets for the next night I only stayed for one, long fabulous set by THE MAC. Again, they did not disappoint and Peter Green was brilliant…”Black Magic Woman”,”The Supernatural”, “Albatross”,“The Green Manalishi”, “Rattlesnake Shake” (which went on for about 15 minutes),”Jumping at Shadows”,and “Shake Your Moneymaker”.Whew.
A few years ago I was discussing the merits of DUANE ALLMAN with a like minded spirit when the guy told me his remembrance of the JANIS JOPLIN/ GRATEFUL DEAD show at FILLMORE EAST February 11, 1970. JOPLIN was debuting her new band@ Fillmore East. At the late show the DEAD were doing their thing when they invited Duane Allman (Allman Bros. opened the show) AND Peter Green up to the stage for a jam.Peter was in town as Fleetwood Mac was opening for SLY and The FAMILY STONE at Madison Square Garden.Recently I listened to a decent recording of this event and, well, mind-blowing is all I can say.
After these performances (late 69 early 1970), I hear no more about FLEETWOOD MAC shows or recordings, which is strange as the summer schedule (Central Park,etc) was released and I expected their name to pop up. It appears the band had a few difficulties, one being the leader, PETER GREEN walked away (May 28,1970) leaving Fleetwood Mac (version #4) as Jeremy, Danny, John, and Mick. A #5 version appears (August 70-Feb 71) by adding CHRISTINE PERFECT (from CHICKEN SHACK) aka Christine McVie.
Late Summer, the FILLMORE EAST lineup is finally announced and there they are August 28-29, 1970 SAVOY BROWN/FLEETWOOD MAC/FAIRPORT CONVENTION. I send in my SASE for tickets
for what later would be one of my favorite shows of that summer despite some personnel changes and relationship problems in the bands and for me. I had two FAIRPORT CONVENTION albums and knew seeing them live would be unique. Unfortunately Sandy Denny (vocalist) had left the band but I became a huge fan of Richard Thompson (guitar/vocals) that night. Next up, Fleetwood Mac was missing Peter Green which was a huge disappointment for me, they/he were/was the reason I was there. But this newer FLEETWOOD MAC (version #5) now had Christine Perfect on keys /vocals and they introduced KILN HOUSE stuff which rocked. Quite a huge departure from the Peter Green stuff. Finally, Savoy Brown had no Chris Youlden on vocals. Lonesome Dave did the voice, and shades of FOGHAT were born. Despite the fact that all three bands were missing a key component, all were oh so good.
It appears (May 1970) Green left the band, suffering the early onset of mental illness thought to be the result of an unsolicited LSD experience in Munich, Germany.
FLEETWOOD MAC (#6) occurs February 15,1971 when Jeremy Spencer disappears the day the band hits Los Angeles, joining a cult known as THE CHILDREN of GOD, thereby denouncing his career, his band, his wife and two children.
“…given the news of Spencer’s action, the group called on Peter Green in London to rejoin them for the duration of the tour. After an hour on the phone, Green agreed – but only to finish out the tour, which ends in Long Island March 27th. Green, whose departure was partly attributable to his own devotion to Christianity, flew in on Friday, the 19th, to join the band in San Bernardino, California. He refused to talk about the Spencer case and emphasized only that the reunion with Fleetwood Mac is temporary.(Rolling Stone:March 18,1971)
Correction: His devotion was not to Christianity as Peter Green is actually Peter Greenbaum, of Jewish decent. Green did not like the music business, actually gave away all his money at one point.
I tired having worked a KinKs concert (March 26)getting to my room about 5AM but knew I had to solder on as PETER GREEN was in town playing with FLEETWOOD MAC/ EDGAR WINTER’s WHITE TRASH/TIN HOUSE March 26/27,1971@ Rockpile aka The Action House. Again, he did not disappoint,taking the band back to their roots of blues, beautifully played blues. And then he was gone, again
FLEETWOOD MAC(version 7) is now young DANNY KIRWAN (another soon to be rock n roll tragedy) and CHRISTINE McVIE’s band. “Future Games” (71) was Danny’s shining moment as lead guitarist with BOB WELCH added to the line up on rhythm. The blues were dropped from their repertoire. “Bare Trees” (72) is considered the lp which erases everything in the past, a true Kirwan masterpiece, to some. During the promotional tour Danny Kirwan was fired from Fleetwood Mac in the (fall of 1972). His alcoholism and increasing mental instability had made him a difficult bandmate and collaborator. Version 8 is Bob and Christine’s show and so on…they were a mess financially,had troubles with internal relationships and external relationships. They added members, dropped folks, changed management ,moved to LA, back to England,etc
January 26,1974, Academy of Music- FLEETWOOD MAC/KISS/SILVERHEAD. I’m there for FLEETWOOD MAC (not knowing who was still in the band). 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. Their set was cut short as Gene Simmons set his hair on fire.(I saw Kiss twice at THE DAISY in Amityville the summer before but then KISS was not like this. Tonight, KISS set the entire venue of 3000 on fire. A great show, lights, fire breathing,fully costumed and ear drum shattering loud. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC appears. I notice MICK FLEETWOOD is not on the kit, No John McVie, No Christine…strange looks around the crowd, “who are these 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 FM, a band put together by the owner (a past manager) of the “brand name” FLEETWOOD MAC, which hit the road while the true members were sorting out problems with alcohol, drugs, relationships, etc.Immediately after this, the true band grab the reins and hire Buckingham and Nicks, the rest is history.
To me,of all the guitar giants to emerge from the British blues boom Peter Green was perhaps the most naturally gifted. B.B.King famously said this about him: “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” That’s really is all you need to know about the man. Duane Allman acknowledged Green’s influence on him and the twin guitar approach of the Allman Brothers Band, And PETER GREEN penned “Black Magic Woman”.