Long Beach 1974 Review

(Long Beach Press-Telegram, 2/19/74) Fleetwood Mac has sacrificed artistic pursuits in search of big bucks. The "New" Fleetwood Mac -- that, is minus Mick Fieetwood. and his entire band -- has taken to the concert trail with a catalog of mediocre versions of compositions by other groups.

That concert trek led to Long Beach Sunday night with the Mac's disputable new sound with Elmer Gantry, lead singer, Kirby, on guitar, Paul Martinez, bass, David Wilkinson, piano and Craig Collinge, drums. The near-capacity crowd was subjected to irrelevant selections, sadly lacking in spontaneity. I felt the inexperienced Fleetwood Mac was filling in a time slot instead of entertaining.

The first group, Kiss, far out-distanced the top-billed Mac, with an offering of hard-pounding rock and roll. If they lacked polish, they made up for it with an energetic approach to their music. They're young and a group worth watching. Booking Fleetwood Mac's new sound between solid rockers like Kiss and Rory Gallagher was like inserting a dead spot into a storm. The difference between the old Mac and the new showed up sorely in "Show Biz Blues," with the new group lacking the full, heavy sound that made the old a tradition since 1967.

RORY Gallagher is another world. He consistently delivers, a tight package of hard driving rock. He began at 10:30 p.m. and didn't let up until a little after midnight dominating the set with his poignant guitar phrasing. This was the second time the Irish-born Gallagher shared the Long Beach stage with Fleetwood Mac -- and the second time he came out giant steps ahead with his fast rocking washes of jamming guitar riffs.

Gallagher's second selection, "Cradle Rock" featured a brilliant bass solo, liberally spiced with guitar. Gallagher continues to perfect his boggle blues beat, while not slackening up on the hard rock portion of his set. He moves in and out of music changes with the ease of Chuck Berry one minute and the next ducks into accoustic mediums with guitar and mandolin. Despite trouble with his sound system (a failing microphone jinxed the last part of his set) the audience warmed to the Gallagher powerhouse sound.

Gallagher doesn't wear the mantle of a rock great. I think if he were billed with better groups the momentum would be just that extra thrust needed to push him over into the excellent category.