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Fleetwood Mac – Fantastic Rumours (Masterport-222)

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Fantastic Rumours (Masterport-222)

Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - December 5th, 1977 

Disc 1:  Intro., Say You Love Me, Monday Morning, Dreams, Oh Well, Rhiannon, Oh Daddy, Never Going Back Again, Landslide, Over My Head

Disc 2:  Gold Dust Woman, You Make Loving Fun, I’m So Afraid, Go Your Own Way, World Turning, Blue Letter

Fantastic Rumours is an excellent document of Fleetwood Mac’s final 1977 show on their long tour in support of Rumours.  They would continue this tour six months later in the summer of 1978.  There were two sources floating around.  A complete audience recording that is good to very good and a professional video for Japanese television.  The audience source was booted in the past as Stage on the Private Masters (PM-017) label.  This release uses a previously undocumented second audio source.

It was made, according to Masterport, by an employee of Warner Brothers right by the stage.  The music is quite clear with very little audience noise, just the occassional whistle and comment.  There is noticeable hiss and echo on the tape like the mic was in an empty coffee can.  Also the taper missed the encores so “The Chain”, “Second Hand News”, and “Songbird” are not present. 

It would have been nice if Masterport edited these songs in from the older source to complete the show.  What is very good about this tape is the emphasis upon the rhythm section.  Fleetwood’s drums are very resonant, especially in his drum solo in “World Turning”, and McVie’s lyrical bass lines are a treat.  “Monday Morning” from on the Fleetwood Mac Live LP comes from this show.

The performance itself is miles above the Paris show in April documented on A Votre Sante.  The delivery of the Rumours material especially is much more fierce and confident.  I guess selling countless millions of an album would boost anybody’s confidence, right?  About the time they hit New York in the summer Stevie Nicks began to lose her voice rending some of the material flat.  In this Osaka show she seems to have recovered somewhat.  She avoids some of the high notes in “Dreams” and “Rhiannon” but keeps her cries of anguish in “Gold Dust Woman” (sounding very heavy here) and gives a very tender reading of “Landslide”.

Fantastic Rumours is a very good release despite its limitations.  Any release of the 1970′s Fleetwood Mac is always welcome.  Their music might be too pop oriented for some, but on stage the band tried to be more improvisational and raw.  Masterport used charactures of the band for the cover which is different than most labels.  This is recommended and worth having.

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If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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