Sam Emerson

A fatigued McVie is still in fine voice

A nonstop tour schedule of one-night stands since April 15 has left singer-songwriter Christine McVie more than a mite weary. Her lack of energy was evident in concert Thursday night at Sunrise Musical Theatre, and was the only deterrent to an otherwise fine performance.

McVie was in good voice, right on the mark with her distinctive smoky, sleepy, blues singing style. She was backed by an excellent five-piece band, most of whose members also accompanied her on her recently released solo album, titled Christine McVie. Her repertoire was a well-chosen selection of her solo songs, as well as those she has recorded in her 13-year career with Fleetwood Mac.

McVie’s reputation as a laid-back performer seems to have preceded her throughout her first tour apart from the legendary band. Sunrise Theatre was less than half full, as has been the case at many of McVie’s other stops. This was unfortunate, not only for McVie and band, but also for those who missed the show, an enjoyable and musically proficient package of ballads, rockabilly and basic rock ‘n’ roll.

McVie is more than aware that the tour hasn’t been a big draw.

“Being on solo tour is less and more than I expected,” she said after the show. “Actually, I expected more people, but I’m happy with the response from the people that did come out.”

Those who did made up for their small numbers with a warm reception, which became warmer and louder as McVie seemed to pick up on their positive vibes and opened up, if just a little.

Accompanying herself on electric and acoustic piano, McVie sang most of the songs from the Christine McVie album, including its two singles — “Got a Hold on Me,” which became a hit soon after its release, and “Love Will Show Us How,” now rising on the charts. Also memorable were her album cuts “Ask Anybody,” a haunting ballad that clearly displays the soulful emotion of McVie’s voice, and “So Excited,” a rollicking rockabilly-style number.

For the most part, the songs from McVie’s solo album sounded better than the Fleetwood Mac hits she sang — “Hold Me,” “Over My Head,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Don’t Stop.” “Don’t Stop,” especially, sounded rather empty without Stevie Nicks’ high accompanying vocals.

McVie’s back-up band nearly made up for her subdued manner with an energetic, rhythmic performance. Lead guitarist Todd Sharp (especially notable for some hot breaks), guitarist Steve Bruton, bassist George Hawkins, drummer Steve Ferrone and keyboardist Eddy Quintela formed a tight, balanced unit. When the three guitarists performed without McVie on Guitar Bug, a bouncy rocker a la Chuck Berry, the audience responded almost as enthusiastically as it did at McVie’s encore.

McVie, who said she plans to record another solo album after helping Fleetwood Mac complete its new LP, looked smashingly British in red suede boots, a black and white leopard-spotted blouse, black vest and jeans.

Opening the show for McVie was the Baxter Robertson Band, a five-piece Los Angeles-based rock group with a good beat, some promising songs, and a hard-working lead singer-guitarist- saxophone player.

Linda R. Thornton / Miami Herald (FL) / June 2, 1984

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