ASHMUN & REYNOLDS, two singers (one of whom also plays bass) with the Baldry band, opened the show with a couple of numbers of their own which were lackluster save for the bottleneck guitar work by a Mr. Weston, a true flash on both electric guitar and National Steel.
With a short announcement, the 6’7″ Baldry strutted nonchalantly to the stage and began the Ron Davies now-standard ‘It Ain’t Easy’ with all the spunk and drive one would expect from someone with as much experience in crowd-pleasing as John Baldry has. The high energy directionality of the concert faltered not once, as John danced and sang thru Rod Stewart’s & Faces’ ‘Flying’, ‘Don’t Try To Lay No Boggie Woogie On The King Of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, ‘Walking Blues’, and a tribute to Mahalia Jackson. The meager crowd was absolutely ecstatic as Baldry jumped into the audience and danced and sang from there, with Weston, Ashmun, Reynolds, and Armitt going to town on stage, and within a few moments most of the people were on their feet. Baldry left the stage amidst a standing ovation which lasted a good 10 minutes, but to no avail (third billed groups are not allowed encores). Tuff luck.
Following a half-hour of equipment setups and checks, Fleetwood Mac took the stage and began their set with a KILN HOUSE great, ‘Tell Me’, but Danny Kirwan’s guitar was all but completely inaudible, and Californian Bob Welch was the loudest member of the group, save for the incredible drummer Mick Fleetwood, who knocked the shit out of his set as he towered over it in full majesty. McVie and wife Christine stayed mostly in the background as Welch took his place as idiot raconteur and supposed leader of the group, trying to persuade the crowd to dance. They all played well, but sounded like they’ve never practiced. They lacked any boogie potential as they went through ‘Future Games’ and a number from their new album, but managed to get the audience on their feet with an old Chicken Shack (Christine’s old group) number ‘Get Like You Used To Be’, ‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’, and the consummate Fleetwood Mac boogie deluxe, ‘Oh Well’. They seemed quite displeased with their set and decided not to do an encore to appease the screaming and clapping crowd.
Savoy Brown came on-stage after an interminable wait, and started their set with the Jeff Beck/Jukin’ Bone/Joe Smith Blues Band standard ‘I’m Down’, with as little inspiration as possible. Their set continued on a similar note of boredom, with Kim Simmonds’ guitar work as humdrum as a lead guitarist could ever be; his solos were never interesting, he didn’t play one note that might be labeled “inspired” The rest of the band was about the same – competent but absolutely mediocre. I left when I heard Kim announce, “This is the Savoy Brown Boogie”….Da Da da da da dadadadadada.
© Jon Tiven, Phonograph Record, May 1972