Thursday, January 03, 2013

Fleetwood Mac's 1977 Japanese Tour Footage Surfaces

Well this is interesting... I wonder if she's speaking about this footage?  If so, it's cool to know that it's intact somewhere and by the sounds of it, is being worked on.  Michael Collins is also the one who shot the documentary footage that will be released with the Rumours re-release later this month.

Ringing in the New Year With Fleetwood Mac
by Jane Heller
Huffington Post

I've never been a big fan of New Year's Eve. There's so much pressure to do something out-of-this-world fabulous, not to mention have someone out-of-this-world fabulous to do it with. I remember prix fixed restaurant dinners that weren't worth the money and too-big parties whose forced gaiety made everyone feel tense and champagne hangovers that wrecked me for days. And I remember occasions when my husband was suffering from flare-ups from Crohn's disease and was too ill to celebrate at all.

My favorite memories are of quiet evenings with him and a few close friends, and this past New Year's Eve was a case in point. He was in better-than-usual health and good spirits, so out we went.

Our hosts were Martha and Michael Collins, who had lost their house in the 2008 wildfire that destroyed over 200 homes in the Santa Barbara area. After living in a trailer for four years, Martha and Michael rose from the ashes, literally, and moved last month into the spectacular new house they built on the same site -- a meticulously-crafted beacon of resilience. Some people would have been thrown by the very notion of losing everything (short of the clothes on their backs and their laptops), but Martha and Michael thrived, their marriage and partnership more solid than ever.

We were in the midst of their scrumptious meal when Michael, a filmmaker whose specialty has been chronicling the lives and music of our most accomplished rock 'n' roll artists, mentioned that among the very few material possessions he'd been able to grab before a wall of flames drove him and Martha out of their house was the documentary footage he'd shot 35 years ago of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 Japanese tour to promote their "Rumours" album.

"I'm finishing up the documentary now," he told us.

"The public has never seen Fleetwood Mac like this before," Martha chimed in. "They were so young and it was such an innocent time, and the music is beyond great since they were in their prime."

I put down my knife and fork (not easy when your hosts have prepared a feast that would rival any restaurant), and said, "Can we see this documentary? Like, tonight?"

Michael hesitated. "It's still raw -- a work in progress. But I guess I could show you clips."

I was not taking "I guess" for an answer. Fleetwood Mac has always been one of my favorite bands and on this particular New Year's Eve, when I'd felt barraged by news of Kanye West, the Gangnam Style guy and Rihanna's latest Twitpic, I was so in the mood for a little boomer music.

Michael obliged. We adjourned to the Collins's living room with its 50" flat screen, professional-grade sound system and comfy chairs, and watched avidly as cameras swooped in on the youthful faces of Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine and John McVie. (If you liked the close-ups in Les Mis, you'll love this film.)

Full article at Huffington Post

It's one thing to pop in the ear buds and listen to "Rhiannon" and "Go Your Own Way" on an iPod. It's quite another to see Fleetwood Mac at the height of their powers perform live in concert without pyrotechnics or cutesy crowd cutaways or even the requisite back-up singers. What was on screen was pure, unadulterated rock n' roll, as well as behind-the-scenes sequences of the band between sets. There's a wonderful moment, for example, that juxtaposes a Japanese Kabuki dancer applying makeup with painterly care with Stevie Nicks hastily drawing on her eyeliner before rushing on stage. (Seriously, can you imagine Lady Gaga doing her own makeup?)

Michael's film is still a work in progress, as he explained, but from what I saw audiences will be blown away by it. And not just for some retro thrill. Yes, there's nostalgia for a time when our top recording artists had messy personal lives but didn't make sex tapes; for a time when the biggest selling band in the world took public transportation like the rest of us; for a time when Stevie Nicks had more vocal range than she does now.

But there's a scene in Michael's film that's utterly relevant for today and strongly resonated with me. It's when Nicks holds the camera for "Landslide." She's still in her late 20's, fresh-faced and full-throated, and yet she sings with the uncanny wisdom of an over-50:

"Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you.
But time makes you bolder.
Children get older.
I'm getting older too."

Yup, we're all getting older and there are things about aging that really piss me off, but spending New Year's Eve with cherished friends and a much-loved husband and music that had me bolting up from my chair and dancing like a fool made me grateful to be exactly the age I am.


Anonymous said...

"I can't wait... I can't wait..."

Anonymous said...

This footage has been circulated among collectors for nearly two decades. It has been called "Backstage Rumors", "Uncirculated Rumors", etc.

I personally have the 175 minute version and have watched it dozens of times over the years. It is truly fascinating. This 'bootleg" version is raw film footage with no editing. Some segments are 10 seconds, some segments are 10 minutes.

It includes priceless artistic film moments such as an extreme close-up of Stevie's face while she applies her makeup in one continuous four-minute shot. It also includes unbelievably candid footage of drug use, such as Stevie, Robin, and their friends snorting coke with the aid of a facial steam machine. (I doubt that segment will be approved for release in any official documentary).

The most precious moment is when Stevie loses her ring during the show, then a little girl scours the floor after the concert, finds it, and returns it to Stevie who is actually helping the crew pack up the stage!

These were still the days when the band and the crew were literally one in the same... all equal players in the exhausting job of hauling a live show around the world from one city to the next. I don't know if an edited documentary of this previously circulated raw footage will be able to capture the essence of the bootleg version, but lets hope so if this project ever sees the light of day.

Anonymous said...

Actually there were two different shows filmed on the Rumours Japan tour. This concert that aired on TV and the backstage stuff that is part of a different show. In Mick Fleetwood's book he says they couldn't get any cocaine in Japan because the local mafia controlled the drugs and even rock stars couldn't get any. And it looks like Stevie is tripping on LSD as a substitute, as she was known to do at the stage of her life. The rest of the band just looks like they are more drunk than usual. And yes both of these shows have been around for many years, the concert is intersting in that back then they don't keep the camera on Stevie much, not yet realizing she was already a star in the US.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the part of Stevie and Chris snorting coke? Link??

Anonymous said...

These were uploaded March 17, 2011, almost 2 yrs ago.

Anonymous said...

They are not snorting coke with the steam machine. Stevie used that in those days for her ongoing throat problems. She even says in the footage that Boz Scaggs first showed her that the steam opened up her vocal chords. Of couse she used lots of coke, as did all of the Mac and almost every other rock group of the time. I also have all this footage and it almost shows them all doing drugs, but every time they edit out the actual taking of anything. At one point, Mick I think goes into a bathroom stall to take something. And you can tell the band was very aware that they were being filmed and not happy to have it take place in their dressing rooms before and after the show.

Anonymous said...

I think it is very suspicious that they are sprinkling white powder from a tiny vial into the facial machine before alternately inhaling long deep breaths from the device. I think the "Boz Scagg conversation" was an intentional distraction because they did indeed know they were being filmed. They even laugh sarcastically at the ludicrous Boz Scaggs explanation. And for the record, Christine is not included in this segment.

Anonymous said...

Robin Anderson was not in the band. She was Stevie's friend and traveling companion. Why would she need to steam her vocal chords?!

Anonymous said...

I thought that was simply what it is -- a vaporizer -- "so I can have a voice to sing with tonight", Stevie explains in the documentary. Never thought there could be cocaine in there... but who knows?

Anonymous said...

Who carries "facial powder" or "granulated throat remedy" in a tiny vial and painstakingly sprinkles it into an inhalation contraption before their friends subsequently take turns inhaling the "steam" and then holding their breath deeply? Regardless of what may or may not be happening in this segment of the film, it is a fascinating candid moment of Stevie and her friends that was captured backstage that night.

It is actually the camera operator who can be heard asking "what is this thing?" as Stevie meticulously pours small quantities of the powder into the machine. Then she inhales most of it herself leaving whatever leftovers may remain for her friend to inhale!

Lets be real here folks... in 1977 snorting coke from a bong-like gadget was common. Nobody thought twice about that sort of thing back then. Cocaine in 1977 was considered a recreational substance, not some sort of evil illegal scandalous drug requiring secrecy, as it does in today's world of political correctness and paparazzi-fueled microscopic surveillance of anybody in the public eye.

Stevie and her friends may have been simply steaming their faces (I seriously doubt it). It seems more likely that the mysterious facial machine probably was being used as a cocaine bong. There is nothing shocking about that considering the time and circumstance.

It's exactly the same thing as if three friends all passed around and shared one giant martini in the year 2013. Nobody would view that as questionable.

Anonymous said...

I'm watching this right now and to Anonymous at 4:32pm Jan 4th, they are not sprinkling white powder from a tiny vial into the facial machine. Robin sticks her face in for like 2 seconds looking like she's testing it's steam strength, then pours more water in from a cup and opens a small bottle and adds a cap full of another liquid. Then Stevie proceeds to steam her vocal cords all the while explaining what she's doing adding Boz Scaggs said it got him through a tough tour and Stevie said we thought we'd try it. Not a drug mechanism at all!

Anonymous said...

Haha - you can't use cocaine with a facial vaporizer!

Anonymous said...


They are using ESSENTIAL OILS for a facial steamer. It's done for singers all the time, including me! FOR HEAVEN'S SAKES..... That's ALL IT IS.

Anonymous said...

You're right, 1:22 PM Anonymous. It was probably eucalyptus oil being added to the vaporizer.

Anonymous said...

TRUE! Professional singers, especially those of us in musical theater who perform as much as 8 shows a week, constantly use humidifiers (especially when travelling and in the winter months) to hydrate the vocal chords. We also drink gallons of water, try not to talk much, and stay away from smoking, alcohol and even cold medications - anything that dries the chords. Still, I'm not sure if a few minutes at the steamer can reverse the damage of the heavy partying Fleetwood Mac confessed to during that time.
if I'm not mistaken, didn't Stevie mention that Robin was a speech therapist who helped her to save her voice while touring?
Some of this footage is or was available on youtube. In the backstage footage, Stevies hair is not as wildly permeded and teased as in the above clip.

Anonymous said...

where can you buy this?

Nickslive said...

No word on whether this will be released... Hopefully

Anonymous said...

Thanks! It would be great if it was released!

Unknown said...

Seven years later and the footage has never seen the light of day.

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