Fleetwood Mac — at Consol this week — connects to fans with 'Dreams,' more
Fleetwood Mac fans won't have to worry about the band phoning things in on its 2013 tour.
The band became arguably the biggest act in rock in the late 1970s after guitarist-singer Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks joined three holdovers from earlier editions of Fleetwood Mac — drummer Mick Fleetwood, bassist John McVie and keyboardist-singer Christine McVie (the bassist's former wife) in 1975 and released three straight blockbuster albums, “Fleetwood Mac” (1975), “Rumours” (1977) and “Tusk” (1979).
But in talking to Fleetwood, it's obvious that today's four core members (Christine McVie retired from the band in 1998) are very much invested in the band and not complacent about its live show. In fact, the band spent six full weeks rehearsing for this year's tour, trying to be as ready as possible to be in peak form from opening night forward. They perform April 26 at Consol Energy Center, Uptown.
“We know the nuts and bolts are all in place (for the show) and we have confidence in that,” Mick Fleetwood says. “But we also have like a garage band-like mentality. ... And (that nervousness) doesn't really go away, which is a nice thing. We're not all jaded and so showbizzed-out that we're all super-slick and go ‘Ah, piece of cake.' We're not like that at all.”
Fleetwood says the tour will, of course, feature the band's signature hits.
“We know that we have sort of a body of songs that, in truth, if we didn't do them, we'd probably be all lined up and shot,” he says. “If we walked on the stage and didn't play ‘Dreams,' I think people would be shocked. So we don't go there. So what we do is we take the prime songs, ‘Go Your Own Way,' ‘Dreams,' songs like that, and then build a new show around the fact that we, of course, are going to be doing those songs.”
This will be Fleetwood Mac's first tour since its 2009 outing, dubbed the “Unleashed” tour. The band doesn't regroup that often, in part because Buckingham and Nicks both want time for their ongoing solo careers. Following the “Unleashed” tour, Buckingham released the studio album “Seeds We Sow,” while Nicks released her CD, “In Your Dreams.” Both artists toured extensively to support the albums.
The personal history and inter-band dynamics within Fleetwood Mac also create challenges — and, according to Fleetwood, are another indication of why the four band members are all in when they reunite.
“When we do do it, we work really hard at it and we're committed to it,” he says. “We fundamentally have to be happy to be doing this, because we're all ex-lovers and all the stuff that is well-worn news out there.”
As has been well-documented, Buckingham and Nicks were a couple (and were recording as Buckingham-Nicks) when they joined Fleetwood Mac. The McVies were married at that time. But the relationships soon frayed, and the “Rumours” album was written in the midst of those breakups.
Fleetwood and Nicks later became a couple for a time, while Buckingham married and started a family. Nicks is now the godmother of Fleetwood's children. But the personal history makes every Fleetwood Mac reunion a significant undertaking.
“(This is) a bunch of people who aren't just connected by the music, but connected by spending huge amounts of time (together),” Fleetwood says.
This year's reunion could turn out to be even more eventful than the one in 2009, because it could include a new Fleetwood Mac album.
A batch of new songs was recorded last year when Buckingham, Fleetwood and McVie got together for a writing and rehearsal session. Nicks has since added her vocals to several of the songs, a few of which, Fleetwood said, are being released on iTunes to coincide with the tour.
“I truly hope by the end of the year or the beginning of next year that these tracks that are coming out now will fold over into a completed piece of work, which will be a new Fleetwood Mac album, which would be fantastic,” Fleetwood said.
Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.