Home » Fleetwood Mac: They may be paleolithic but have good bones

Fleetwood Mac: They may be paleolithic but have good bones

(Neal Preston)
(Neal Preston)

So you never got to see Queen with the incandescent Freddie Mercury, Journey fronted by Steve Perry, or U2 before Bono took himself so seriously. It’s a loss, to be sure. But on Sunday at the Rose Garden, you’ll have the chance to catch one of rock’s legendary bands while they’re mostly intact and can still bring it.

Fleetwood Mac is Paleolithic by pop music standards — its first incarnation can be traced back to 1967 — but recent reviews from previous stops on the band’s current world tour attest to the fact that they’re still more than the sum of their very individual, disparate parts.

Drummer Mick Fleetwood is the band’s occasional manager and one of the Beatles-era originals, along with bassist John McVie. Fleetwood has also been described as the glue that’s held the group together for decades, even back when they cycled through various members as a blues outfit in London.

In 1975, at a Los Angeles restaurant, Fleetwood hit the jackpot for the band’s lineup, meeting the couple who would anchor the band’s longest-running incarnation. Lindsey Buckingham and his girlfriend/partner Stevie Nicks brought pop and poetry to Fleetwood Mac, but like so many windfalls, they also brought more drama and turmoil to a group already rocked by substance abuse and the crumbling marriage of Christine and John McVie.

That drama eventually resulted in Rumours, one of the best-selling albums in music history.

More telling of influence than album sales, however, is the number of 30-something women walking around today with the name Rhiannon. It’s likely they’ve only seen videos of the person whose song inspired their name — the band’s enchanted frontwoman, Nicks. There’s an argument to be made that Nicks, still draped in diaphanous scarves and age-defying blond locks at 65, is the element that must be present in order for Fleetwood Mac to conjure magic.

And yet the creative process that resulted in some of pop’s most enduring music rarely involved the band jamming together. Rumours, as well as many subsequent Fleetwood Mac albums, came about through overdubbing and piecing together various bits and riffs recorded by the members individually, with almost all tracks written by Nicks, Christine McVie or Buckingham.

This dogged individuality has been both necessary to the band’s success and nearly its undoing over the years; it’s fitting that “The Chain” — a song that the players themselves agree is the band’s unofficial anthem — is the only one in Fleetwood Mac’s extensive catalog with a five-way writing credit.

It’s a track that begins with one of rock music’s most recognizable plucked-guitar intros, courtesy of Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac’s youngest member. At 63, he remains the intense, guitar-shredding kid in the band who has always served as the catalyst for change. Buckingham is also the main reason Fleetwood Mac has a new four-song EP called Extended Play, which landed in the iTunes Top 10 when it was released in April. At least a few of those tracks are incorporated into this tour’s set, which has been running longer than 2 1/2 hours.

While the new songs are unmistakably Fleetwood Mac creations, they are missing the sweet voice and polished keyboard work that Christine McVie brought to the mix. Retired to the English countryside since 1998, she was always the group’s much-needed leavening agent. Some of her best-known songs are understandably absent from the current tour’s playlist, and word is there’s a thinness to the live show without her presence.

But there is still the drama of seeing Buckingham and Nicks trying to resolve whatever chemistry remains between them live on stage; lanky Mick Fleetwood hunched over a drum kit pounding out “Tusk”; John McVie’s ominous vibrating bass lines; and the near-astral experience that is “Sara.” Even after three decades, it’s an alchemy that continues to produce gold.

Buckingham says the band’s musicianship has not diminished with age, nor has the desire for most of them to make music together.

“After all this time you would think there was nothing left to discover, nothing left to work out, no new chapters to be written,” he told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “But that is not the case.”

Michele Coppola / Special to the Oregonian / Friday, June 28, 2013


LIVE IN CONCERT (2023-2024)

Billy Joel and Stevie NicksStevie Nicks

FEB 10, 2024
Mark G Etess Arena
Atlantic City, NJ

FEB 14, 2024
UBS Arena
Belmont Park, NY

FEB 17, 2024
CFG Bank Arena
Baltimore, MD

FEB 21, 2024
Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Greenville, SC

FEB 24, 2024
Hard Rock Live
Hollywood, FL

FEB 28, 2024
Smoothie King Center
New Orleans, LA

MAR 3, 2024
CHI Health Center
Omaha, NE

MAR 6, 2024
Simmons Bank Arena
North Little Rock, AR

MAR 9, 2024
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX
Billy Joel

MAY 3, 2024 – MAY 5, 2024
Lovin’ Life Fest
Charlotte, NC

MAY 7, 2024
Enterprise Center
St Louis, MO

MAY 10, 2024
WinStar World Casino & Resort
Thackerville, OK

MAY 14, 2024
Bridgestone Arena
Nashville, TN

MAY 18, 2024
Frost Bank Center
San Antonio, TX

MAY 21, 2024
Yaamava’ Resort & Casino – Yaamava’ Theater
Highland, CA

MAY 24, 2024
BottleRock Napa Valley
Napa, CA

MAY 27, 2024
Delta Center
Salt Lake City, UT

MAY 30, 2024
Ball Arena
Denver, CO

Gainbridge Fieldhouse
Indianapolis, IN

JUN 9 
Mohegan Sun Casino
Uncasville, CT

JUN 12
MVP Arena
Albany, NY

JUN 15 
Hersheypark Stadium
Hershey, PA

JUN 18
Van Andel Arena
Grand Rapids, MI

JUN 21, 2024
Soldier Field
Chicago, IL

Two Icons One Night presented by Live Nation
^ Non-Live Nation show

Previous 2023 dates

March 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Los Angeles, CA
SoFi Stadium

March 15, 2023
Seattle, WA
Climate Pledge Arena

March 18, 2023
Las Vegas, NV
T-Mobile Arena

May 12, 2023
Raleigh, NC
PNC Arena

May 16, 2023
Knoxville, TN
Thompson-Boling Arena

May 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Nashville, TN
Nissan Stadium

May 22, 2023
Atlanta, GA
State Farm Arena

May 25, 2023
Orlando, FL
Amway Center

June 16, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Philadelphia, PA
Lincoln Financial Field

June 20, 2023
Toronto, ON (Canada)
Scotiabank Arena

June 23, 2023
Chicago, IL
United Center

June 27, 2023
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

August 5, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Columbus, OH
Ohio Stadium

August 8, 2023
Milwaukee, WI
Fiserv Forum

August 12, 2023
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

August 15, 2023
Austin, TX
Moody Center

August 19, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Kansas City, MO
Arrowhead Stadium

September 23, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Foxborough, MA
Gillette Stadium

September 27, 2023
Pittsburgh, PA
PPG Paints Arena

October 1, 2023
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

October 4, 2023
Buffalo, NY
KeyBank Center

October 7, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Baltimore, MD 
M&T Bank Stadium

October 28, 2023
Memphis, TN
FedEx Forum

November 1, 2023
Savannah, GA
Enmarket Arena

November 4, 2023
Allentown, PA
PPL Center

November 7, 2023
Detroit, MI
Little Caesars Arena

November 10, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Bank Stadium

November 29, 2023
San Diego, CA
Viejas Arena

December 2, 2023
Inglewood, CA
The Kia Forum

December 5, 2023
Palm Desert, CA
Acisure Arena

December  8, 2023 – BILLY JOEL
Phoenix, AZ
Chase Field

December 12, 2023
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

December 15, 2023
San Francisco, CA
Chase Center

2022 Tour

Stevie Nicks

Jazz Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass, CO
Labor Day 2022

Ravinia Festival
Highland Park, IL
September 8, 2022
September 10, 2022

Pine Knob Music Theatre
Clarkston, MI
September 13, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sea Hear Now Festival
Asbury, NJ
September 17, 2022

Xfinity Center
Mansfield, MA
September 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Maine Savings Amphitheatre
Bangor, ME
September 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Sound on Sound Festival
Bridgeport, CT
September 24-25, 2022

Ohana Festival
Dana Point, CA
September 30, 2022

Hollywood Bowl
Los Angeles, CA
October 3, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Phoenix, AZ
October 6, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Woodlands, TX
October 9, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, GA
October 12, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ascend Amphitheater
Nashville, TN
October 16, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Credit One Stadium
Charleston, SC
October 19, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

PNC Music Pavilion
Charlotte, NC
October 22, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Tampa, FL
October 25, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
West Palm Beach, FL
October 28, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Orion Amphitheatre
Huntsville, AL
October 31, 2022


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
The Woodlands, TX
November 2, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton

Ak-Chin Pavilion
Phoenix, AZ
November 5, 2022
w/ Vanessa Carlton