Fleetwood Mac Talk Returning to the Stage for Classic East Gig After Two-Year Hiatus

Danny Clinch
Fleetwood Mac

After going their own ways for nearly two years, the members of Fleetwood Mac are looking forward to being back together for a pair of shows this month, as part bi-coastal festival The Classic.

The Mac will be back together on Sunday (June 16) for Classic West in Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, with Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire also on the bill. The Eagles, with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers, will headline the first night on Saturday. Classic East takes place July 29 through 30 at Citi Field in New York. It'll be Fleetwood Mac's first public appearances since November of 2015 and will be proof of drummer Mick Fleetwood's pronouncement earlier this year that the group is "alive and well" despite the recent period of down time.

"We're just going to go in and close our eyes and have fun -- that's all I can say about it," guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, who's currently touring with Mac mate Christine McVie to promote their new duo album, tells Billboard. "It's sort of a spectacle. You can't really worry about the aesthetics or anything. You just have to have fun with it, and hopefully that's what we'll do. We're just going to brush up on our set, and we're certainly not reinventing anything for those shows."

McVie adds that, "It'll be more of the same, I expect. Certainly we'll start with the 'The Chain.' I think we've got muscle memory after being on the road for a year and a half the last time. It will probably be basically the same set; I don't know if we might decide to make an extreme move and do something different."

Fleetwood Mac toured with the Eagles during the '70s, playing stadium dates together, and Mac's Stevie Nicks had a widely acknowledged relationship with the Eagles' Don Henley. "We used to sort of alternate between one and two in the charts back in the '70s," McVie remembers. "We'd check out Billboard and see who was number one this week, so we were fairly competitive back in the day. But I still have such fond memories of 'Hotel California.' It takes me way back to that time."

Like other fans, she and Buckingham are curious to see how the Eagles fly without the late Glenn Frey, whose death in January of 2016 initially seemed to bring an end to the group, which will play the shows with Frey's son Deacon and Vince Gill in his stead. 

"I was quite surprised, actually, but I'm proud of them for doing it. I think they've got a good replacement for Glenn," McVie says. Buckingham adds that, "It was just a sad thing, Glenn's passing, so I don't know what you do in that kind of situation. I don't really have any preconceptions. They're smart guys; I'm sure it all works on some level, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out. But, you know, it's just such a loss in the sense of Don and Glenn for all those years -- and other people kind of floating in and out of the band, but that always being the center. So anything [else] you do is going to seem a little foreign, at least initially."

Buckingham and McVie will also be playing their own shows around two Classic shows dates, while Nicks has four U.S. solo shows booked for August and September, and Fleetwood will be publishing a limited edition book about Fleetwood Mac's early days this fall with Britain's Genesis Publications. There are plans for the Mac to tour in 2018, though Buckingham is also finishing up a new solo album for the new year.

"That's typical for us; There's a lot of moving parts, so you've got to wait for everyone to be ready," he says. And there's also a possibility that he and McVie will play more of their duo shows, which blend material from the album with an assortment of Fleetwood Mac favorites. 

"We certainly could end up doing another leg," Buckingham says. "There was some talk about going to Europe. Again, in the same way the albums started off as sort of a lark, we don't have any agenda for any scenario here. I'm just thinking the shows are going to be fun no matter what we do, and we'll see where it goes. We're just enjoying each other's company and enjoying revisiting our dynamic. I just think it's such a surprisingly positive thing, this whole project coming together and the way that it did, and how it turned out. So I'm just happy with whatever happens."