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Watch Fleetwood Mac Perform ‘Don’t Stop’ at Final Concert in 2019

Fleetwood Mac fans were delivered rather somber news Monday when Stevie Nicks told Mojo that there was “no chance” of the band reuniting at any future point. “Without Christine [McVie], no can do,” she said. “Without her, it just couldn’t work.” By the end of the day, the intro to their Wikipedia page changed from “Fleetwood Mac are a band” to “Fleetwood Mac were a band.”

Just 10 years ago, they were in a radically different place. After 16 years of touring as a quartet, McVie suddenly returned to the fold, and the complete Rumours lineup hit the road for a triumphant reunion tour. “About two years ago. I started to think, ‘What am I doing?’” McVie told Rolling Stone in 2014. “‘I really miss that camaraderie with those four people. I miss everything about it.’ I missed the music, to be able to create again. I couldn’t imagine doing it with anyone besides Fleetwood Mac. I knew that they were my musical family.”

The musical family played 120 gigs all across the planet between 2014 and 2015, grossing nearly $200 million in the process. But things grew a little dicey when the tour ended and Lindsey Buckingham wanted to head into the studio and cut a new record. Nicks wasn’t on board with the plan. “I don’t think there’s any reason to spend a year and an amazing amount of money on a record that, even if it has great things, isn’t going to sell,” she told Rolling Stone in 2017. “What we do is go on the road, do a ton of shows and make lots of money. We have a lot of fun. Making a record isn’t all that much fun.”

The others didn’t agree. That same year, they united under the banner Buckingham McVie and cut a new album that Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham supported with a theater tour. At that same time, Nicks hit the arena circuit as a part of a double bill with the Pretenders. In the middle of all this, Fleetwood Mac somewhat awkwardly came together for two Classic East/Classic West stadium shows in New York and Los Angeles where they shared a bill with the Eagles, Steely Dan, the Doobie Brothers, Journey, and Earth, Wind & Fire. (It was part of Irving Azoff’s attempt to top Desert Trip the previous year.)

Reports of a 2018 tour began to circulate, but the first stop of the year was a MusiCares tribute show in their honor at Radio City Music Hall. They played a five-song set that night, including “The Chain” with guest Harry Styles, but things were not going well behind the scenes. Nicks felt that Buckingham was sarcastically smirking during her acceptance speech, and the guitarist grew enraged when a recording of “Rhiannon” played as they walked to the podium.

When it was all over, Nicks told the band that she wouldn’t agree to a tour with Buckingham. This didn’t place them in an easy position since a Fleetwood Mac tour without Stevie Nicks would have been a commercial fiasco. Buckingham was told that his services would no longer be needed. He responded with a lawsuit they settled out of court. He was replaced by Neil Finn of Crowded House and Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This horrified many longtime fans, but the tour was still a wild success. It wrapped up November 19, 2019, with a benefit for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals at San Francisco’s Oracle Park. They closed out the night with “Don’t Stop.”

This was the last official Fleetwood Mac concert, but Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie came together one last time February 25, 2020, to honor band founder Peter Green with an all-star tribute show at the London Palladium. The pandemic hit a couple of weeks later and denied them any chance for further activity, though Fleetwood told the press that he mended fences with Buckingham and hoped the group could somehow unite for one last tour.

“I’m very aware that we’ve never played that [farewell] card,” he told Rolling Stone in 2021. “I think the vision for me, and I think it would be hugely appropriate, is that we actually say ‘this is goodbye’ and go out and actually do that. That has always been my vision and I’m a flatly confident that we can do that. We owe it to the fans.”

When we caught up with Christine McVie in June 2022, she had severe doubts about the viability of such a tour. “I don’t feel physically up for it,” she said. “I’m in quite bad health. I’ve got a chronic back problem which debilitates me. I stand up to play the piano, so I don’t know if I could actually physically do it. What’s that saying? The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Without getting into any detail, she said that John McVie was also unlikely to tour either. “He’s got health issues, so I don’t know if he would be up for it,” she said. “You’d have to ask him.”

It was one of her last interviews. She died just five months later. And if she was right about John McVie’s health, any sort of Fleetwood Mac tour at this point would be just Nicks, Buckingham, and Fleetwood. That trio would certainly sell a lot of tickets, especially if they labelled it a farewell outing, but Nicks told Mojo that was a non-starter.

“Even if I thought I could work with Lindsey again, he’s had some health problems,” she said. “It’s not for me to say, but I’m not sure if Lindsey could do the kind of touring that Fleetwood Mac does, where you go out for a year and a half. It’s so demanding.”

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She’s correct that Buckingham underwent heart surgery in 2019 that left him unable to perform for a couple of years, but he resumed activity in 2021, and seemingly made a complete recovery. Nicks, meanwhile, draws larger crowds these days as a solo act than she has at any other point in her career. Her set is packed with Fleetwood Mac classics. “Now that there is no more Fleetwood Mac, that opens the door for me to do other songs, like ‘The Chain,’ that I’ve never done [solo],” she told Mojo. “I will keep the music of Fleetwood Mac alive, for as long as I can.”

In other words, she’s flying the Fleetwood Mac banner on her own at this point. And even if the band never plays again in any capacity, let’s hope the Buckingham/Nicks saga is given a proper conclusion at some point. It could be something as simple as him coming out at one of her solo concerts so they can play “Landslide” together one last time. A Fleetwood Mac biopic is an inevitability. It can’t end with the two of them yelling at each other backstage at Radio City Music Hall as Harry Styles stands awkwardly in the wings. It needs a happy ending.

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