- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When Fleetwood Mac visited the Washington area in early March, the iconic band took up residence at the Verizon Center for an energized, hit-filled evening. Three months later, the group is bringing its seasoned act to the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore tonight. Fans can expect another round of classic songs and assorted solo performances, drummer Mick Fleetwood says.

“For the very first time, we’re going out on the road without an album. I think we’re going to make the audience identify with songs that they know. All the energy of the band is focused on that, because we don’t have five or six songs off a new album that we would [otherwise] love to be playing.”

Mr. Fleetwood, the only member to remain with Fleetwood Mac throughout its 42-year existence, has seen his share of drama. Personnel changes have plagued the group since 1967, when bass player John McVie replaced Bob Brunning shortly after the band’s formation. A decade later, a tangled web of intraband relationships threatened to squash the group’s mounting success. Such emotional turmoil helped spawn Fleetwood Mac’s magnum opus, “Rumours,” but it also contributed to a number of enduring conflicts among the musicians.

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham doesn’t shy away from his band’s rocky past.

“We are a group of great contradictions,” he says, “a group whose members don’t necessarily have any business being in a band together because the range of sensibilities is disparate. But that’s what makes Fleetwood Mac what it is. It’s the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. It’s the kind of energy that is created from that kind of contrast in personalities.”

Stevie Nicks puts things more simply: “We’ve been apart for four years. Now we’re back together, and we’re having a blast. It’s terrific.”

Since the 1980s, both Ms. Nicks and Mr. Buckingham have augmented their work in Fleetwood Mac with successful solo careers. Although songs from their respective albums likely will pepper the Baltimore set list, the emphasis remains on Fleetwood Mac’s own songbook.

Classic songs such as “Go Your Own Way” and “Dreams” are obligatory inclusions, although Mr. Fleetwood also notes the presence of lesser-known — but equally moving — material.

“As we go along, we are finding special songs that maybe aren’t considered massive hits but are truly emotionally connected to Fleetwood Mac.”

Included in the mix are several compositions by Christine McVie, who joined the band in 1970 and exited nearly 30 years later.

“I miss Christine every day because she was my best buddy,” Ms. Nicks says. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish she’d call up and say, ‘I’m back.’ But she’s not going to. We’ve all kind of accepted that now.”

Ms. McVie’s absence notwithstanding, the musicians remain in good spirits, often blowing kisses to one another while performing. The band that once urged listeners, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow” seems to be following its own advice, having eschewed past transgressions in honor of a timeless, enduring catalog.

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