IF YOU GO
What: Fleetwood Mac, in concert.
When: 8 p.m. June 30.
Where: Rose Garden, One Center Court, Portland.
Information: 877-739-7673 or http://rosequarter.com
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 his former wife, keyboardist/singer Christine McVie — in 1975. They released three straight blockbuster albums — "Fleetwood Mac" (1975), "Rumours" (1977) and "Tusk" (1979) — that established the lineup as the classic version of Fleetwood Mac.
But in talking to Mick Fleetwood, it's obvious that while the band could coast on its past triumphs, today's four core band 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.
"We know the nuts and bolts are all in place (for the show), and we have confidence in that," Fleetwood said in a late-March phone interview. "But we also have like a garage band-like mentality where we go '… We're actually playing down at the local town hall next week. We better be good. And it (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 said the band's show for this tour will, of course, feature its 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 said. "So we have sort of eight or nine songs that no matter what, we know people are going to want for us to do them, and we are totally cool with doing them. 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 it's 2009 outing, dubbed the "Unleashed" tour. The band doesn't regroup that often, in part because Buckingham and Nicks both make 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.
"We work really hard at it and we're committed to it," he said. "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 also married at that time. But the relationships soon frayed, and the "Rumours" album (a deluxe expanded edition of the CD was released in January) was written in the midst of those breakups.
Fleetwood and Nicks later became a couple for a time, while Buckingham later married and started a family. But the personal history makes every Fleetwood Mac reunion a significant undertaking and helps to explain why the four band members are so invested when they reconvene.
"(This is) a bunch of people who aren't just connected by the music, but connected by spending huge amounts of time (together) ... ." Fleetwood said. "No, they're not in love (now) and Lindsey has an incredibly wonderful family. But the story they tell as two people is huge. And you know, there I am with Stevie, and me and Stevie had a long-lasting love affair. She's the godmother of my children and it's a trip. It's a trip."
This year's reunion could turn out to be even more eventful than the one in 2009.
On the "Unleashed" tour, Fleetwood Mac essentially played a greatest hits set. But Fleetwood said this year's tour will blend in three or four new songs to go along with the hits.
A batch of new songs was recorded last year when Buckingham, Fleetwood and John McVie got together for a writing and rehearsal session.
"Stevie was on the road, and during that period, she lost her mother, who passed," Fleetwood said. "So she was not set up to come and join the party in that few weeks that me and Lindsey and John put some ideas together that Lindsey had."
Nicks has since added her vocals to several of the songs Buckingham, Fleetwood and McVie recorded during the sessions and the four songs -- the Buckingham compositions "Sad Angel, "It Takes Time" and "Miss Fantasy," and a Nicks-written tune, "Without You" — are now available on an EP, which is available on iTunes. "Without You" dates back to before Nicks and Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac, and was recently rediscovered by Nicks and recorded with the band.
"It really tells the story of how Stevie and Lindsey joined Fleetwood Mac, which is when they were known as Buckingham-Nicks," Fleetwood said of the song. "It was an unrecorded song that Stevie actually wrote about Lindsey, and it's a beautiful song. She recorded it, and we're doing it on stage. It's quite poignant when you think about these two people and the journey they've taken. And this was the music that I heard in the studio that spurred me on to make the phone call and ask them to join Fleetwood Mac."
Fleetwood said with any luck, these songs will form the basis of a new Fleetwood Mac album that may be recorded later this year and released either ahead of Christmas or in early 2014.
This would be Fleetwood Mac's first collection of new music since 2003's "Say You Will." That was the band's first album without Christine McVie, and the tour that followed the album was not as harmonious as the band members would have wanted.
For Nicks, it was difficult to be the only woman in the band and she sorely missed her close friend, McVie. And before the group regrouped for the "Unleashed" tour, it flirted with having Sheryl Crow (a good friend of Nicks) join the band.
Nicks, in various interviews, has said she now is comfortable in the four-person Fleetwood Mac lineup, and Fleetwood noted that the guys in the group try to help create a good environment for Nicks.
"Certainly, the guys in the band are very aware of making sure that Stevie feels safe," Fleetwood said. "When she comes back to Fleetwood Mac, she's in a man's world, you know. And two of them are men that she … had relationships with. It's hugely important that she feels safe -- and loved. And that's the funny old thing that this band is all about. It's powerful."