Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham reunite at Rose Music Center

(l-r) Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie perform at Rose Music Center Aug. 8; photos: John Russo

By Tim Walker

Christine McVie, vocalist, songwriter, and keyboard player, is in what one might think would be, for her, a familiar place: sunny Los Angeles, holed up for two weeks and rehearsing for a couple of upcoming shows with her old rock band. Of course, when that “old rock band” is Fleetwood Mac, one of the most legendary supergroups in the history of recorded music, a band that has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, and one you’ve been playing with off and on since 1970, the artist’s perspective on it all might be surprising.

“We’re rehearsing for the Dodger Stadium event,” McVie says. “The whole band is here. It’s wonderful. It’s like falling off a log.”

Christine McVie and the rest of that iconic group—Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, and John McVie, bass player and Christine’s ex-husband—are in rehearsals and preparing to headline the Classic West and Classic East festivals in Los Angeles and New York. With Fleetwood Mac headlining a stellar line-up featuring the Eagles, Steely Dan, Journey, Earth, Wind & Fire, and the Doobie Brothers, it would seem to be a place where a performer of McVie’s stature and experience might feel right at home. Not so, she says.

“It’s a bit of a mind twist, really,” she says in her classically understated British manner. “Touring with Lindsey and then doing the ‘Big Mac’ for two shows—we have the Los Angeles show and then another one in New York in two weeks or so. It’s that thing with the Eagles and just a huge bunch of bands—it’s very exciting, actually.”

McVie and fellow Fleetwood Mac alumnus Lindsey Buckingham are also in the middle of a 14-date national tour of their own, a tour that will bring them to Rose Music Center in Huber Heights for a performance on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Their new album, titled (appropriately enough) Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, was released on June 9 of this year and has sold well and received great reviews. It is the pair’s first album as a duo, and it also features contributions from Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. 

“It’s really quite something, coming from Lindsey and me, to the Mac, and then back to just Lindsey and me again,” McVie continues. “But I’ll tell you, I’m having an absolute ball on tour. It’s absolutely great fun—we’re playing to smaller crowds, and it’s more intimate, and Lindsey and I have a good rapport with each other, and I’m closer to the front of the stage. We start with a couple of acoustic songs with each other, and then the band kicks in and we just have a ball. It’s really great fun.”

While fun, McVie says it was also a bit strange at first, being on tour without the rest of the band. “It took me a bit of getting used to,” she says. “I was a bit daunted in the beginning, because I’ve never really played with any other rhythm section except for John and Mick. Except, of course, when I was in a band called Chicken Shack, which was about 2,000 years ago.”

The duo’s album arose, ironically enough, as a result of McVie’s departure from the band she’d played with for so long. In 1998, after McVie and the other members of Fleetwood Mac were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she opted to leave the group, living in semi-retirement at her English estate for several years—although she did release a solo album titled In the Meantime in 2004, the album received little promotion and sold poorly.

In 2014, however, McVie decided to reunite with her old band, and as part of that reunion she and Buckingham began working on new music, music that eventually became the pair’s new album. While some music critics have suggested the new album would have been an official Fleetwood Mac album had the band been able to coax Stevie Nicks into the studio, McVie says that’s not the case.

“It was never intended to be that,” she says. “We didn’t actually mean to even make a record. The whole reason we went in the studio was because I’d just rejoined the band, and I’d been absent for 15 years. We wanted to see if that chemistry was still there. I’d been sending Lindsey some of my demo ideas, and he’d been playing around with them in his studio, and I went to Los Angeles and within the first week it was obvious—it was apparent t0hat it was good, and we just had a blast writing and recording that first week. Then we shelved the songs, we went into rehearsals for Fleetwood Mac’s world tour, and came back when the tour was over and we said, ‘We have the makings of a duet album here. Why don’t we do it? And why haven’t we thought of doing it before?’”

McVie, a legendary vocalist and songwriter in her own right, is worth hearing no matter with whom she’s performing.

Christine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham play Tuesday, Aug. 8 at Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd. in Huber Heights. Show starts at 7 p.m., doors at 6. Tickets are $47–$98. For tickets or more information, please visit BuckinghamMcVie.com or RoseMusicCenter.com.

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Tim Walker is 51 and a writer, DJ, and local musician. He lives with his wife and their two children in Dayton, where he enjoys pizza, jazz, and black T-shirts. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Walker at TimWalker@DaytonCityPaper.com

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