NEW YORK -- Fleetwood Mac starts over with every tour.
Though Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks will celebrate their 40th anniversary together next year, they approach each tour as its own experience. And the massive Fleetwood Mac Live 2013 tour that stops in Winnipeg Sunday and runs through October is no different.
"We never know what we'll play until we walk out the doors of the rehearsal hall," says Nicks, calling from her home in Santa Monica, Calif. "We really don't plan it before that."
With so much legendary material to choose from, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers do have a process for building the tour setlist, she says.
"We know there are songs we have to do, because we have to do them," she says. "We're going to do Gold Dust Woman and Go Your Own Way because everyone wants to hear them -- there's about 10 of those songs. We do about 20 or 21 songs in the show, so when we get there, everybody has a piece of paper with some unfamiliar songs that maybe we have never done or maybe we've done just a few times. We make a big, huge board, and we put all the names of these songs up. Then, we sit down and listen to all the records in case there's anything that we forgot. We add those to the list on the board.
"Then, we sit around on couches with acoustic instruments, and we play all these songs," she continues. "I'll have my four songs that I want. Lindsey will have four songs that he wants, and we'll still have five or six songs left. You see your set start to come together."
With the recent 35th anniversary release of Fleetwood Mac's Grammy-winning Rumours album, one of the biggest-selling albums ever with 40 million copies sold and more expected to move this year after a new remastered box set of the album was released in January, there are some additional considerations for the band's show.
"Maybe we will add a song or two from Rumours," Nicks says. "It's about the set being the best set it can be. We are totally willing to try anything, and that's what we do. You can kind of feel what works and what doesn't work. The unfortunate thing is we haven't fared well in doing (retired Mac keyboardist-singer Christine McVie's) songs. We don't sound like Chris. I don't sound good singing lead on her songs. Lindsey doesn't sound good singing lead on her songs.... Her songs don't really play a major part in this, but her songs play a major part in the whole thing."
Another consideration is that, for the first time in a decade, Fleetwood Mac has some new material. Nicks says the band recorded two new songs -- Miss Fantasy and Sad Angel -- that they might play.
Early last year, Buckingham, Fleetwood and John McVie went into the studio to work on music and recorded several songs. "I didn't go then because my mom had just died," Nicks says. "But I recently went into the studio with Lindsey, and we listened to the songs they recorded. I put vocals on two songs, and they came out great. They really sound like great Fleetwood Mac songs. Lindsey told me when they were recording, he had really tried to see through my eyes, to really be me, and he has the ability to do that. They're really a lot of fun."
Nicks hopes another song that may be new to Fleetwood Mac fans, though not new to fans of her solo work, may make it into the set.
"I told Lindsey when we finished Soldier's Angel that this song is going to go far and wide," she says of the song about injured veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. "We'll be able to carry this right out of my work into Fleetwood Mac.... It gives me the platform to continue to talk about these kids who really need your help. It lets me tell thousands of people a night that this problem is not over."
Although the rest of Fleetwood Mac wanted to tour last year, Nicks, who wanted to spend the year promoting her solo album In My Dreams on tour, says touring in 2013 has actually worked out better for all of them, especially Fleetwood, who opened his restaurant Fleetwood's on Front Street in Lahaina, Hawaii, last year.
"That's been Mick's dream since we all went to Maui in 1977," Nicks says. "Even though everyone was like, 'We want to go out,' I'm like, 'What about the restaurant? If you just drop everything and run, the restaurant's not going to get opened in 2012, and then your dream's going to be put on hold again. Don't put your dream on hold. Fleetwood Mac is there.'
"I told them in 1981, when everybody thought that doing Bella Donna was going to break up Fleetwood Mac," she continues. "I sat them down and said, 'Listen, I am never going to leave you... I just need another vehicle for songs, because I write way too many songs for a band with three writers in it that does a record every two or three years. I'm drowning here. I am never going to break up this band. I promise you that.'
"By now, they believe it's true. My solo work has never become more important than Fleetwood Mac. I never let it take over, and I never will."