"We've all grown up a lot and we're not all screwed up on drugs and drinking", Stevie Nicks says on the eve of the formal return this week of Fleetwood Mac's most successful line up. "And we have lives outside this band. This is just a nice addition to our lives, where before it was everything." Like the other members of the group, whose string of romantic pop rock hits made it one of the best sellers of the 1970s, Nicks is thrilled by the prospect of the runion they all doubted ever would happen after the band splintered in 1987 for a variety of personal and professional reasons. Even after they got together to play at president Clinton's Inauguration- Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop was his theme song-, the group's five members gave no thought to a reunion tour. "Absolutely none", says singer-Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. "After so- many years", Nicks says, "you come to the conclusion that maybe it's never going to happen. And Singer-Keyboardist Christine McVie adds almost in disbelief: "The last thing I ever thought was that this band could seriously work together again". But here comes Fleetwood Mac's Rumours-era line up: Nicks, Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, and Christine and John McVie. The Mac attack kicked of this week in the U.S with MTVs airing of the Dance, a 90 minute concert special which was taped in May. This was followed by the release of a live album from the MTV concerts, also titled The Dance. A 40 date tour kicks of next month in Boston. So what changed their minds? "It really comes down to Mick," Christine McVie says". "He's the only one who was constantly trying to get these five people in the one room together. This is his love, his baby. It's his band, and there's nothing more he loves to do than get up on stage and play with us." Buckingham, recording a solo album at the time, inadvertently paved the way for the project a year ago when he invited Mick Fleetwood into the studio to play drums on the record. Allthough it wasn't his intent, Buckingham knew soon after he'd extended the invitation that he'd set the wheels in motion for a reunion. "Mick was pushing for it"' he says. "He may have been behind this solo record of mine, but his lifeblood is Fleetwood Mac, so he had the big double agenda going. And the record company - i'm sure the light bulb went on over there. And when you get the two of them together, it's tough to fend off". It's easy to see why Reprise Records would be exited about a Fleetwood Mac reunion. The group ruled the pop world two decades ago, when it's 1977 album Rumours, topped the national album sales chart for 31 weeks and sold 17 million copies. Two other Fleetwood Mac albums, 1975s Fleetwood Mac and 1982s Mirage also reached No 1. Even so, Fleetwood says, "there was absolutely no talk about doing this. People were waving all sorts of money at us. But it was just not in the cards. This genuinely happened how it happened. It was a mutant accident. Will it work? The band members remained sceptical right upto the moment they began rehersing last Northern Spring. "The chemistry was still there", Christine McVie says. "To me that was the biggest thing: would the chemistry be there? Can we really go ahead and do this? And it was obvious within the first moment of plugging in the instruments that the magic was still there. It was a fantastic felling. Nicks says the tension that weighed so heavily on the band a decade ago has been lifted, replaced by a mutual respect, admiration and and fond memories. Says Buckingham descibing the turmoil that lead to his decision to leave the group in 1987, "the creative atmosphere was next to nil... It was pretty nuts. It had gotten to the point where it was hard to work." Today he says it's a different Fleetwood Mac. "Yes, there are a lot of people out there doing (reunions), and i'm sure there will be a certain cynicisim about it in various camps. But when you see the show and you see whats really going on up on stage. I think you'll see that it trancends the formula."
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