The Final Stop With Fleetwood : Pop Music: Fleetwood Mac will mark the end of an era Friday at the Forum when Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie make their last full-time appearance.


Stevie Nicks had hoped to make it to Friday night at the Forum before the tears started falling.

That’s when she and Christine McVie apparently will be making their last appearance as full-time members of Fleetwood Mac. Though the two are slated to contribute to the next Mac album, the Inglewood Forum concert will mark the end of an era for a group that ruled the pop charts in the late ‘70s, with the two women as the public focal points.

Nicks figured that it would be Friday, during her introduction of her song “Landslide,” in which she always makes a dedication to someone at the show, before the emotions of change would really hit her.


But she didn’t even make it through a recent interview.

“In my heart I don’t believe it is the last show,” Nicks said through sobs while talking on the phone from Saskatoon, Canada, where the group was performing.

“I know that’s not what everybody else has said to you,” Nicks said. “We are all individuals and have our opinions, and until three years go by and I see the whole thing with no chance of getting back together, I’ll never believe it’s over. I really believe everything is destined, and if we’re supposed to be together, we will be.”

But for now, if not forever, this version of Fleetwood Mac is over. McVie, who initiated the end last summer after her father’s death made her long for more time with her family, left little doubt about that.

“In the last few years it’s been more of a band than it’s ever been,” McVie said in a separate phone interview from Saskatoon. “I think we spent more time laughing in the last few years than in prior years. That’s one thing that’s held us together.

“But when the time comes for change, you know it, you feel it,” she said placidly. “Things can’t go on the same as always. You go around in circles.”

The emotions are weighing heavily on her too.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” she said, noting that Lindsey Buckingham, who joined the group with Nicks in 1975 and left two years ago, may join in for a song or two at the Forum. “(Friday’s concert) is going to be such a heavy gig. Practically everyone we’ve ever known from time immemorial will be there. It’s going to be nerve-wracking and emotional. It would be silly to spoil the show just for that.”


The women’s contrasting attitudes serve as perfect illustrations of just what Fleetwood Mac will be losing after the show: For 20 years McVie has been its self-described “Mother Earth”; for 15 years Nicks has been its angel, Gypsy or space-cadet, depending on one’s perspective.

One or the other has written and sung virtually all of the group’s most popular songs: McVie’s “Don’t Stop” and “Say You Love Me,” Nicks’ “Rhiannon,” “Dreams” and “Gypsy.” In terms of the group’s image, their loss may be the greatest ever for a band in which personnel change has been the order, even more so than the losses of founder Peter Green in 1970 and creative linchpin Buckingham two years ago.

“I would have to say this is our biggest challenge, in no uncertain terms,” said drummer Mick Fleetwood, 43. He and bassist John McVie are the lone survivors of the original Mac, which began in London in 1967.

“But without sounding at all blase about the subject, it’s a decision that’s come in a pleasant way, and it’s understandable,” Fleetwood said, also speaking from Saskatoon. “Each, for their own reasons, basically wants more time to herself. And, God knows, both of them have given so much to Fleetwood Mac through the years.”

What each plans to do with her time is as different as their personas. McVie, 47, has her eye on six months of rest with her husband and songwriting partner, Eddie Quintela.

“I can’t really think more than six months ahead now,” she said. “But I imagine we’ll go into the studio in August to do the new Fleetwood Mac album. And we bought a 400-year-old house in Kent, England, that needs a lot of restoration. And then maybe I’ll take a year and start a solo project and write intermittently.”


In contrast, Nicks, 42, has a workaholic schedule, concentrating on her already successful solo career.

“I’m booked into the studio Feb. 1 to do two new songs for a greatest-hits package,” she said. “And then I’d like to take a month and do about 15 solo concert dates. Then after that I’ll come back and do a new solo album and tour. I figure I’ve got about a year and a half of solid work.”

Meanwhile, Fleetwood Mac will go on.

“There will always be a Fleetwood Mac as long as Mick and John are around,” said Christine McVie.

With singer-guitarists Rick Vito and Billy Burnette having joined when Buckingham left, and no hard feelings regarding the exits of McVie and Nicks, this may be the smoothest transition yet for the Mac.

But Fleetwood is aware that without its two women, the group may never have the same impact and drawing power it had. He acknowledged that Friday’s show may be the last time the band ever plays a venue as big as the Forum.

“One has to face the obvious that it may not be as successful,” he said.

But Fleetwood is also relishing the idea of the reduced band’s returning to its bluesy roots and being able to just go out and play without making much of a fuss, rather than mounting the huge, grueling tours that have been the norm since the 1977 album “Rumours” became the all-time top-selling album at that time.


Still, he won’t rule out McVie’s and/or Nicks’ guesting at future shows. And there’s even the possibility of a 25th-anniversary show in 1992, with all the past and present members--including Buckingham, Green, Bob Welch and Danny Kirwan--invited to play.

One thing that Fleetwood seems to have ruled out, though, is replacing Nicks and McVie. And he promises that the new Mac will not be a nostalgia band with Burnette and Vito singing the hits associated with the two departing singers.

“This is going to be a new Fleetwood Mac,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any other way of approaching it. It would be like ending up in a Holiday Inn: ‘Hi. I’m Mick Fleetwood, and this is “Dreams.” ’ “