The devastating news of Christine McVie’s death hit Wednesday afternoon, and we’re still processing it along with Fleetwood Mac fans all over the globe. “We were so lucky to have a life with her,” Fleetwood Mac said in a group statement. “Individually and together, we cherished Christine deeply and are thankful for the amazing memories we have. She will be so very missed.”
When Rolling Stone spoke with McVie in June, she was excited about her new LP Songbird (A Solo Collection), but very skeptical that she’d ever return to the road with Fleetwood Mac. “I don’t feel physically up for it,” she said. “I’m in quite bad health. I’ve got a chronic back problem, which debilitates me. I stand up to play the piano, so I don’t know if I could actually physically do it. What’s that saying? The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
McVie’s last tour with Fleetwood Mac took place between 2018 and 2019, though Lindsey Buckingham was out of the band by that point and Neil Finn and Mike Campbell played in his place. Just a year prior to that, McVie recorded an album with Buckingham and took it on tour with him. “I had a great time with him on the road and making that record,” she told Rolling Stone in 2018. “I was surprised to hear the news [Buckingham was leaving the band] because it happened after I went back to London that the decision was made. But life moves on and I wanted to carry on with these guys.”
The tour was a huge financial success, and McVie grew close to the new members of the band. “Those guys were great,” she said earlier this year. “We had a great time with them, but we’ve kind of broke up now, so I hardly ever see them.”
McVie’s sole onstage appearance following the final date of the last Fleetwood Mac tour took place on Feb. 25, 2020 at the London Palladium. It was a tribute show to founding Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green featuring Pete Townshend, Noel Gallagher, David Gilmour, Kirk Hammett, Steven Tyler, Billy Gibbons, Bill Wyman, Jeremy Spencer, Neil Finn, and Mick Fleetwood. In a video from the performance, McVie sings the 1968 Fleetwood Mac classic “Stop Messin’ Around” with Tyler, Fleetwood, and several other guests from the evening.
McVie had no way of knowing this concert would mark the end of her performing career, but it feels highly appropriate that she went out honoring the early days of Fleetwood Mac. She was a huge part of their sound over the past five decades, and it’s hard to imagine them carrying on without her.