by Dave Brooks | Billboard
The absence of Lindsey Buckingham has not hurt the band's latest tour, which has at least 10 shows with grosses over $2 million.
Fleetwood Mac is on track to gross more than $100 million on the North American leg of their 2018/2019 tour with venues across the country reporting grosses between $1.5 to $2 million per show powered by a new generation of fans who have embraced the legendary group and its deep catalog of No. 1 hits.
Couple their success in North America with a fall international run for the band in the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand, and the Mac's 75-plus date tour is shaping up to be one of the top tours on Billboard's year-end Boxscore chart. Not bad for a group that is touring without key member Lindsey Buckingham, who left the band (he told Rolling Stone he was "fired") last year over disagreements about its touring plans -- Buckingham reportedly wanted to spend most of 2019 on a solo tour, while the band wanted to get back on the road together sooner).
After a brief impasse, the group announced they were going on tour without Buckingham, but with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Crowded House‘s Neil Finn standing in for the guitarist and singer.
"When Lindsey left the band, none of us had any expectations good or bad -- it was more about continuing Fleetwood Mac," the group's co-manager Carl Stubner tells Billboard. "We had about a month to put the tour together and get it on sale, without any assets or pictures of the new lineup. Thankfully, it started doing well from the beginning."
Positive press from the band's first show on the tour at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma followed by a monster show at the United Center in Chicago that grossed more than $2.2 million, giving the tour the momentum it needed. More than ten dates on the tour have passed the $2 million mark in ticket sales, including the band's Dallas show at American Airlines Center (Feb. 7) and their Tacoma Dome (Nov. 17) concert, which each grossed $2.34 million in sales in front of 18,828 fans in Washington and 14,357 fans in Dallas.
The band's tour stops at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (Nov. 30), Capitol One Arena in Washington (March 5), Amalie Arena in Tampa (Feb 18) and Golden 1 Center in Sacramento (Nov. 23) all grossed more than $2 million in ticket sales, as did shows in Toronto, Nashville and Charlotte.
"The tour is playing to sold out arenas every night and I love walking thru the crowds, seeing generations of longtime fans dancing and singing along to their favorite songs," the band's co-manager Sheryl Louis told Billboard in a statement. "What I’ve noticed on this tour specifically is so many younger fans, who are equally as enthusiastic, seeing the band live for the first time and loving it," adding that Campbell and Finn's work in the band has "brought tremendous energy to the shows that both the band and the audience can feel. In the long history of Fleetwood Mac, these are honestly some of their best shows yet."
Most of the acrimony between the two sides has been settled, Stubner said, and the band wished Buckingham a speedy recovery following heart surgery in February.
"And it was a hard divorce and emotional because we love Lindsey, but we made the best out of a bad situation," Stubner tells Billboard. "The show has done well in the big markets and the smaller markets like Sacramento and Birmingham, Alabama. And not just selling tickets, but merchandise -- t-shirt sales have increased considerably from any other tour we've done."
Stubner said the uptick is being fueled by a younger demographic of fans, including teenagers attending the tour with their parents and older millennials enjoying a night out with friends.
"They learned about the band from their parents, and then they dug a little deeper" Stubner says. "There's a hunger for bands with deep catalogs and I see a lot of young people coming to the shows in search of this music they've built a deep connection with. And maybe that's why we have been able to do so well without Lindsey, because it's really about the collective and the show itself. They're coming out for the band."