Fleetwood Mac tribute band Tusk returns to The Maryland Theatre
Fleetwood Mac fans can flock to The Maryland Theatre to share in the concert experience created by the tribute artists known as Tusk.
After performing in January 2019, the band is returning to the downtown Hagerstown theater for a Valentine’s Day show at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14.
“It was a pretty big night for us last year, and we’ve heard that people are already excited they are coming back. Ticket sales are going very well, and they have only been on sale for a short time,” said Jessica Green, executive director of The Maryland Theatre.
Billed as “the No. 1 tribute to Fleetwood Mac in the world, bar none,” the band’s website states that it does not use fancy tricks or gimmicks, but shows only the talents of five musicians to re-create the music of the popular British-American rock band known for hit songs such as “Go Your Own Way,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Don’t Stop.”
For more than 50 years and with more than 100 million records sold worldwide, the Grammy award-winning Fleetwood Mac has fans across the globe. The band was founded by Peter Green in 1967, and was named after band members Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. After Peter Green left in 1969, Fleetwood and McVie remained as original members, and were joined by a cast of several talented musicians. Christine McVie joined in 1970; Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham came on board in 1974.
Tusk, which takes its name from Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album of the same name, covers all the band’s greatest hits. The five seasoned musicians comprising Tusk have been making music together in various combinations and styles, in original outfits and cover bands, for more than 25 years. They have been performing together under the moniker Tusk for the past 12 years.
Jessica Green said last year’s event wasn’t just a positive experience for the theater. Many concertgoers made a night of it, visiting restaurants and bars in downtown Hagerstown before and after the show.
“They went out and supported the town,” Green said, noting that those who attended the concert last year really seemed to enjoy it. “They were dancing in the aisles.”
Green described Tusk’s performance as an interactive experience for the audience.
“They really include the audience. It’s a great concert experience. It’s a good thing to do in the winter, when you might have cabin fever,” Green said.
Tusk band member Scott McDonald said he thinks audiences really like the fact that the band members have a lot of fun performing.
“And that transfers to everyone watching and listening,” McDonald said. “We all loved Fleetwood Mac and regularly covered their material in our own individual projects.”
McDonald, of Coplay, Pa., is a guitarist and vocalist who plays the role of Buckingham, one of his earliest artistic influences. McDonald has been performing professionally for more than 30 years, and some of his recent accomplishments include winning the 2010 Lehigh Valley Singer/Songwriter Acoustic Contest and the coveted slot of lead singer in the first house band for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs minor league baseball team.
He is joined onstage by Kathy Phillips, Kim Williams, Tom Nelson and Randy Artiglere.
Taking the role of frontwoman Nicks, Phillips is a New Jersey singer/songwriter. A professional musician for more than 20 years, she is known for her original music, as well as her uncanny vocalization and Nicks’ look.
Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Williams has spent decades honing her craft. She is classically trained in piano and voice. Williams uses all of her influences, years of training and natural instincts to take on the role of Christine McVie when performing with Tusk.
Nelson has the task of attempting to fill Fleetwood’s shoes. A music teacher, Nelson is a longtime drummer with more than two decades of experience.
Artiglere brings to Tusk 30 years of bass playing in many styles of music. He tries to replicate the style and tone of Fleetwood Mac’s bassist, John McVie, while tossing in some of his own style and flair.
Each member of the group has an understudy who can go on in place of the main cast member if necessary. Also with long lists of professional credits, those performers are Kevin Hummel, Jim Ruffi, Joe Bilotti, Jerzy Jung and Christina Alessi.
“We re-create the look and feel of a Fleetwood Mac concert when it was just the five members of the band. We emulate the ‘Rumours’-era lineup of Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, Christine McVie, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood,” McDonald said.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
After much success and several top-selling albums, some Fleetwood Mac members went their separate ways for a short time in the late ‘80s, but reunited fully in 1997. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the same year Christine McVie stopped touring with the group. She officially rejoined the group in 2014. Buckingham was fired in 2018.
Fleetwood Mac continues to tour with Fleetwood, John McVie, Nicks and Christine McVie, along with newcomers Mike Campbell and Neil Finn. The band is celebrating half a century of music with a new tour and a new 50-song collection, “50 Years – Don’t Stop.” The new album features hits and essentials from every studio album.
During Tusk’s 90- to 120-minute show, McDonald said the band covers music from Fleetwood Mac’s entire history, with an emphasis on the band’s work from 1975-80.
“We also add some creative elements to make the show more than just exact note-for-note renditions of their music. We have a lot of fun on stage and hope that celebratory vibe gives everyone who attends our show a joyful experience,” McDonald said.
While the band only performs songs by Fleetwood Mac, McDonald said the members have an all-original CD they sell at shows under the name Stockton Bridge.
Tickets for the show are on sale now for $32.50 to $42.50. They can be purchased at mdtheatre.org.
Ticket buyers have an option to upgrade their experience and purchase the add-on VIP in The View Studio Experience. For an additional $29 each, ticket holders will receive exclusive access that includes two drink tickets good for beer, wine or mixed drinks; light appetizers; private bathrooms; and secure coat/bag storage. The View Studio Experience begins one hour prior to showtime and continues through intermission. It can be purchased online or by calling 301-790-2000.
Top photo: Tusk group members are, from left, Randy Artiglere, Kathy Phillips, Tom Nelson, Kim Williams and Scott McDonald. (Submitted photo)