By Chuck Cox

Special Contributor

Fleetwood MacI must admit Fleetwood Mac was a band it took me a long time to discover. My parents loved music, but the vast majority of it was country, along with Elvis, the Eagles, and Jackson Browne, in our house while I was growing up.

Really, it wasn’t until Stevie Nicks’ solo hits in the 1980s — including “Leather and Lace,” “If Anyone Falls,” “Edge of Seventeen,” and “Stand Back,” that I really started to figure out what I had been missing. And for my money, any list of the greatest albums of all time that doesn’t include the band’s 1977 masterpiece Rumours is no list you need to see.

I’ve made up for lost time with the Mac. And on Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center, I ventured out to see Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood do their stuff for a third time. All three of the times I have seen Fleetwood Mac have been at the AAC. And the shows were pretty similar, although Tuesday’s had an interesting twist to it. The band closed the show with a pair of ballads — “Silver Springs” and “Say Goodbye” — in its second encore.  It was the only part of the two-hour-plus show that just did not work for me.

Buckingham announced it would be the last song of the night before playing “Say Goodbye,” which led to a mass exodus from the huge crowd. After playing the finale, Nicks and Fleetwood both took turns thanking the fans for all of the support over the last 35 years. And while they were very sweet sentiments, that was the end of the show. It was really, really odd. And, honestly, it was kind of a downer way to wrap up a great night of music.

If that had been the first encore, and the band would have instead played “World Turning” and “Don’t Stop,” which it played in the first encore, to close things out, it would have worked much better. But believe me, that was my only complaint for the night.

The band hit the stage around 8:20 p.m. with “Second Hand News” to kick off a set that was heavy with songs from Rumours and Tusk. There are a few songs Fleetwood Mac always plays live — “Tusk,” “Never Going Back Again,” “Go Your Own Way” and “Landslide” — that I will never, ever get tired of hearing. And having been together for so long the musicianship is just amazing. Since the first time I saw the band in 2003, I firmly believe Buckingham might be the most underrated guitarist of all time. I know he gets lots of props, but the guy really is one of the best in the business.

The ability to write and play songs that sound as good today as they did more than 30 years ago is an amazing gift. And there’s no doubt Fleetwood Mac has it. I also like the fact the band had never had an opening act for the shows I’ve seen. Seeing a huge band by itself is always pretty cool.