Standing on a stage alone can be a very intimidating thing for a human to do. It takes courage and confidence to stand vulnerable with just a guitar and your voice. It also takes self-control, knowing when to wail and when to whisper.
Within the coziness of the 300-plus seat Manship Theatre, Lindsey Buckingham walked out with a seriousness that normally proceeds a symphony performance, picked up one of the dozen guitars he had lined up behind him, and took the audience on a carousel of notes with a staunch authoritativeness. If you were expecting a rock concert, you guessed wrong. Tonight Buckingham was in artiste mode, creating masterful chord changes with his bare fingers, forgoing a pick in favor of the intimacy a piece of flesh can convey.
Connoisseurs of Fleetwood Mac have known for years that there was more to Buckingham than his good looks and harmonically high lead vocals on such hits as “Go Your Own Way” and “Don’t Stop.” So for those expecting big hits brought out in a big way, Buckingham handed out instead delicacies from his oeuvre, songs both known and obscure, and remolded them on a different plane of existence within his usual musical realm.
Take for instance the Mac tune “Come.” Originally a mechanical adventure in steampunk bings and whistles, dipping into Mac-isms with a wink to the surreal, Buckingham took it apart and reorganized the chromosomes to become an aching beating heart of raw emotion, featuring a breathtaking solo.
“So Afraid,” another post-apocalyptic emotional breakdown that scorches in a Mac live show, has always been a Buckingham solo staple, and on this turn he seemed to bring it down just a half-beat slower for psychic emphasis on each note, building to a boiling point of pent-up soul sacrificing, exhausting it’s creator. It was simply – to pen an overly used word – amazing.
“Not Too Late,” “Shut Us Down” and the instrumental “Stephanie” harkened up folk-inspired melodies while “Go Your Own Way” and “Never Going Back Again” pleasantly pleased the more Mac pop hit loving oriented fans in the audience.
Buckingham wasn’t completely alone on stage. Although his fingers and voice provided 98% of what echoed through the room, there were some pre-recorded drums and backing instruments that enhanced several of the tunes. They never interfered with
Buckingham’s choral interpretations; they merely added some flavor to an already marinating piece of music. “Big Love,” another one of Buckingham’s trademark concert spotlights, albeit done a bit more friskier than usual, and an electrifying “Go Insane,” brought the crowd to their feet, as did the aforementioned “Go Your Own Way.” Ending his barely over an hour set with a lovely “Trouble” and a confessional “Seeds We Sow,” he left the audience craving more, which is what any great artist hopes to accomplish.
: Cast Away Dreams, Bleed To Love Her, Not Too Late, Stephanie, Come, Shut Us Down, Go Insane, Never Going Back Again, Big Love, I’m So Afraid, Go Your Own Way ENCORE: Trouble, Seeds We Sow