Live Review: Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsey Buckingham
Town Hall
October 10, 2006
By David Chiu

You can tell Lindsey Buckingham is in the moment on stage when he is hunched over furiously picking the strings on his electric guitar. It is an indication that he is delivering a rip-roaring, wailing solo that leaves his audience cheering over the mastery of his instrument. Add in his sometimes dramatic vocals and his songwriting, and he is triple threat.

On his own, sans the trappings of his parent group Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham creates his own music that is art for art’s sake. It is certainly the case with his fourth solo album Under the Skin, an intimate and almost all-acoustic affair with a little bit of the avant-garde feel that has permeated his work since Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 opus Tusk. Given the fact that Buckingham—who has been notorious for spending lengthy periods in the studio—is currently on his first solo tour in 14 years, which makes his recent appearance at Town Hall all the more rare.

The show got off to a subdued start with Buckingham alone on stage performing with his guitar on “Not Too Late,” a reworked slow version of his first solo hit “Trouble” and “Never Going Back Again.” Then with a full band did Buckingham rock out on the familiar Fleetwood Mac hits like “Go Your Own Way,” “Second Hand News,” “World Turning,” and Tusk; the newer and intimate songs such as “Cast Away Dreams,” “Under the Skin,” and “It Was You” augmented the aforementioned numbers.

If you were beginning to think Buckingham had gone a little MOR with the new songs on stage, his blasts of guitar proved otherwise, especially his passionate acoustic rendition of “Big Love” and a bluesy take on “Go Insane,” both of which got standing ovations from the audience. “I’m So Afraid” was such a blistering workout that left one both shaking his or head with amazement and an adrenaline rush. At the same time, however, Buckingham also knew how to avoid sounding over indulgent by keeping his solos compact and melodic.

This serious perfectionist also exuded a good natured humor when he and the band returned for an encore that included the feel-good romp “Holiday Road,” followed by Under the Skin’s current single, “Show You How”, and an impromptu performance of “Save Me a Place” that was earlier suggested by an audience member. It ended the night as it began—on a subdued but satisfying note. He didn’t perform any songs from the brilliant Out of the Cradle (1992) but this nearly two hour show was more than fans of this guitarist’s guitarist could possibly ask for.

Set List

Not Too Late
Trouble
Never Going Back Again
Second Hand News
Cast Away Dreams
Red Rover
It Was You
Big Love
Go Insane
Under the Skin
World Turning
I’m So Afraid
I Know I’m Not Wrong
Tusk
Go Your Own Way

Encore:

Holiday Road
Show You How
Save Me a Place

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