Breakups have been a running theme in Lindsey Buckingham’s life, permeating his artistic expression. His (latest) divorce from Fleetwood Mac hung like a shadow over the crowd at The Warner Theatre on October 19, like an ex-lover about whom friends are unsure how to talk about (if at all). Buckingham, for his part, seemingly took it all in stride. He talked tough talk about moving forward, he joked about his severance, and he vowed to throw himself back into his music.
Whether it was the strength of the songs or the raw feelings, Buckingham’s most passionate playing came during the Fleetwood Mac numbers, in particular his virtuoso guitar piece “Big Love.” An even more impressive showing came during “Never Coming Back Again”, as an unaccompanied Buckingham shifted tempo and rhythm constantly, while somehow retaining the melodic structure that made the song an underrated classic. He’s not Segovia, but these numbers demonstrate the Buckingham can still fingerpick with the best of them.
Unfortunately, the rest of the show was uneven, as if the noted studio hermit couldn’t figure out how to translate the perfectly arranged songs into a raw setting. Ironically, this was the exact approach he took on the Tusk album, stripping away the layer upon pacifying layer of shiny gloss that cover most Fleetwood Mac songs. At the Warner show, however, the more up-tempo songs were drowned out by the anonymous backing band (I have a newfound respect for both Fleetwood and Mac). Meanwhile, several of the slower numbers lacked both any real passion and the understated guitar wizardry I had showed up expecting.
In a recent interview, Buckingham viewed leaving Fleetwood Mac mostly through the lens of the loss of audience (and income). But this audience didn’t seem to care that he wasn’t surrounded by his more glamourous (ex-)bandmates, playing to an arena instead of a theater. If this is how life in the spotlight ends for Lindsey Buckingham, being enthusiastically greeted by a small but passionate group of fans, he should consider himself happy. Maybe he’ll come to enjoy playing live as much as he loves life in the studio.
- Don’t Look Down
- Go Insane
- Surrender the Rain
- Not Too Late
- Doing What I Can
- I Must Go
- Street of Dreams
- Shut Us Down
- Never Going Back Again (Fleetwood Mac song)
- Big Love (Fleetwood Mac song)
- In Our Own Time
- Slow Dancing
- Soul Drifter
- Holiday Road
- Tusk (Fleetwood Mac song)
- I’m So Afraid (Fleetwood Mac song)
- Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac song)
- Turn It On (followed by band introductions)
- Down on Rodeo
- Rock Away Blind (by request, Lindsey solo)