“You sound fantastic!”
“You still got it!”
“Looking good, Lindsey!”
Compliments and cheers showered Lindsey Buckingham as he took the Warner Theatre stage, his Eraserhead hair highlighted in the blues and purples of the stage lights. With a sound that’s both wonderfully modern and reminiscent of the ‘80s, Buckingham debuted numerous tracks off his upcoming album, while throwing in a few Fleetwood Mac tracks for nostalgic sake.
Although Buckingham is far from sprightly, his age has left his skills untarnished. Despite a recent health scare, his vocals, dance moves and guitar playing appeared unaffected by time. Only when he briefly paused to catch his breath after jumping and kicking around onstage did his true age betray him.
Sandwiched in between having the full band onstage, Buckingham dedicated a generous chunk of time to performing solo.
“We are very pleased to be here tonight,” he says to the fawning crowd. “It’s been a rather convoluted couple of years, but we are here finally, and you are here with us.”
He illustrated his gratitude with “Shut Us Down,” the thoughtful ballad that directly followed. Starting off slow, the song took an edgy turn as Buckingham played the final measures one-handed, fading the song in and out before ending with a resounding crash, his prowess rewarded by a standing ovation from the audience — the first of many.
Swapping guitars every other song, Buckingham played at least five throughout the night, strumming each with a proficiency I’ve never seen before. It was as though the guitar was an extension of Buckingham, bending and swelling with him.
The opening drum pattern of “Second Hand News” — an age-defying Fleetwood Mac classic — stirred something in the crowd, bringing everyone to their feet and the front of the venue, moshing as close to the band as they possibly could. Filling the aisles with disjointed dance moves, Buckingham reciprocated their energy, rushing back and forth around the stage, making direct eye contact with as many fans as possible.
Buckingham looked right at home onstage. Ranging from feral rocker to crooning frontman, he truly is an everyman. Although his edges have smoothed out, Buckingham still has the spirit and energy of a renowned rockstar (and he knows it).
His band, described as his “family” and “brothers,” perform as though they’re cogs in a machine, which, in a sense, they are, having played together for over 30 years. Before launching into a two-song encore, Buckingham briefly addressed the (miniature) elephant in the room, saying “I love the complete lack of politics up here — something I obviously appreciate because I’ve had to deal with them…in other situations,” most likely referring to his infamous ousting from Fleetwood Mac.
Disappointed sighs echoed through the crowd as Buckingham announced the last song, “Time,” an apt cover that illustrated a nostalgic look back at a wonderful career.
However, Buckingham isn’t one to linger in the past. While he’s created a new sound and a fresh set born of the 21st Century, he never quite lost that rock ’n roll edge. There’s no looking back for Lindsey Buckingham. Only forward.
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