There is a very particular Fleetwood Mac song that could apty describe Lindsey Buckingham’s departure from the band and this solo tour, but I’m not one to pick the low hanging fruit.
Buckingham’s solo tour checks all the boxes for the perfect defunt boomer act. An ex guitarist from a world renowned band, playing his hits on an acoustic guitar in a casino ballroom, whereas two decades ago, their full band was selling out stadiums worldwide. Springsteen, Felder, and Fogerty, to name a small few, have all done that. But the question is not about why an artist is hitting the casino circuit in the aftertaste of the glory days and ‘remember whens” to share with their audience. What matters is that, regardless of who or where the artist is; Is their heart is in the music being played? That was the case tonight. And in the (hopefully) dwindling days of the pandemic, being able to see these artists still in any capacity, takes on a whole new meaning.
Lindsey Buckingham and his band took to the stage to great applause. It was the second show of his solo tour, which began last night in Wisconsin. Rightfully so, the band was eager to be back on the stage again now that it’s been safe to do so. But perhaps, Lindsey was the most excited. This was his first solo tour since 2006, and his first solo tour after his exit from Fleetwood Mac.
The audience was an older crowd, more focused on the Fleetwood Mac side of Lindsey’s music than his solo work. Even a lot of the women came to the show dressed in long black dresses and capes to mimic the witchy look of Stevie Nicks. But the Fleetwood mac songs were very sparse in the setlist tonight. It was, after all, a solo show. Lindsey began the night with Not Too Late off of 2006’s Under the Skin and In Our Own Time off of 2011’s Seeds we Sow. Soul Drifter from 1992’s Out of the Cradle helped to pick up the pace a bit with the crowd, but was brought down with Stars are Crazy which did feature a nice backdrop of stars in the curtain.
The night continued with a mix of slower to medium tempo solo songs, which received applause when they were done, but as the night progressed, many wondered when the hits would come. A heckler shouted at Buckingham before he began playing his newest single, aptly called Scream off of Buckingham’s latest self-titled record, releasing on September 17th. Relief for a lot of the audience came when he performed a handful of songs solo with his acoustic guitar, ending the set with Never Going Back Again off of Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 masterpiece Rumors. The solo acoustic version allowed Buckingham to play a slowed down version of the song, at times getting very quiet, almost in a John Mayer-like whisper, when playing the song. It’s also a testament to the audience’s level of chatter as well, which there was zero of, while he performed the song.
Big Love, another Fleetwood Mac song, came next with the full band, and prompted the first crowd dancing of the night, who until now, had been sitting respectfully in their chairs. Lindsey then performed another handful of his solo songs before ending the night a bit up-tempo, and focused more on the Fleetwood Mac repertoire, performing Second Hand News, Tusk, I’m so Afraid, and Go Your Own Way, where he also included shredding guitar solos on the last two songs that both got standing ovations. These songs changed the energy in the room considerably, prompting yelps into the microphone after each song from Lindsey, and bigger applause from the audience. After the encore, Lindsey introduced his band to us, which he said he “meant to do earlier in the night, but it is just the second show, so forgive me since i’m still figuring this out”. While doing so, he mentioned how much his band had meant to him, with some members playing with him going back more than 30 years. He also mentioned that he appreciated “the lack of politics, and the similarity in interests” in this band, in comparison to Fleetwood Mac, although he didn’t mention it by name. The audience got the message.
By the end of the night, the audience and myself had gained a new appreciation of Lindsey Buckingham’s music, which does sound quite notably different from what we hear from him on local classic rock stations. And as i had stated earlier, his heart (of which he had recently also had a triple bypass on) was in every moment of these songs, which had made the night all the more memorable for everyone, even if they didn’t hear all the hits.