NEW YORK, NY—It was a night of small guitars making big sounds. Of furiously thumping fingerpicking morphed with doses of psychedelic pop that Fleetwood Mac guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, laced into the crowd with the full-blown vent of a run away train being lassoed in at the last second. Yes indeed, this mo’ fo can let it rip.
Forget about his laid back-isms to California dreaming and the Fleetwood Mac money making machines dirges into middle of the road geriatric slumber. Instead open your ears to a pop collective that twists the sonic melodies of Brian Wilson with the guitar tectonics of Hendrix and Jeff Beck if they were fingerpicking sultans of swing.
At Nokia, Buckingham and his four-piece band took on his new one, Gift Of Screws, and some Fleetwood Mac chestnuts from the old days. They resurrected the oldies from vinyl heaven adding sparkle and a gloriously rough edge to them. On the new ones the band added a devilish pop sensibility that breached through the watered down divide of the Macs’ straight laced harmonies and into a mischievous one that was playful, edgy and twisted.
Buckingham toyed with the crowd most of the night teasing it with the familiar, then slapping it silly with doses of eccentric rock that bled like mini symphonies sucking on influences from the likes of Brian Wilson’s Smile, Pink Floyd’s Piper At The Gates Of Dawn and Van Dyke Parks’ acidified takes on Californication.
He was note perfect and smoking up there for the final show of the tour and ever so gracious as he genuflected to the crowd after each number, holding onto his guitar like a long lost friend. There was some intersong banter that added to the coziness to the band’s presentation, worlds away from the stone- faced stare of the Mac. Buckingham also took on his demons, fame, fortune and aging in what was a cathartic night of glorious musical venting.
Starting with a few from his latest, he got right down to business with the familiar “Trouble” and “Go Insane,” from his first and second solos, before taking on the jungle beats of “Tusk.” An acoustic rendering of “Never Go Back Again” followed. “Big Love” was next that he introduced as a template and musical cornerstone to his career. On it he thumped, funked and fingerpicked himself into a delirious stew of syncopated, percussive riffs, hammer downs and flamenco-ish slides up and down the fretboard that was incredible to watch and hear.
At one point he went into an interesting dialogue on the merits of working for the big machine (Fleetwood Mac) versus the little machine (his solo career) bridging it with a brief discourse on the uses of the corporate versus the experimental side of the brain before taking on the new “single” (after poking some fun at record execs), “Do You Miss Me.”
“I’m So Afraid” started out slowly then built into a meaty bluesy workout of dual guitars with Neale Heywood taking Buckingham on. “Go Your Own Way” had you wishing Billy “I Never Inhaled” Clinton were in the wings blowing on a sax solo. For the closer, Buckingham played it solo on acoustic guitar offering up “Time Precious Time” putting it all into perspective as a tear trickled down his cheek ending his second solo tour ever.