Lindsey Buckingham, Orpheum Theatre, October 13, 2006
Lindsey Buckingham has never been much for blatantly confessional songs. Obliquely confessional songs, sure — the Fleetwood Mac catalogue is full of them. But on “Not Too Late” — the opener from his new solo album, Under the Skin (Reprise) — he owns up to needing attention, worrying about what his kids think of him, and wondering why some reviewer just called him a visionary. That song opened Friday night’s Orpheum show, played solo with some dazzling acoustic picking and well-placed echo on his voice. It was just the sort of revealing moment expected of famous group members on solo tours.
For someone who masterminded Rumours and Tusk during one of the most creative coke binges on record, Buckingham looks clean and well-adjusted. And unlike on-off partner Stevie Nicks, he sports the same singing voice he did on Rumours. Introducing the new material that dominated the show’s first half, he explained the inspiration behind each song: “dealing with midlife” issues. Yet he didn’t lose the glint of madness that’s always made him more compelling than most California singer-songwriters. The 1984 single “Go Insane” was preceded by a foreboding poem, and sung in a menacing lowered-down voice.
Like his idol Brian Wilson, Buckingham has diehards who cherish his quirkier side along with a larger fan base that comes mainly for the hit singles. The first half was a payoff for the diehards, but it wasn’t the deep-catalogue show they might have hoped for. There was only a taste of Tusk (three songs), nothing from his last solo album, 1993’s Out of the Cradle, and only one real surprise: ”Holiday Road,” a rockabilly rescued from the soundtrack of National Lampoon’s Vacation.
The second half became a de facto Mac show, with the obvious hits: “Go Your Own Way,” “Big Love” long-time live favorite “World Turning.” With Fleetwood Mac on indefinite hiatus, it’s the only live airing these songs will likely get for some time, and Buckingham wound up balancing his experimental instincts with the crowd-pleasing moves. If that doesn’t make him a visionary, he’ll have to settle for being a master.
: Live Reviews
, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham