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Review: Lindsey Buckingham impresses Columbus with one-man show

Lindsey Barrett / Copy chief

Before heading back to his home state of California, singer, guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Buckingham made a tour stop in downtown Columbus for a one-man show that while in some ways understated, was no less impressive.

Buckingham performed Saturday at the Southern Theatre and was sponsored by the Wexner Center for the Arts.

There was no opening act for the artist who rose to fame as one-fifth of the band Fleetwood Mac. Nor was there a backup band, fancy lighting, sound effects or any other kind of theatrics.

But Buckingham didn’t need any of it.

With just his amps behind him, and joined onstage only by a  guitar technician in between songs to switch guitars, 62-year-old Buckingham sang and played guitar for 80 minutes to a crowd of about 900 people. He performed more than a half dozen songs drawn from both his solo albums and those associated with Fleetwood Mac.

While the concert was a sit-down affair, the audience could hardly be contained in their seats. They gave Buckingham a standing ovation after each song and some stood to dance and sing along  throughout the show. Buckingham rewarded his impassioned and devoted followers with three encores, which included two songs from his newest album “Seeds We Sow,” “Rock Away Blind” and the album’s title track.

Throughout the concert, and often throughout each individual song, Buckingham showcased his vocal range. Some lyrics he belted out, while others he sang as near whispers.

Buckingham sang a solo version of “Big Love,” a song that originally appeared on Fleetwood Mac’s 1987 album “Tango in the Night.” Buckingham said lyrics such as “I wake up alone with it all / I wake up but only to fall / Looking out for love / Big, big love,” once expressed his reluctance to love again after his breakup with bandmate Stevie Nicks. The song, which he said reminds him of the peace he has since found in life, was one of the more upbeat songs.

He performed a rendition of “Go Insane,” from a 1984 solo album of the same name. The song became more melancholic in the quieter, slowed delivery of  lines such as “Two kinds of people in this world / Winners … losers / I lost my power in this world / Cause I did not use it / So I go insane / Like I always do / And I call your name / She’s a lot like you.” The changes added a vulnerability to the song that the original fast-paced album version lacks.

Buckingham performed “Never Going Back Again” and crowd-favorite “Go Your Own Way” from Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 “Rumours,” which reportedly sold more than 40 million copies and landed No. 26 on Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Other songs from Fleetwood Mac albums included “Bleed to Love Her” off the 1997 “The Dance” and “Come” from the 2003 album “Say You Will.”

But if there was one shining moment of the night, it was Buckingham’s solo guitar performance in “I’m So Afraid,” off the 1975 album “Fleetwood Mac,” the first album he and Nicks made with the band. Rolling Stone ranks Buckingham as one of the 100 best guitarists, and the solo left little question as to why.

Buckingham seemed to put everything he had into the more than five-minute guitar solo, and the audience couldn’t get enough. Audience members closest to the stage on either side reached up to touch Buckingham’s guitar, to be a part of the magic Buckingham seemed to be creating before their eyes.

The guitar solo was stunning, leaving some people bowing to Buckingham by the song’s end. While such a gesture may have seemed overstated, even ridiculous, in most other situations, it somehow seemed completely warranted and deserved in this one.

Buckingham proved Saturday night that, alone on stage with a guitar in hand and the more folksy sounds of Fleetwood Mac with the more modern songs of his solo career, he had all he needed to entertain the crowd.

 

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