At Home with Lindsey Buckingham - 12/5/20
When I think of Lindsey Buckingham, I think about the tight precision of his studio work. So, I was pleasantly surprised when his at home livestream was indeed Lindsey at home; just him and an unnamed guitar tech feeding him a stream of freshly tuned guitars. Set in his home studio, the mood was loose, and the playing was beautifully intuitive. Three-quarters into the show, Lindsey mentioned his 2012 tour he dubbed the One-Man Show, where he brought click tracks and pre-recorded guitars to flesh out typically ensemble pieces. Though Lindsey closed out the night using pre-records in order to wail away in head-spinning frenzies on the last three songs, it was largely Lindsey singing classic cuts and a few rarities accompanied by a single six-string acoustic tweaked with subtle delay and nimble shimmer.
While he had performed a short set back in May 2019, this December show was the first time Lindsey played a full concert since bypass surgery damaged his vocal cords. Not taking the easy route, Lindsey sounded ferocious, choosing songs that often built into grand climaxes. In a Q&A session earlier that evening, Buckingham spoke about the past three years where his separation from Fleetwood Mac, his surgery and the pandemic put his latest solo album on hold and changed his normally busy schedule. Enforced leisure for a restless artist drew Lindsey’s focus to his family. He said he hadn’t really felt like writing much during his time locked down but was anxious to tour and show off the new album, which he framed as straight-ahead pop. Not previewing any new material during the livestream, Lindsey chose instead to focus on his impressive legacy, revisiting Mac classics, “Never Going Back,’ and, “Big Love,” as well as drawing from his solo work with wonderfully raw versions of, “Go Insane,” and “Trouble.” Lindsey even went back to the Buckingham-Nicks album with an incandescent instrumental, “Stephanie.” The set list showcased Buckingham’s nuanced chord progressions, casual hooks and unique fingering technique while highlighting timeless themes of romantic conflict and personal frustration.
In the Q&A, Lindsey was asked what his present-day self might tell his 30-year-old self. While he started by saying he thinks he made a lot of good choices and felt justified in always following his art, he might advise the younger Lindsey to be more available and open a personal level. If that had happened, we may not have been blessed with so many delightfully twisted pop tunes, vehicles to carry our own personal rage and sorrows. Fitting then that Lindsey finished the concert with the cathartic, “Go Your Own Way,” funneling incredible energy into the song’s final shred with a fever that was greeted by an eerie silence that has become commonplace in these days of remote shows. A vacuum in place of applause. A sudden wake-up from an hour of tidal emotions and epic fretwork.