"It’s been a surprising year to say the least," Lindsey Buckingham remarked halfway through his solo show. "But we’re making a new start. And all of you are a part of that, so thank you for your support. We love you very much."
If that little speech, repeated several times over the course of his concert, reflected that Buckingham’s split with Fleetwood Mac affected his psyche, it also showed his determination to recharge as well. Granted, several Fleetwood Mac songs were interspersed throughout his 21-song set, but for the most part, Wednesday night’s performance in Knoxville Tennessee’s historic Bijou Theatre was really about new beginnings and moving forward towards the future.
Indeed, when at one point, a fan shouted out a request for yet another Mac tune, Buckingham simply smiled and replied, "Buddy, you’re at the wrong show."
Happily then, the real show everyone else in the audience came to see was one that spotlighted its star to his fullest extent. There were the familiar favourites of course, but now newly revisited several of them - 'Go Insane,' 'Trouble,' 'Big Love,' and 'Go Your Own Way' in particular - seemed to resonate with entirely new meanings in light of those recent events. The audience seemed to catch on too; Buckingham’s resolute read of 'Never Going Back Again' inspired the crowd to share cheers of encouragement.
At age 69, Buckingham looks like a man reborn. Energised, effusive and clearly enthralled by an equally enthused audience, he posed, preened and strutted about the stage, obviously empowered by his razor sharp four piece backing band, which he took time to praise individually and collectively. They gave the music a glossy sheen that left no allowance for anything except pure perfection. Even the lesser known songs came across with a radiance and polish that could easily rival any recorded rendition.
Still, much of the credit for this superb concert goes to Buckingham himself. His guitar skills are still in full flourish and it’s clear he takes his duties seriously. He changed instruments after practically every song, and when he approached the front of the stage, the line of people lined the lip responded by reaching out for his axe. Though he mostly stayed out of harm’s way, at one point, Buckingham obliged, allowing them to stroke his guitar while sharing a few private comments all at the same time.
Likewise, Buckingham’s vocals were immaculate as well, whether delivered as a triumphant shriek or as an emotional wail. It’s an inspired sound, a reflection of an artist looking forward to a future he’s now free to shape himself. Buckingham’s not only going his own way, but clearly feeling free to determine his destination as well.
Lindsey Buckingham played:
'Don't Look Down'
'Surrender the Rain'
'Not Too Late'
'Doing What I Can'
'I Must Go'
'Street of Dreams'
'Shut Us Down'
'Never Going Back Again'
'In Our Own Time'
'I'm So Afraid'
'Go Your Own Way'
'Turn It On'