Sunday, May 31, 2009

LA Review: Lindsey Buckingham takes spotlight on Fleetwood Mac tour

If the name had not already been taken, Fleetwood Mac might be more accurately known as the Buckinghams.

Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, dubbed the veteran rock band’s “mentor” and “maestro” by drummer and co-founder Mick Fleetwood, poured on the highlights during the Mac’s 2-1/2-hour concert at the Staples Center on Thursday.

Clearly invigorated by his tour last year to promote his latest solo album, Buckingham wowed the 18,000-strong boomer crowd with flashy, pick-free guitar work on such tunes as “Go Insane,” “I’m So Afraid” and “Big Love,” which he dedicated to his wife and young children in the audience.

Co-conspirator Stevie Nicks was off stage for the latter two songs, but she won over fans with her gravel-voiced take on “Gold Dust Woman” and show closer “Silver Springs.” Perhaps the loudest roar was reserved for her synth-laden solo tune “Stand Back.”

Not all of Buckingham’s tunes worked. The brassy climax of “Tusk” could have benefited from a guest spot by the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band, who performed on the original recording and are based down the road from the venue. Instead, some deft playing by a touring keyboardist had to suffice.

Singer/keyboardist Christine McVie was also sorely missed. The writer of such tunes as “You Make Loving Fun” and “Little Lies” retired to her English country estate a decade ago to focus on her culinary passions. But that did not prevent Buckingham and Nicks from trading verses on two of her best-known songs “Don’t Stop” and “Say You Love Me.”

Fleetwood Mac are touring without a new album — “yet,” Buckingham told the crowd. The idea is to “just go out and have fun,” he said.

But for the first half of the show, Buckingham, Nicks, Fleetwood and bass player John McVie barely acknowledged each other, firmly keeping to their designated areas of the simple stage. However Nicks embraced Buckingham after she finished singing “Sara,” and other bonding moments soon occurred. By the end, it looked like a major love-fest among the various ex-lovers and combatants.

The souvenir stands did a roaring trade in $40 tambourines (what recession?), though this led to a lot of unnecessary accompaniment during the show. Mick Fleetwood wigs might be a better choice on the next tour.

- by Dean Goodman, Reuters

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