Saturday, June 6, 2009

Salt Lake Review: Buckingham steals the show during Fleetwood Mac concert

Not to disparage the rest of Fleetwood Mac, but the June 3 show at EnergySolutions Arena turned into The Lindsay Buckingham Show.

The nimble-fingered guitarist-singer for the British-American rock band put on a fevered showcase during the band's 2 ½-hour show, never leaving the stage during the quartet's generous 23-song offering, picking up the slack for the still-missed Christine McVie, who isn't touring with the band.

Mick Fleetwood, the ageless drummer and founder of the band with bassist John McVie at his right-hand side, applauded Buckingham during the show, calling him the "mentor in the studio, maestro on stage, and man with the magic fingers."

Buckingham was so possessed that he overshadowed singer Stevie Nicks' return to Salt Lake City. The Nicks family lived in Salt Lake City between 1961 and 1964, and Nicks spent her eighth, ninth and part of 10th grade in town. During her introduction to "Gypsy," Nicks told the crowd how devastated she was to move from Utah, and later dedicated "Landslide" to her friends who still live here.

Nicks, 61, looked and sounded ageless. She dressed in several different costumes that included long, billowy dresses, a top hat, and a tambourine and microphone adorned in charms and laces, and still played the part of the band's muse and fairy-rock goddess. Fleetwood and McVie looked nearly identical with matching vests and berets that covered their balding heads: Fleetwood is also 61, and McVie is 63.

Buckingham, 59, couldn't help stealing the spotlight from his older bandmates, who were backed by five musicians and back-up singers. It's not that he was envious, jealous or scheming. He just fed off the crowd all evening, and the large video screens hanging from the ceiling of the arena often focused on his pickless right hand strumming and picking furiously near the scratch plate. Clad in a leather jacket and jeans, he danced joyously on the heels of his black boots all night, often standing at the slightly outstretched lip of the stage like a guitar hero.

Seven songs were from "Rumours," the band's classic 1977 album produced during the break-up of the McVies' marriage and Nicks and Buckingham's relationship. While the band was able to blow kisses to one another on stage, Buckingham summoned rage and anger during the emotional "The Chain," with him seething during the lyrics, "Damn your love, damn your lies." And he changed up the fingerpicking classic "Never Going Back Again," also from "Rumours," into a slower song that barely masked the resignation and the pain.

The sound of the arena was strong, with the sole exception of McVie's bass, which sounded like muddled thunder during "The Chain," sounded better on "Rhiannon," and then became awful again during "Gold Dust Woman." Another quibble is that the concert's arrangement of songs lacked a consistent theme; for example, the show's opener, "Monday Morning," is a song about early mixed feelings about a relationship, but then the band followed that with the devastating break-up song, "The Chain." It was too sudden a change, and too early.

The band played songs from its entire, vast catalog --including Buckingham's stinging take on "Oh Well," a bluesy rave-up that predated his entrance into the band.

The nearly sold-out arena -- although the entire upper bowl was curtained off -- was offered some good news by Buckingham early on.

He said, "There's no new album to promote -- yet."

- By David Burger, The Salt Lake Tribune

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