Rocky Mountain News (Under the Skin) Concert Review
Deconstructing rocker gets to the heart of his hits
By Mark Brown, Rocky Mountain News
November 14, 2006
Lindsey Buckingham did the math long ago. If you do a Fleetwood Mac project and your album debuts in the Top 10, you sell out arenas.
But if you do virtually the same thing under your own name, it's for the hard core only and you play theaters.
And he has decided it's well worth the tradeoff, romping through a 90-minute set at the Paramount on Monday night free of the confines of a super group, yet still making music that sounds much like it.
He's playing an economical set- list heavily peppered with Fleetwood Mac classics as well as solo hits and rarities. It's an interesting mix of old and new, with many of his early Fleetwood Mac classics showing a fixation with doom and despair - I'm So Afraid, Never Going Back Again and the like.
The paranoia in some of those songs stuck with his solo work, particularly the harrowing Go Insane, delivered in the stripped-down, intense version Buckingham debuted at his first solo show back in 1992.
The songs from the new CD Under the Skin show much less paranoia and more self-awareness.
"Stripped down" was pretty much the theme of the night. With just three backing musicians - and for long stretches not even with them - Buckingham greatly deconstructed many of his biggest songs.
Yet those songs stayed close enough to the spirit and the melody of the originals that you didn't feel like you were getting the weird, experimental version.
Instead, Buckingham got deep inside the original intent of the songs and made them more intimate and personal.
As noted, he has done this in the past; Big Love, Go Insane and other songs have been stripped down for years. Other songs, however, benefited greatly from the same treatment. Trouble was done solo acoustic, with Buckingham deftly playing the rhythm while simultaneously plucking out the gentle guitar solo in the middle of the song, a feat of virtuosity worthy of Richard Thompson.
I'm So Afraid was similarly reworked, this time with the band in tow. The blues rocker was slowed down even further, bare bones of the original, yet with the ripping guitar solo that has become its trademark still bringing the song to a blazing end.
His finger-picking style was used, as always, to great effect on Never Going Back Again.
With a body of work as deep as Buckingham's, a set-list will never satisfy all. There were some nice surprises, including an encore of Holiday Road, the goofy cut from the Vacation movie soundtrack.
Sadly, he ignored his last solo album, 1992's exquisite Out of the Cradle.
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