ROYAL OAK -- Lindsey Buckingham has plenty of good songs, both on his own and with Fleetwood Mac. He's a pretty fine singer, too.
But the nearly 1,200 who turned out to see him on Tuesday night (Nov. 8) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre mostly wanted to see Buckingham do one thing -- play guitar. And they certainly got what they wanted, a virtuostic display over the course of an hour and 50 minutes that was so dazzling and dynamically varied it could have caused one to ask silly questions like "Eric who?"
The 62-year-old Buckingham didn't waste any time showing off his dexterity, either. He played the night's first five songs solo, starting with the rolling, ethereal finger-picking of "Shut Us Down" from 2006's "Under the Skin," then playing his two biggest solo hits -- "Go Insane" and "Trouble" -- before dipping into the Fleetwood Mac canon for "Never Going Back Again" and a frenetic take on "Big Love." He could have satisfied the crowd in that mode all night long -- and did close the 19-song show that way with the title track of his latest album, "Seeds We Sow" -- but when he brought on his crack three-piece band, the fun really began.
Buckingham and company successfully straddled a line between compositional integrity and stretched-out indulgence. Save for the typically epic Mac track "I'm So Afraid" and a rabble-rousing "Go Your Own Way," most of the instrumental pyrotechnics fit neatly within the songs so that the likes of "Under the Skin," the harmonic "All My Sorrows," the rocking "Illumination" and smooth, poppy "End of Time" simply came off as good tunes that just happened to house jaw-droppingly intricate guitar parts. Buckingham was also careful never to let too much time pass without a hit from Mac world and sounded just as impassioned romping through "Second Hand News" and "Tusk" as he did his solo material.
Fortunately, he was playing for audience that was equally attuned to the latter, so it stayed standing for encores like "Turn It On" and "Treason" even if they weren't part of Buckingham's hit parade. And when he promised he'd be back -- likely with Fleetwood Mac in 2012 -- they certainly let him know that time can't come too soon.