You Don't Have to Yell for Tusk...

In a word, Lindsey Buckingham’s latest solo album Gift of Screws is ridiculous. While such adjectives are not a stretch considering his former band was the symbol of 70’s excess, his post-Mac work has been spotty and subdued. Gift of Screws makes up for a reclusive career with a sonic triumph as the album is a relentless barrage of quadraphonic studio tricks and Buckingham’s signature guitar mazes.

I’ve never witnessed perhaps my all-time favourite classic rock band in the flesh, nor have I seen Buckingham dazzle with one of his solo tour stops, so it was necessary to pack up the Herrmann and myself, and then head to Cleveland’s House of Blues for what was sure to be a magical evening. It takes a lot to get me to head to my least favourite city in America – so Mr. Buckingham consider yourself very special.

This particular venue was compact and inviting, almost like the Disney equivalent to a rock show. Outsider art cluttered the walls of the club, a low balcony floated directly over the stage, instructions on appropriate concert behavior were broadcast like before a theme-park ride bilingually. All of that sterility need not apply because Lindsey Buckingham is a family man and his show was wholesome entertainment anyone could enjoy.

As for giving up the hits he didn’t disappoint in either respect, pulling from everything from the first Fleetwood Mac album that bore his name (“Second Hand News”) to the stunning abstracts (“Time Precious Time” is his thirteen-fingered meditation on a Panda Bear drugging) and shimmering pop (“Did You Miss Me” is a hit in any universe) of Gift of Screws – you didn’t have to yell out "Tusk", caused he played it second. I suppose the biggest surprise was just how talented this man is in person, picking through the intricacies of his songs with his bare digits at lightning speeds. The opening number of the night and of the album “Great Day” may be somewhat generic in it’s intent, but it's built with shrift Buckingham solos packed between oddball vocal treatments and layered percussions.

Live it wasn’t any different, all these oft-overlooked idiosyncrasies that have made him a musical genius are put on display with nary a nod towards religious enlightenment or transcendental meditation or the clean-n’-sober sob stories. All that struggle-n’-strife could be told in his back-story for the rousing “Big Love” which he played by himself with zero convictions. Still, the reason I love the man and always will, is because of the perfection found in Rumour’s “Never Going Back Again” and guess what, he played that too. This fan almost cried at this moment. It was executed with the hushed intimacy he may reserve for a campfire, marked with just enough variation to show this was one of his favourites. In a word? Ridiculous.

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