Lindsey Buckingham has been something of a rock/pop icon since the mid-seventies. When Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac in 1975 he immediately showed just how talented he is- there may not be a household from the seventies that didn't have the Mac album "Rumors" on its shelves at some point- and when leaving in the late-eighties he also showed just how vital to the band's immense success one artist can be, even in an ensemble of very notable (and in Nicks' case, legendary) performers in their own right.
Never truly established as a solo artist before joining Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham's own career didn't seem to catch fire when leaving the band. The most popular Fleetwood Mac lineup reformed in the mid-nineties for a hugely successful reunion tour and has since released their first studio album (sans Christine McVie) "Say You Will" in the new millenium, as well as embarking on another successful tour. As things look today the present unit will be together making music for some time to come. Long famous for his work within the band as it's lead guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer, here we are given a solo performance showcasing those considerable skills.
This is the first entry I've watched in the PBS "Soundstage Presents" concert series and I must say I like what I see. You are placed a small concert hall setting with the band on a likewise stage, which makes for an intimate feel with less intrusion from the audience at the show. Buckingham, while a bit reserved between songs at the onset, (which, from what I've seen of his Fleetwood Mac performances is not in any way unusual) seems to warm up to the intimate setting as the set progresses and comes across as relaxed and articulate in his between songs musing with the audience. Before leaving Fleetwood Mac Buckingham gave the impression of being a somewhat tortured artist, but in the years since the band's reunion seems more at peace and with much less of a bone to pick with the world- in short, maturity compliments Lindsey in both his personal style as well as onstage talents in the present. Buckingham sounds as good today as he ever has in both voice and guitar work.
By the time he brings 'guest' Stevie Nicks onstage we are in Lindsey's corner and enjoying the show. (Bringing out Nicks for a few songs was a nice touch and I love Stevie, but I'm not sure if it was necessary other than for 'star power' value.) This is a case of watching a gifted guitar player and songwriter displaying his craft to a medium-sized audience, and we are fortunate to have this release while he still seems very much at his peak when performing. Production work is superb here, the cameras panning the small stage, a few pans of the audience, but mostly mid-level shots of Buckingham interspersed with closeups of his face and guitar playing.
The show runs right at an hour and the playlist is as follows:
1. Someone's Gotta Change Your Mind
3. Big Love
4. Go Insane
5. Down On The Rodeo
7. Red Rover
8. Never Going Back Again (with Stevie Nicks
9. Say Goodbye(with Stevie Nicks)
10. Murrow Turning Over in his Grave
11. Go Your Own Way
Steal Your Heart Away
I Am Waiting
While the tracklist appears to be mostly Fleetwood Mac songs, a few are obscure and have that Lindsey signature sound- so Buckingham seems to be catering to both his own fans as well as those who are followers of Mac. It's nice to see his old solo hit "Trouble" included, as well as both older staples such as "Big Love", "Go Insane", and several recent (and worthy) offerings- among them "Peacekeeper" and "Red Rover" from Fleetwood Mac's last release "Say You Will". He closes the concert with the vintage showstopper "Go Your Own Way" which gets the audience on their feet clapping and cheering. On the whole, though, this is a very introspective show.
Presentation here is anamorphic widescreen, and appears to be 1:85:1. Shot in high definition, I was very impressed with the video portion of this disc. Colors are rich and are reproduced beautifully; blacks are deep and the picture quality is excellent with little for me to be critical of- the occasional shimmering but nothing too noticible. The picture is clean, sharp and detailed with no sign of grain and the lighting seems perfect given that we're in a small concert hall. This is one VERY good looking disc, to my eyes and video setup nearly reference quality.
Of note here, the back cover states the aspect ratio to be 4x3 letterbox, the PBS sale site states fullscreen, while one region 4 site states the aspect ratio to be anamorphic widescreen. I've checked my disc on two systems and it sure looks like 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen to me.
Your choices here are Dolby Digital 5.1 channel and PCM stereo. I'm a bit of a DTS fanatic myself but both of these tracks sound excellent on my system, clean and rich with plenty of clarity. Both audio tracks seemed a bit upfront to me but as this is akin to a club setting it compliments the show very well. This performance was very guitar oriented with little emphasis on bass tracks in the set but the few there were sounded tight and natural.
The only real "extras" here are the two bonus tracks, from the same performance but edited out, presumably for PBS program time constraints.
Soundstage is to be commended for such an outstanding concert offering such as this one. If small concert hall shows aren't your thing you may not be as impressed with the presentation as I am, but if they are something you enjoy then you'd be hard pressed to find anything wrong with this production. Buckingham gives a sharp performance in this setting which does not disappoint. Disc length is a bit on the short side and I would have loved to have seen a much longer set, but given that this is derived from a series I presume that they needed to keep the time to about an hour. This is compensated for slightly by the two 'bonus' songs to be found in the extras. If you are a fan of Lindsey Buckingham and/or Fleetwood Mac, this disc will not disappoint. Highly recommended.