March 25, 2008

On “Live at The Bass Performance Hall,” Lindsey Buckingham’s first live solo release, the guitar god who got his first taste of fame in Fleetwood Mac more than 30 years ago proves that he hasn’t lost any verve during his years on the road.

With manic energy, Buckingham jubilantly works the stage, his usual furious guitar work at the center of a searing spotlight for a career-spanning set-list that includes some FM tracks and a few from his 2006 release, Under the Skin.

But his slowed down versions of the 80s-tastic hits “Trouble” and “Go Insane” are a pleasant, and for the most part mellow, surprise.

The first, paired with “Not Too Late” from his latest release, and a few others make for a more composed beginning — just Buckingham and his dizzying plucking that at times sound as if there must be a second guitarist lurking just stage right. But by show’s end, the only indication that he may have toned it down here is the length of time it takes the dripping wet musician to shed the leather jacket and don a sweat-soaked T-shirt.

“Go Insane” gives Buckingham a moment to catch his breath, and rest his voice between grunting, growling, and, yes, sometimes even a few barks thrown in (“Holiday Road”).

A few Buckingham-penned Fleetwood Mac tunes have been thrown in for good measure.

This live cut of “Big Love” bears a striking resemblance to the rendition turned out more than ten years during a recorded reunion tour, another example of his ability to contemporize a song that originally held more hallmarks of its time.

Call me a purist, but the solo-tour rendition of “Tusk” doesn’t feel right without the rest of Fleetwood Mac, especially a bug-eyed, maniacally laughing Mick Fleetwood.

Same goes for “Go Your Own Way,” which can only muster half the emotional charge without the exchanging energy and what some fans would deduce are meaningful glances with Stevie Nicks.

That’s not to say that his backing band is unworthy. Though the other musicians don’t make an appearance until “Second Hands News,” four songs in, Taku Hirano stands out with vibrant hand percussion

The CD/DVD set are nearly identical. For the concert, “Tusk” is the sole track that differs from the audio companion. But the disc also holds the “Not Too Late” documentary, a musical montage that glimpses scenes from his studio and home, including playful scenes with his wife. Die-hard fans will gobble it up, but for most it’s a forgettable nugget.

About The Author

Kristin Baver is a Contributing Editor. She writes for Bombshell and Blast, and she rocks the entertainment beat like nobody's business.

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