Touring in support of his third solo album in five years, the excellent, self-released, “Seeds We Sow,” Lindsey Buckingham brought lush pop to the Newman Center at Denver University on Wednesday night.
The venue, a beautiful theater with stunning acoustics, was an ideal setting, particularly for Buckingham’s first section of the show. The first five songs were performed solo, voice and guitar only, each utilizing a different acoustic guitar. Buckingham’s stellar picking created a lot of sound over slower, dramatic interpretations of “Go Insane” and “Trouble,” two early ’80s solo tracks. Despite the lack of additional players, the acoustic set was anything but sparse; Buckingham’s voice was in fine form and his playing was riveting.
Buckingham then brought out a crack three piece backing band, including Denver native Brett Tuggle on bass and keyboards for the rest of the near two-hour, 20 song set. Expertly mixing a handful of Fleetwood Mac favorites with material from his past few solo albums, it wasn’t till “Second Hand News” that Buckingham allowed himself an extended electric guitar solo, and even that was nicely restrained. For a guitar geek hero, he’s clearly proficient, but his playing almost always remarkably stays within the confines of the song.
The middle section was mostly comprised of tracks from “Seeds We Sow.” The guitars, keys, lead and background vocals meshed perfectly on “End of Time.” For me, it even surpassed the one-two Mac punch of “I’m So Afraid” (blistering guitar on that) and “Go Your Own Way” that closed the regular set. The band nailed it again on “Treason,” from 2008’s “Gift of Screws,” the second song in a three-song encore. Buckingham talked between songs occasionally, discussing the genesis of a few songs and once, while contrasting the difference in writing and playing for the “Big Machine” (Fleetwood Mac) and writing and performing with his band (the Little Machine), someone yelled out “You ARE the machine,” which is absolutely true. When indie musicians cite Fleetwood Mac as an influence, more often than not they mean Buckingham’s influence on “the Fleetwood Mac sound.” Buckingham’s past few albums and his current band feature well–crafted baroque pop that people beyond the legions of Fleetwood Mac fans or the growing members of the cult of Lindsey Buckingham should hear.
Mike Long is a Longmont-based writer and comedian and a regular contributor to Reverb.
Todd Radunsky is a Boulder-based photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.