Buckingham/McVie Are Still Finger Picking Good

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Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie played the Fox Theatre on 10/28/17. Photo from www.buckinghammcvie.com

I grew hearing Fleetwood Mac on the radio, but really became aware of them when MTV ran videos for their Tango In the Night hits “Everywhere”, “Seven Wonders,” “Big Love,” and  “Little Lies.” Singer/guitarist Lindsey Buckingham’s “Go Insane” and singer/Keyboardist Christine McVie’s “Got A Hold On Me” were also frequently on MTV in those halcyon days of actual music videos. I remember thinking that Buckingham was a little bit odd, possibly due to his shock of dark curly hair over piercing eyes that seemed to bore into my soul through the television. His voice often seemed somewhat odd too, at least to me. I always thought he’d play a really cool version of the Devil in a long form video or perhaps on Broadway, or maybe even attempt to breakout into film. McVie, on the other hand, seemed much more the wallflower, bashfully sticking to the sidelines while her band mates made the bigger waves.  Those notions were both somewhat accurate and wildly wrong. Buckingham is crazy like a fox, not afraid to experiment with vocals or instruments, and has long been terribly underrated as a guitarist. McVie is the lead singer and songwriter for many of Fleetwood Mac’s top hits, so while she may not be as demonstrative or provocative as Stevie Nicks, she has long been the yang to Buckingham’s yin in the Fleetwood Mac hit machine.

This year the dynamic duo is touring in support of their first “duet” project, titled simply Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie. The "On With The Show" tour arrived at St. Louis’ Fabulous Fox Theatre on October 28, 2017. Originally began as the next Fleetwood Mac album, the new material became their own private project when Stevie Nicks decided to pursue her solo career for the time being.  The songs are a mixture of gentle but catchy ballads such as “In My World” and somewhat more rocking tunes like the first single, “Lay Down For Free.,  Other notable tracks from the new album include “Too Far Gone,” “Sleeping Around the Corner,” “Game of Pretend,” and “Love Is Here To Stay.” Of the new material, I think “Too Far Gone” is too good to pass up. Any Fleetwood Mac fan should be happy with this new album, but newcomers—I’m looking at you, Millennials in dire need of being able to appreciate the time before the Disney started mass producing pop music—should enjoy the new material too, particularly the bombastic “Too Far Gone.” If this one had been done by Adele it would be the front runner for next year’s Song of the Year Grammy.

Of course, nobody really goes to concerts to only hear new music from longtime musicians. They go to hear the hits. And hits were heard, such as “Never Going Back Again,” “Hold Me,” “Little Lies” and “Everywhere.” Seeing them perform “Tusk” live was a big treat, and the whole band really got into that one. The biggest treat though was Lindsey Buckingham’s scorching solo on “I’m So Afraid” which as the B-Side to “Over My Head,” both from the self-titled “Fleetwood Mac” album.  Buckingham, who doesn’t read music and never had a guitar lesson, taught himself to play by listening to banjos and bluegrass guitar. Those formative influences were evident at times throughout the night, as I watched him finger pick his guitar endlessly, never using a pick.  The “I’m So Afraid” solo was a bravura bit of showmanship, and left no doubt in my mind that Buckingham is one of the most talented guitarists in music, and quite possibly the most underrated.  I haven’t seen fingers move like that since I had the honor and privilege to watch Stanley Clarke work magic on his bass with Chick Corea’s Return to Forever band. Rare company, indeed!

California-based foursome Wilderado was the opening act. The St. Louis audience seemed pretty split on their generally unintelligible vocals—I was reminded of the day I first learned about the mumbling, uninspired “shoe-gazing” genre, if you must actually make a name for it. Others seemed to appreciate their efforts and they were respectfully received. For some reason members of the audience wanted them to cover Tom Petty. Perhaps they are known for that? They teased “Free Fallin’” before launching into another 3 minutes of decent musicianship and mumbled lyrics. There was also a persistent feedback hiss coming from one of their monitors throughout their set. Despite the sluggish start, the overall show was excellent.  At 68 Buckingham puts most mosdern rockers to shame, and McVie's voice at 74 is still ever bit as warm and comforting as ever.

For more on the Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie "On With The Show" Tour, visit www.buckinghammcvie.com.  Visit www.FabulousFox.com for more great shows coming to St. Louis' most celebrated venue. 

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0