Newmark Theatre, Portland Oregon
16 November 2006
The Newmark Theatre is small; the fact that it has two balconies might confuse you into thinking you're going into a grand hall. You're not. From our 2nd row seats in the first balcony, we could still see Lindsey's hands moving on his guitar. Rather, to be more correct, guitars. The man changed instruments after every single song, I think. But I digress...
Lindsey Buckingham is a legend, and while I think on some level he must be aware of his own genius, he also seems humbled by a cheering crowd, genuinely thankful people still want to hear what he has to say. He routinely bowed with what appeared to be deep gratitude at the applause he was receiving, and even made mention of the fact that when one is locked away in a studio or dealing with the business end of music that it's easy to forget about the delivery of said music... And that he was thankful we were all there to hear his songs.
This band, like the group he last toured with, is fabulous - they shared the stage with him a little more than half the time. Lindsey is known for his penchant for gadgets and technology, and the band and stage show reflect that - the drummer, for instance, plays probably the most hi-tech drum kit I've ever seen. There wasn't a single actual drum - they were all electronic, including the bass drum (the pedal just hit a tiny pad on the floor - if you're familiar with drum kits, it looked like the pedal was set up without anything to hit at all), but that wasn't even the coolest thing. The coolest thing, hands down, was the drummer's seat. Yes, his seat. Why? Well, because it doubled as a set of conga drums. No joke. The man would just pound his hands on his friggin' chair, and depending on where he hit it, it would sound like a different drum. Absolutely cool.
But back to the man himself... Like I said, he changed guitars practically every song. I imagine his house is rather full of instruments at this point in his career. Anyone who's watched him play knows the most interesting thing about his style is that he never uses a guitar pick - no matter what technique he's using, he uses only his fingers. His lightning-fast picking style is legendary, and he didn't disappoint last night, running through lots of his solo music as well as some beloved Fleetwood Mac songs. Standouts for me were his haunting rendition of "Go Insane" (it truly sounded creepily crazy), "Big Love," "Bleed to Love Her" (the grand finale), and "Tusk."
Perhaps the thing that struck me most, however, was how in between many of the songs, as the crowd was clapping and yelling, he would fold himself in half, doubled over at the waist, guitar still hanging from his neck, and just scream. This is a man who is, at nearly 60 years old, still having a blast doing what he's doing, and still getting a huge kick out of the fact that other people are enjoying it, too.
Now, the only beef I have is that at the end of the show (after the 2nd encore), he walked offstage saying, "Thank you so much, I'll see you next year!" which made me think, "Wait, did he say that last time he was here? Y'know, 14 years ago??" Yeah, he probably didn't make any promises back then. I hope he meant what he said last night, though, because he's the kind of performer this girl just doesn't get tired of watching.