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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Lindsey Buckingham

Live in Portland, Oregon, May 2012

Review by Larry Toering

One thing that was unexpected in getting out to see Lindsey Buckingham wasn't a sell out crowd. For a high profile artist like Buckingham you would expect it, so the advertising delivered. However, there was one small problem that came with it, and that is the fact that rehearsal/sound check must have either went very well and things took a turn for the worse later, or they found out what they had to work with and just decided to wing the sound. But that didn't seem to stop Buckingham from pouring it on when needed. Still, this made for a pickle at first, and I thought for a few songs it was going to be disastrous.
I think terms like “odd” and “abstract” can be used to describe Buckingham at times in general. Still, at other times he can gel with the mainstream perfectly.  That is what I think perhaps makes him so widely marketable. This one man show took getting used to on this night in order to be fully appreciated. The mixture of poorly delivered sound with starkly dynamic vocals and guitar that both carried in opposite directions around the theater, made for an extreme distraction. Nonetheless, it was something at which to marvel as Buckingham worked to get past the sound issues. 

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The good news is, once they got things somewhat stabilized, the sound was measurably consistent in its fight to find the right spot and stay there. Although it never really did, I'm convinced it was a case of the venue and not the artist, who proceeded to shine either way. That said, he seemed clearly annoyed about it. There was talk between the songs about the differences between his work with Fleetwood Mac and his solo project and how they've become just as much of one as the other and found the right balance. The songs reflected his in-between banter and made the intimacy stand out as much as his display of chops, which do seem to be increasing, somehow.


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Once the separation of his performance from the sound was clearly more evident, it didn't seem to matter to one ear in the place, and he went on to captivate the sold out crowd. The guitar playing alone, especially on his Chet Atkins acoustic was extremely fantastic to witness. As mentioned, though, his voice too, was in the best shape I've ever heard it. His performance was nothing short of brilliant, but I would suggest this type of show be best viewed and heard outdoors. So if you get out to see Buckingham on this tour, opt for an amphitheater, as I can only point out that this show seems best geared for it, as opposed to a stuffy theater where the sound doesn't carry as well. This is a sound that seems to want no walls.

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This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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