By Brandy McDonnell
Photos by: katScratch Designs (click for more)
TULSA — A strange and beautiful chemistry exists between Lindsey Buckingham and guitars.
The rock ‘n’ roll legend surpassed his reputation as a musical wizard Friday night at the Brady Theater, blending his potent fingerpicking and keening vocals into a spellbinding performance.
The crowd at the historic theater was woefully small; the show drew an estimated 1,500 fans, leaving the intimate venue only about half full. But they were ardent and loud, wildly worship ping every song, solo and guitar flourish of Buckingham’s two-hour set.
The Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer/songwriter opened with a pair of songs from his new solo album “Gift of Screws,” released last week. Even those not yet familiar with Buckingham’s fifth solo effort appreciated the throbbing insistence and blazing closing solo of “Great Day” and the pop ditty “Love Runs Deeper.” The latter sounded as if it only needed the three-part harmony of Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks to slip neatly into Fleetwood Mac’s oeuvre.
After sincerely thanking the crowd for being there, the black-clad frontman promised more familiar material and delivered two of his biggest solo hits, “Trouble” and “Go Insane.”
He didn’t make the audience wait long for some Fleetwood Mac favorites, putting an eerie, subdued=2 0opening on “Tusk,” then suddenly morphing into the customary pounding rock treatment of the song, which got fans stomping their feet and bobbing their heads.
Buckingham’s fingers danced over guitar strings with seemingly easy precision, but sweat was dripping from his curly hair and bent limply to one side at the end of the raucous “I Know I’m Not Wrong.”
Guitarist Neale Heywood, bassist/keyboardist Brett Tuggle and drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. accompanied Buckingham with impressive sonic synergy. But the frontman hit one of the show’s high points when he went totally solo for a three-song acoustic set, including the wistful “Shut Us Down” and the Fleetwood Mac standard “Never Going Back Again.”
Heywood and Tuggle joined their acoustic guitars to Buckingham’s to give a lush and lovely dimension to “Under the Skin,” and their harmony vocals elevated the mellow ballad “Did You Miss Me,” the first single from the new album.
But the show reached its apex as Buckingham’s guitar wailed and screamed with pent-up emotions on the scorchingly intense “I’m So Afraid,” and then abruptly shifted into the irresistibly bouncy Fleetwood Mac classic “Go Your Own Way.”
For his encore, he kept the crowd on its feet with the rollicking 0Second Hand News” and vibrant “Don’t Look Down.” He could have stopped there, sending his fans home high on adrenaline and nostalgia. Instead, he planned to close with the introspective new offering “Treason,” explaining that “it’s about the lies that we tell each other … and also postulates that there’s something better, which we all know.”
And when the fervent fans coaxed one more song out of Buckingham, he again picked a thoughtful new song, “Time Precious Time.” As his agile fingers moved with an almost magical delicacy over the strings, it proved a fitting choice that allowed the enchantment of the evening to linger.