From The Small Machine: Live in L.A., recently issued by Eagle Vision, finds
the songwriter covering both his solo and Fleetwood Mac oeuvre in relatively
stripped-down fashion. Watch video for “Stars Are Crazy,” below.
By Lee Zimmerman
What’s Fleetwood Mac without Lindsey Buckingham? Good
question, considering what became of the band’s innocuous incarnation that
followed in the wake of his departure. On the other hand, some might ask what’s
Lindsey Buckingham without Fleetwood Mac? Despite some sumptuous solo albums,
it could be argued that Buckingham was at his best when he had Mac’s vocal and
instrumental arsenal in tow.
Not surprisingly then, the biggest crowd pleasers on this
two hour plus DVD (recorded live this past April at the Saban Theatre in
Beverly Hills) are those drawn from the Mac cannon – “Never Going Back Again,”
“Big Love,” “Tusk” and “Go Your Own Way,” chief among them. Even when
Buckingham performs them in solo mode, the treatments invite the audience to
fill in the gaps. For the better part of the first few songs, Buckingham opts
for a stripped down approach, demonstrating the lithe yet fluid picking
technique that marks his signature style. Yet standing alone on the Saban’s
massive stage, Buckingham seems dwarfed by its expanse, and even though his
anecdotal comments help narrow the communal divide between artist and audience,
the sparse arrangements seem better suited to a smaller venue.
Once he’s joined by his band – Brett Tuggle on bass and
keyboards, Neale Heywood on guitar and Walfredo Reyes Jr. on drums and
percussion – the energy level is heightened and the songs — drawn mainly from
Buckingham’s latest effort, the excellent Seeds
We Sow — find their groove. Even then, the four musicians seem vastly
isolated from one another in this mammoth setting, further foiling any attempt
Nevertheless, in going back to basics, Buckingham succeeds
admirably, demonstrating that a heads-down, unembellished performance of
polished, precision pop doesn’t necessarily need any additional embellishment.
Be assured — devotees will be delighted.