Magical picking, resonant vocals and deep gratitude were at the core of the sold-out Lindsey Buckingham concert Tuesday night at Riviera Theatre. As the season's first real snow accumulated along Webster Street, fans (apparently ardent and vocal super-fans all) were treated to the passion and heat of the masterful guitar artist – and band – at work.
Buckingham's intense set touched on all decades of his career including his time as a member of the successful Buckingham-Stevie Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac (after the departure of founder Peter Green), and his later solo work. The show, curated mainly from his solo recordings, did feature two distinctive segments of his Fleetwood Mac compositions.
Buckingham's tour is in support of his new release, "Solo Anthology - The Best of Lindsey Buckingham." Signed copies of its deluxe triple-disc edition were flying off the merch table in the Riviera lobby.
"Don't Look Down," his jauntiest song from the '90s, began the set of 19 songs plus three encore tunes. Most of the seated crowd leapt to its feet after "Doing What I Can," sliding into one of his greatest hits, jubilant "Trouble" from the '80s. The audience remained seated again until the raucousness of "Tusk," following a spotlighted drum solo by masterful (and wild-haired) Jimmy Paxson.
People drifted down the aisles to dance in front of the stage and Buckingham occasionally bent down nearly face-to-face with fans in a sort of rock 'n' roll benediction.
His band of five, off to the sides of the stage and introduced later in the show with great affection, exited for Buckingham to perform three songs solo. Buckingham thanked his fans: "The meaning of this is really coming from all of you, you're supporting what's going on, witnessing it."
The effusiveness during "Shut Us Down," "Never Going Back Again," (beauty-inspired tears from this reviewer) and "Big Love" (the latter two both Fleetwood Mac hits), was awe-inspiring, pure artistry. Buckingham could indeed travel solo –with his bevy of guitars, of course.
Set closer "Go Your Own Way," a '70s Fleetwood Mac hit, led into encores and additional gratitude. "The last piece of this puzzle is you guys. We love you."
Before Buckingham, spellbinding and self-effacing solo guitarist J.S. Ondara, from Nairobi, Kenya, self-described as a "writer of sad songs," performed in crisscrossed white beams of light, a sight in white suit and fedora. His standout moments were his songs "American Dream" and "Lebanon," with a little swing to it.
This rising star noted the Mighty Wurlitzer organ, his opener. "I was backstage listening to the organ, it's quite magnificent, isn't it?" As is Riviera Theatre tradition, all proceedings begin with a concert showing off the instrument-in-residence: organist Tom McGinley performed a lush medley of holiday-inspired music.
Lindsey Buckingham, Nov. 27 at the Riviera Theatre, North Tonawanda.
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