Lindsey Buckingham’s live appearance at Tucson’s Fox Theatre was probably one of the more anticipated shows in the Old Pueblo a year and a half ago. Buckingham has been given much credit for Fleetwood Mac’s meteoric success upon his arrival in the band with then-girlfriend Stevie Nicks in 1975, based upon his distinct vocals, fingerpicking guitar style, and songwriting skills that culminated in a series of enormously commercial successful albums including Rumours and Tusk.
Buckingham penned “Monday Morning” and “I’m So Afraid” on the first Fleetwood Mac album that changed the course of the new lineup’s careers and lives. Since that time Rolling Stone has ranked Buckingham in their list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” – number 100 to be exact: not bad for a guitarist who never took guitar lessons.
Following an abrupt dismissal from Fleetwood Mac in 2018 and a health scare, Buckingham has returned with a 2021 self-titled solo album. The album was actually ready for release three years ago. Buckingham addressed this issue during the show when he said, “The reason we are here is that I have a new album. It took a while to get this album out. It’s been ready to go for about three years. Events kept conspiring to keep it from coming out. I had to keep kicking it down the road. At one time, there was a bit of a health issue. And then of course more recently, there was the pandemic. The point is we finally got it out. In some ways, it’s actually more meaningful now. Not only the timing of it coming out, but perhaps the subject matter of the album has taken on more resonance than it would have for me three years ago. All things seem to work out for the best.”
The health issue was that Buckingham experienced severe chest pain and underwent emergency open-heart surgery. The surgery was successful, but caused vocal cord damage that eventually repaired itself over time.
The fans at the sold-out show erupted in applause and cheers as Buckingham entered the stage, donned his guitar, and started performing “Not Too Late.” Buckingham’s rapid guitar picking was captivating and flawless.
The band consisted of a drummer, a keyboardist, a second guitarist, and a bassist. All were superb musicians and some of them have been performing with Buckingham for more than 30 years. He remarked that the drummer is the newest member of the band and “he is the best.” (That may have been a hit on Mick Fleetwood.) Midway into the set, the band left the stage and Buckingham played solo. Illuminated by a single spotlight, Buckingham played “Shut Us Down,” “Trouble,” “Never Going Back Again,” and “Big Love.”
The band returned and they performed songs from his most recent solo album, “Scream,” “I Don’t Mind,” “On the Wrong Side,” and “Swan Song.” The crowd enjoyed the new material, but they went wild with the familiar old Fleetwood Mac tunes. It was the most energetic portion of the show with everyone up, dancing, and singing along to “Second Hand News,” “Tusk,” “I’m So Afraid” and “Go Your Own Way.”
There was no way Buckingham could leave the theatre without performing an encore. He returned after a lengthy standing ovation to perform “Love Is Here to Stay” and “Time,” and called it a night after a highly anticipated visit.