Lindsey Buckingham appeared on stage at the Neptune on Saturday night in a black leather jacket, ankle boots, and skinny jeans. Buckingham is now 62 years old; with the years he's gotten rangier and his hairline's receded, but his voice and his vitality appear not to have aged--to the point that he's able to sound completely dynamic on stage by himself, just him and about eleven guitars he cycled throughout the set. Buckingham spent some time talking about the Big Machine (Fleetwood Mac) versus the Small Machine (his solo career), how neither would exist without the other, and how when he first started playing solo, he'd tour with a ten-piece band. "Tonight, it appears it's just me," he said. "So it looks like the Small Machine is getting smaller."
Buckingham does everything with flair. He shakes his head as he sings, like he's willing the notes out. He paws at his guitar strings like a dog, picks at them like a pianist. He pumps his guitar up in the air and soaks in the applause. After playing a few midtempo songs--2006's "Cast Away Dreams"; Fleetwood Mac's "Bleed To Love Her"--someone in the audience shouted, "kick it up a notch!", which was rude, but as if on cue Buckingham switched to electric for "Come" and heated up the room bawling out the chorus ("Think of me sweet darling every time you don't come/Can you feel the fever?"). He followed "Come" with a slowed-down, solemn, acoustic version of his 1984 synth-pop hit "Go Insane," which he ended on an astoundingly strong belting note. His voice never broke.
Buckingham received standing ovations for his fervent performances of "Come" and "Go Insane," but the audience erupted once he started in on the familiar open lines of "Never Going Back Again." After he closed his set with "Go Your Own Way," he shook hands with every person standing in front of the stage, left just briefly, and came back for an encore of two songs from the Small Machine. His performance of his very first solo hit, 1981's "Trouble," bore little in common with its cutesy, cheesetastic music video. Like "Go Insane," Buckingham slowed it down, drew out the vocal melody--"I really should be saying goodnight/I really shouldn't stay anymore"--so that it stretched and shimmered, transforming the song into something softer, more romantic, more mature.