Chalk one up for baby boomers.
Popular music is the realm of young musicians and relevant artists over the age of 60 are the exception rather than the rule. While he didn't break any new ground during his bracing appearance Sunday at Yardley Hall, Lindsey Buckingham demonstrated that he remains vital.
Buckingham, 63, used age to his advantage by supplanting youthful rebellion with urgent songs of uncommon maturity. During an unaccompanied performance for an audience of over 1,000, Buckingham reinterpreted old gems from his tenure with Fleetwood Mac and showcased sage songs from his solo career.
An arduous rendition of "Not Too Late" served as the emotional core of the concert and as Buckingham's statement of purpose. He repeatedly howled "it's not too late" as he created distressed ripples of sound with his masterfully plucked guitar. As with most of the evening's 13 selections, "Not Too Late" contained personal epiphanies from the astute perspective of a seasoned artist who understands that time is precious.
Partly due to his role in instigating the ambitious scope of Fleetwood Mac's 1979 album Tusk, Buckingham has been saddled with a reputation for musical excess.
The format of Sunday's solo concert, consequently, was particularly satisfying. Buckingham played acoustic and electric guitars and deployed unobtrusive prerecorded backing tracks on a few selections. The plaintive pop of "Trouble" and the gorgeous instrumental "Stephanie" contained the unadorned serenity associated with solo concerts. The full-throated vocals and phenomenal guitar picking on "Bleed to Love Her," however, contained lush bursts of sound.
Buckingham played the role of a repressed bluesman on a gritty version of Fleetwood Mac's "Come" as his tormented guitar solo evoked the work of Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green. The enthusiastic response to his virtuosic solo on "Shut Us Down" led to a bit of uncharacteristic showboating.
A reworking of "Never Going Back Again" exposed the anguish at the core of the seemingly simple composition. "Go Your Own Way," another selection from Fleetwood Mac's 1977 blockbuster album Rumours, was the only song during which Buckingham seemed disengaged.
The lackluster version of "Go Your Own Way" aside, the concert was far from a routine exercise in nostalgic pandering. Buckingham said that he remains inspired to record and tour. He left little doubt that he's fully capable of continuing to create music of consequence, but the resolute spirit Buckingham displayed Sunday made his hasty exit seem entirely inexplicable.
His performance -- less than 75 minutes -- was scandalously short.
Cast Away Dreams, Bleed to Love Her, Not Too Late, Stephanie, Come, Shut Us Down, Go Insane, Never Going Back Again, Big Love, I'm So Afraid, Go Your Own Way, Trouble, Seeds We Sow