Rock icon Lindsey Buckingham performed at the Carolina Theatre in Durham, NC this past saturday as part of his 2011 Seeds We Sow tour. I have to admit that I wasn’t all that excited before the show since I learned that the setlist didn’t feature some of my personal favorites from “Gift of Screws” and “Out of the Cradle”. But whatever issues I had with the setlist quickly went out the window once the man took the stage. I didn’t realize what a powerful performer Buckingham is. Yes, the guy is a virtuoso on guitar but his dynamic vocal abilities really brought the house down. It was amazing to see and hear how he fully commits to songs like “Go Insane”, “Never Going Back Again” or “Big Love”. Buckingham put so much passion and emotion into those performances, you ended up wondering if the guy was gonna literally pass out on stage. How the hell he could give 110% like that, over and over again at every show is beyond me. Big props to Buckingham because I consider that a rare talent these days.
After doing the first five songs solo, Buckingham brought out the rest of the band – Brett Tuggle, Neale Heywood and Walfredo Reyes. the guys did a fantastic job recreating the new songs on stage. In fact, some of these versions are even better than their recorded counterpart. “Stars are Crazy” and “Illumination” are two that come to mind. I also noticed that Reyes was playing a Roland electronic drum kit. I’m guessing that it was Buckingham’s decision to use electronic drums but whatever the case may be, I personally missed the hard “thwack” of a real snare on rockers like “I’m So Afraid” and “Go Your Own Way”. oh well, I guess that’s just me.
Buckingham shared a few stories in between numbers which was a nice touch. From all the years of performing live, Buckingham seems to be very at ease on stage. The way he spoke to the crowd was very natural and didn’t seemed forced. He definitely made a connection with the audience which for some other performers is a hard thing to do (i.e. Eric Clapton). As for the newly renovated Carolina Theatre – I love seeing shows in this venue. It’s a very intimate setting with not a bad seat in the house. Oh, and with the parking deck right across the street, getting in and out of the place is never a problem. plus the folks at the theatre are always polite and friendly. a big thumbs up to the Carolina Theatre and I wish the venue much success with the upcoming lineup of shows. as a matter of fact, I’ll be coming back for the Todd Rundgren/Utopia show next month!
I do have to mention a weird thing that happened with the sound toward the end of the concert. I’m not sure if the sound team were simply testing out the limits of the new sound system or what but the overall volume got extremely loud (which resulted in a muddy, almost distorted mix) for the last few songs. It was pretty noticeable since the sound mix was pretty much perfect up until that point. highlights of the evening included: “Stars Are Crazy” (way better than the recorded version), “Big Love” (yes, he’s played this version for years but it always packs a big whallop!), “Illumination”, “Trouble” (love the acoustic rendition), “I’m So Afraid” (love the long drawn out guitar solo).