The complete Lindsey Buckingham concert experience from Jacksonville’s Florida Theatre
When experienced rocker Lindsey Buckingham performed at Jacksonville’s Florida Theatre as part of his “Seeds We Sow” solo tour on Monday, October 3, 2011, the former Fleetwood Mac fingerstyle lead axeman was undergoing a perhaps unintended renaissance.
One of Rolling Stone’s prestigious 100 Greatest Guitarists, the unorthodox artist first ventured out on solo terrain during the time between Fleetwood Mac’s boundary-pushing Tusk and Mirage albums. Law and Order, Buckingham’s debut long player from 1981, yielded his sole Top Ten hit to date with the No. 9 POP “Trouble.” Go Insane followed three years later, with the title cut becoming his last significant solo hit, stalling at No. 23 POP. Fans had to wait eight years before another solo album hit the marketplace. Although Out of the Cradle showcased tunes with catchy hooks — e.g. “Wrong” and “Countdown” — it sold dismally.
Success’s elusiveness led Buckingham to retreat from recording, as 14 excruciating years passed before he distributed his fourth solo record. But it was well worth the wait. Under the Skin introduced Buckingham to millennials whose proclivities hinged on well-written pop songs and maestro-worthy guitar shredding. Buckingham also supported ensuing records Gift of Screws , Seeds We Sow , and the welcome Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie collaboration  on the road during periods of Fleetwood Mac inactivity.
Buckingham last played in Jacksonville at the 15,000 seat Veterans Memorial Arena back on May 23, 2004, as part of Fleetwood Mac’s Say You Will trek. The Florida Theatre gig was the 17th show of the 39-city tour and a much more intimate experience, seating approximately 1,900 folks. In fact, the majestic theatre was built during the 1920s, and its Mediterranean Revival style architecture has placed it on the National Register of Historic Places.
Buckingham was locked and loaded for the one hour and 45 minute near-capacity gig at the Florida Theatre. Instrumental and vocal dexterity were on target during the 19-song setlist that had little room for surprises or audience requests, apparently remaining static through the final show in Tulsa, Oklahoma, almost 45 days later.
Wearing a customary black leather jacket, black T-shirt, and dark blue jeans, Buckingham entered the stage alone to applause. Perhaps taking him aback, the audience collectively sang “Happy Birthday,” as this very evening — October 3 — was Buckingham’s 62nd birthday. He didn’t say anything, instead placing his palms and fingers together towards Heaven in a humble gesture.
Embracing his inner indie self, Buckingham courageously played six of the 11 songs off Seeds We Sow. For artists from the ’60s or ‘70s, that is virtually unheard of, unless you’re Bob Dylan. Although a few fans took bathroom breaks, the majority remained rooted in their seats. He also played one from 2008’s Gift of Screws, two from Under the Skin, two from Out of the Cradle, the title cut from Go Insane, and “Trouble” from his first solo record.
Buckingham’s 1984 Christmas sing-along “Holiday Road” was notably missing in action. Ditto for “Bwana,” the lead track on Law and Order. A quirky, driving, exotic African number containing intricate, out of sync backing vocals criminally hasn’t been dusted off since a fan request in 2006.
For Fleetwood Mac fans, a tinge of disappointment permeated the air as Buckingham aired only six songs from their hit-making era. Of course, three were placeholders on the quartet’s best-selling album Rumours, and the most sustained applause obviously erupted after the Fleetwood Mac material.
Buckingham performed five songs during the opening solo spot, donning a different guitar each time. He wisely placed his two biggest solo hits up top, delivering remarkably transformed, stripped back versions of “Trouble” and “Go Insane.” The latter was revelatory, as it was originally steeped in ’80s electronic drums, synthesizers, and layered background vocals.
After second number “Go Insane”, the guitarist addressed the crowd for the first time. “I thought I would start tonight much in the way I started with just voice and guitar,” said Buckingham to plentiful cheering. “Before there was a band or any kind of success, there was a young boy, a child really, listening to his older brother’s records and teaching himself to play guitar. I think one of the things I have come to value and recognize as time has gone by is that child still lives within me as it does in all of us, as it should.”
The fourth selection was “Never Going Back” [Rumours]. Somehow it retained the singer’s sexy, fragile, but simultaneously determined vocals that were originally cut over 40 years ago in seedy Los Angeles. The crowd’s approval was intoxicating.
Fleetwood Mac’s “Big Love” was up next. “It is significant to me for a few reasons,” revealed the San Francisco Bay Area alum. “The most important reason — if you look at the lyric of the song, it pretty accurately described the person I was in 1987. One of the lines is ‘looking out for love,’ but it’s not about looking for love. It’s about defending against love. With the passage of time, that description has become just an echo. So where this song perhaps once was a contemplation on alienation, it has now become more meditational — the power and the importance of change.”
As if on a dime, his restrained vocal from “Never Going Back Again” was turned on its head for “Big Love,” taken from Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night . The singer’s guttural, anguished vocal sent chills down my spine and supremely capped off the solo segment.
The band joined their leader after “Big Love.” Featuring Neale Heywood on rhythm guitar-background vocals, utility player Brett Tuggle on rhythm guitar-keyboards-bass-background vocals, and Walfredo Reyes, Jr. on drums-percussion, the group expertly handled their parts. There was no soloing or coming to the front of the stage, as it was Buckingham’s show all the way.
“All My Sorrow,” a kinda obscure Out of the Cradle album cut, was welcome, but “Wrong” — remember the immortal line “Young Mr. Rockcock, where do you belong?” — and “Countdown,” both singles and undiscovered up-tempo, catchy gems from Out of the Cradle, deserve spots in future Buckingham shows.
When “All My Sorrow” was over, the songwriter explained why he recorded Seeds We Sow. “I was not really planning on making an album…,” admitted Buckingham. “Fleetwood Mac was off the road, and surprisingly, time opened up. And I filled it. Because there was no plan, no agenda to do it, no preconception about what it could be. So it was a completely spontaneous thing. There were no really full songs — there was nothing that didn’t happen all at the same time. Because of that, the work kinda led me in a specific direction. It turned out very well. I’m very proud of it. I think it could be the best thing I’ve done.”
One of the songs that got the crowd very enthusiastic was the title track from Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 Tusk LP. While the applause died down, Buckingham prepared the audience for three new songs in a row by delivering a cleverly rehearsed “big machine” versus “small machine” speech. “I consider myself to be very fortunate in the sense I have been able to live and work in two distinctly different creative worlds.” At this precise moment a voice from the darkened theatre shouts, “Because you’re a virtuoso!” Buckingham stopped dead in his tracks — “I lost my train of thought — let’s back up to the beginning.
“On the one hand, you have what you might call the ‘big machine.’ That is Fleetwood Mac and all of the other entities that go along with that which step up to the plate making robust commerce [several concertgoers chuckle]. On the other hand, you have the ‘small machine,’ which is the solo work [unexpected loud screams of approval erupted].
“Now if you were to make the analogy to film, you might fairly say I’ve been involved with a few big films. But it is the small projects, the independent films if you will — and probably many directors would say this as well — that allow you to follow your heart and to take risks. And allow you to continue to aspire to be an artist. I feel very fortunate to have had both these things. They complement and inform each other. We are very pleased and excited to be up here doing new songs for you, songs from the ‘small machine.’”
“In Our Own Time,” the second cut on Seeds We Sow, demonstrated Buckingham’s most impressive fret handiwork. The sing-along melody of “End of Time” wouldn’t be out of place on a Fleetwood Mac record. “Stars Are Crazy,” the only Seeds We Sow tune where Buckingham sat down with a co-writer — Lisa Dewey —achingly pondered forbidden love and was emblazoned by the 62-year-old’s commendable high register on the soaring chorus and intricate finger-picking.
Two of Buckingham’s career songs were saved for right before the encore — “I’m So Afraid” and “Go Your Own Way.” The former, the most overtly rock performance, was chock-full of an out of this world electric solo by Buckingham.
Folks looked open-mouthed at each other — it was that good. The band was finally a cohesive beast on “I’m So Afraid.” It was detrimental to these ears that the more recent Buckingham songs didn’t feature as much improvisation from the backing crew, as the songs would have definitely benefited. On Seeds We Sow, Buckingham played virtually all of the parts, deliberately going for a non-polished, do-it-yourself aesthetic. As for “Go Your Own Way,” Buckingham went against the grain by not slotting it as the finale. Dancing and singing were widely rampant, but the night wasn’t quite over.
With good vibrations emanating, Buckingham returned in solitude to the scene of the crime and sang three obscure, ballad-based compositions — “Turn It On,” “Treason,” and “Seeds We Sow” — draining much of the room’s energy. Buckingham’s idiosyncrasy knows no limits. Things will be his way or else, and the sooner you accept it the better.
Although Seeds We Sow was the concert finale, it ironically started the album. Buckingham prefaced the guitar-powered, homegrown song by explaining, “Only when I got to the end of the album, and I looked at all the lyrics together, did I realize there was in fact a kind of thread running through many of these songs. I think the song ‘Seeds We Sow’ is about choices. The notion that good or ill exists in something as vast as the world or something as small as a single relationship is all down to the accumulation of choices that we make.
“The funny thing about choices is you can’t always tell in the moment whether those have been good or not if they are going to afford the result you would like. Sometimes it takes the perspective of time. For me, I know many creative choices I made were not popular in the moment. But as I stand here tonight with all of you, I cannot think of anywhere else I’d rather be.”
As the house lights came up, the legendary frontman stated categorically, “Jacksonville, you were an absolute pleasure to spend the evening with tonight. Thank you all for coming. We will see you next time!” [which turned out to be the Moran Theater on November 12, 2017, with co-headliner McVie].
My first and so far sole experience catching a member of Fleetwood Mac up close and in person illustrated that Buckingham is not content to sit on his laurels and revel in the Mac’s hits-filled oeuvre. Buckingham undoubtedly is an evolving artist challenging his audience’s perceptions, and he proved it in Jacksonville.
[Author’s Note: Twitter user @ellellew has attended close to 50 Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham / McVie, and solo Buckingham concerts starting on the Seeds We Sow tour. “I was at that Jacksonville birthday concert, too,” confirms the hardcore fan. “It was Lindsey’s least engaged solo show I’ve ever seen. However, even phoning it in he is fantastic live. Lindsey has a way of feeding off the audience and is usually extremely interactive live. The first part of the Florida Theatre show he was his usual self, but the second part felt like he closed in and just provided a very professional performance which was still great but that interactive vibe was missing.”
Songs from the Small Machine: Live in L.A at Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, CA / 2011 is a Blu-ray / DVD / audio CD documenting an April 22 standalone gig five months before the “Seeds We Sow” trek officially launched. Nevertheless, the setlist is identical to what patrons witnessed at the Florida Theatre. A proposed nine-date residency in the United Kingdom and Ireland in December 2011 was cancelled when Haywood suffered a back injury. Buckingham has never mounted any solo dates in the UK. Fleetwood Mac did play a month-long stand in the region beginning in June 2015.
The idiosyncratic rocker contributed three songs to This Is 40, the Judd Apatow-supervised comedy soundtrack. Between May and November 2012 Buckingham triumphantly reimagined his solo presentation by ditching the band and being receptive to requests and setlist tweaks for a truly “One Man Show” which counted 77 dates and saw an exclusive iTunes album emerge. Lucrative Fleetwood Mac tours supporting their Extended Play four-track EP occupied 2013–2015, made all the more memorable when keyboardist Christine McVie shockingly returned to the group after a 15-year sabbatical. McVie and Buckingham distributed their critically acclaimed, Billboard Top 20 studio collaboration and hit the road later in 2017. Fleetwood Mac will tackle a purported farewell tour beginning sometime in 2018. Buckingham was a shoe-in to participate until a shocking, official band announcement tore up social media on April 9 stating that he had been canned and replaced by both Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers lead axeman Mike Campbell and Crowded House frontman Neil Finn].
Lindsey Buckingham shatters silence over Fleetwood Mac ousting
Thirty-seven days after a since-deleted tweet by late ’80s Fleetwood Mac guitarist Billy Burnette ironically divulged…
Setlist: Lindsey Buckingham in Concert, October 3, 2011, Florida Theatre, Jacksonville, Florida
- “Shut Us Down” [Under the Skin, 2006]
- “Go Insane” [No. 23 POP, No. 4 Mainstream Rock, title cut of Go Insane, 1984]
- “Trouble” [No. 9 POP, No. 12 Mainstream Rock, No. 31 UK, Law and Order, 1981]
- “Never Going Back Again” [B-side of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop;” on Rumours, 1977]
- “Big Love” [No. 5 POP, No. 2 Mainstream Rock, No. 9 UK, Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night, 1987]
- “Under the Skin” [title cut of Under the Skin, 2006]
- “All My Sorrows” [Out of the Cradle, 1992]
- “In Our Own Time” [A-side, Seeds We Sow, 2011]
- “Illumination” [Seeds We Sow, 2011]
- “Second Hand News” [on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, 1977]
- “Tusk” [No. 8 POP, No. 6 UK, title cut of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, 1979]
- “Stars Are Crazy” [Seeds We Sow, 2011]
- “End of Time” [A-side, Seeds We Sow, 2011]
- “That’s the Way Love Goes” [Seeds We Sow, 2011]
- “I’m So Afraid” [B-side of Fleetwood Mac’s “Over My Head;” on eponymous Fleetwood Mac, 1975]
- “Go Your Own Way” [No. 10 POP, No. 45 Adult Contemporary, No. 38 UK, on Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, 1977]
- “Turn It On” [Out of the Cradle, 1992]
- “Treason” [Gift of Screws, 2008]
- “Seeds We Sow” [A-side, title cut of Seeds We Sow, 2011]
Rock ’n’ roll rewind: The Black Crowes sing from the soul on ‘Late Show with David Letterman’
Get the scoop on the Black Crowes’ solid, rockin’ rendition of “Soul Singing” with TV’s David Letterman plus extensive…
Settin’ my watch back to ‘Tulsa Time;’ Inside the dobro-powered Don Williams career record
Read about Eric Clapton’s admiration for Gentle Giant Don Williams exemplified by a bluesy, mid-tempo “Tulsa Time” and…
Surf’s up on Al Jardine’s bombshell ‘SMiLE’ revelation
Arguably the greatest lost pop masterpiece of all time, check out a detailed guide to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys’…
The Memphis Boys triumphantly declare hit-filled legacy during Elvis Week
Get the lowdown on the Memphis Boys’ final hometown show. The American Sound Studio gang played on 120 hits such as…
Full circle with the founding frontman of trendsetting country rockers the Dillards
Rodney Dillard explores mid-’60s Los Angeles music, Bob Dylan, Beatles, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and his former band…
‘Not Just Another Pretty Foot:’ Blowing the lid off Jim Stafford’s mid-’70s MGM tenure
Novelty pop artist Jim Stafford exclusively looks back on writing with the Bellamy Brothers, the big break that Lobo…
The house was definitely rockin’ — On stage with Wynonna Judd
For folks who have debated going to a country pop show by Wynonna Judd of “No One Else on Earth” fame, look no further…
Cyndi Thomson revisits her perfect sanctuary with rare Tifton benefit performance
If you wonder whatever happened to sultry “What I Really Meant to Say” country balladeer Cyndi Thomson, read this…
The day renegade country icon David Allan Coe rolled into South Georgia
David Allan Coe has been tearing up the asphalt for over 50 years. Check out a detailed concert review with exclusive…
Joe Butler and Steve Boone look back on an amazing Lovin’ Spoonful legacy
Two original Lovin’ Spoonful members dish about earning their stripes in clubs, the pitfalls of one-nighters, playing…
Sam Nelson unleashes ‘Pop Songs — Tribute to Rick Nelson’ nine-song EP
On the 30th anniversary of Rick Nelson’s shocking death, youngest child Sam Nelson unleashed a lovingly crafted…
Tell it all brother: Why you should dig the groovy music of Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
Learn all about the First Edition, a rock band fronted by Kenny Rogers before he drifted into “Islands in the Stream”…
One hit wonder flashback: The timeless allure of Smith’s ‘Baby It’s You’ cover
“Baby It’s You” has been covered by everyone from the Shirelles to the Beatles, but none more passionately than Gayle…
Raiders frontman Mark Lindsay divulges debut songwriting collaboration with Beach Boy Brian Wilson
Mark Lindsay, frontman for Paul Revere and the Raiders, reflects on his newfound friendship and songwriting with Beach…
Like heat from a blast furnace: The sheer raw force of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson
Late drummer, songwriter and “Pacific Ocean Blue” singer Dennis Wilson is recalled in a warts and all account by four…
Gauging Elvis Presley’s Shakespearean destiny from an outsider’s perspective
Definitive Steve McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill has also chronicled Elvis Presley insiders Sonny West, Barbara…
Just myself and a guitar: Funny shenanigans with ‘Spiders and Snakes’ song architect Jim Stafford
Mid-’70s “Swamp Witch” singer-guitarist Jim Stafford holds nothing back in a thorough interview covering a star-studded…
Classic rock flashback: The Who invade the Super Bowl XLIV halftime show
Featuring Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, journey through the Who’s terrific 2010 Super Bowl XLIV halftime show with…
Whenever you’re ready to come face to face with the Zombies
The most influential ’60s pop-psychedelic band that you’ve probably only heard fleetingly, see why the Zombies’…
Ultimate road warriors Wishbone Ash mount 'XLIX' European trek
Legendary British prog rockers Wishbone Ash are closing in on their 50th anniversary with a European and Canadian jaunt…
© Jeremy Roberts, 2011, 2018. All rights reserved. To touch base, email firstname.lastname@example.org and mention which story led you my way. I appreciate it sincerely.