Songs From The Small Machine (DVD)

Lindsey Buckingham

Eagle Vision & Mind Kit Records, 2011

http://lindseybuckingham.com

REVIEW BY: Ken DiTomaso

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/22/2012

I won’t beat around the bush here; Lindsey Buckingham has always been my favorite member of Fleetwood Mac by quite a large margin. He is just one of those guys who can do it all. As a songwriter and producer he’s top-notch, and as a player and performer he knocks it out of the park on a regular basis. The passion he has for music is immediately apparent. If you’ve seen any of Fleetwood Mac’s concert videos (or have been lucky enough to see them live in their heyday) you know this already. I was able to see one of his solo concerts several years ago when he was touring in support of 2006’s Under The Skin, and it was a wonderful show.

 

At this point Buckingham has released as many solo album as he has albums with Fleetwood Mac (six of each), and has carved out a nice niche for himself as a solo artist distinct from the Mac. On his solo albums Lindsey often tends to perform the majority (if not all) of the instruments himself, likewise a healthy portion of this concert performance is given over to solo performances, which also make up the majority of the show’s highlights.

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From the openiong solo acoustic “Shut Us Down,” it’s obvious we’re in for a night of passionate singing and delicate guitar playing. Following it up with acoustic arrangements of his biggest solo hits (“Go Insane” and “Trouble”) and two of his most famous Fleetwood Mac songs (“Big Love” and “Never Going Back Again”) gets things off to a great start. During these songs, and to a lesser extent throughout the whole DVD, there are numerous close-up shots of Lindsey’s guitar playing, which should appeal to anybody guitar players trying to figure out him songs for themselves. A back-up band appears for over half of the songs in the set and while they’re certainly all capable musicians, they never really elevate the material they’re playing in the way that Lindsey is able to all on his own.

 

When I saw him live six years ago he didn’t play a single song from his 1992 record Out Of The Cradle. This time around the album that gets the shortest straw is 2008’s Gift Of Screws which is represented only by “Treason.” A pity, since I feel that was his strongest solo album in recent years. On the other hand, he performs over half of his newest album Seeds We Sow, so if you’re a fan of that album, this might be is the DVD for you.

 

There is only one bonus feature on this DVD, but it’s fairly extensive. Lindsey talks in an interview about his musical growth and the difference between Fleetwood Mac and his solo projects, and offers some in-depth looks into the Seeds We Sow album. I found it very enlightening.

 

The video is very well shot and all, but Buckingham has given more fiery performances in the past (see Mac’s The Dance and Mirage concert videos for proof) and the setlist isn’t as diverse as it perhaps could have been. The backing band is as professional as can be but lacks a lot of individual character. I would have preferred an all-acoustic show to be honest, since those parts were by far the highlights of this DVD.

 

So, I mildly recommend Songs From the Small Machine. It’s a concert film that will appeal more to longtime Buckingham fans than casual Fleetwood Mac fans—not a bad release by any means, just a minor one. Regardless, I highly recommend seeing any of Buckingham’s live shows if he ever rolls through your town.

Rating: B-

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© 2012 Ken DiTomaso and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Eagle Vision & Mind Kit Records, and is used for informational purposes only.