Eagle Rock Entertainment // 2011 // 125 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Jim Thomas // November 16th, 2011
"When you become successful on the level that Fleetwood Mac did, it gives you financial freedom, which should allow you to follow your impulses. But oddly enough, they become much harder to follow." -- Lindsay Buckingham
Lindsey Buckingham helped drive Fleetwood Mac to superstardom before pursuing a solo career. His most recent solo album, Seeds We Sow, was released in September 2011; however, he had already been performing many of the songs already. In April 2011, he played at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills; Eagle Rock was there, and so we now have Lindsey Buckingham: Songs from the Small Machine (Blu-ray).
* "Shut Us Down"
* "Go Insane"
* "Never Going Back Again"
* "Big Love"
* "Under the Skin"
* "All My Sorrows"
* "In Our Own Time"
* "Second Hand News"
* "Stars Are Crazy"
* "End of Time"
* "That's the Way Love Goes"
* "I'm So Afraid"
* "Go Your Own Way"
* "Turn It On"
* "Seeds We Sow"
In concert and in the included interview, Lindsey Buckingham appears to have a wonderful perspective on working with Fleetwood Mac versus doing solo work. Fleetwood Mac, the "Big Machine," the more consumer-driven endeavor, is fun, but more importantly, it has given him the freedom to do whatever he wants on his solo works -- the small machine.
Rolling Stone once called Buckingham rock music's most underappreciated composer; Songs From the Small Machine gives you a glimpse of why that just might be true. His music has a carefully controlled rawness, both his solo material as well as his work with Fleetwood Mac (which is well represented on the playlist). Damn, but the man can play a guitar. The Seeds We Sow album is essentially about the choices we make -- Buckingham talks about karmic debt in the interview -- and tracks are, in turn, wistful, playful, or tinged with regret. Buckingham's strength as an artist is that he can do these things without becoming maudlin or descending into melodramatic melancholia. The result is a surprisingly intimate concert; the first four songs feature Buckingham, alone on stage, and he just sucks you in. The concert's tone is considerably lightened by some classic Fleetwood Mac tracks, including "Second Hand News," "Tusk," and an all-out "Go Your Own Way" that has the audience dancing in the aisle. It's a solid concert from a rock legend who refuses to rest on his laurels.
Buckingham is supported by a three-piece band that plays together like a well-oiled (small) machine. The rhythms and harmonies are tight, providing Buckingham with a solid sonic backdrop to work against. It's all captured beautifully. Eagle Rock's ability to generate amazing audio tracks from weak sources is near-legendary. Give them state-of-the-art recording techniques, and about all one can say is Oh, my!. The dynamic levels range from the highs of "Tusk" (in which the band is supported by backing tracks of the USC Trojan Marching Band) to several simply ridiculous bars at the end of "Shut Us Down" where Buckingham's fingers dance across the strings so lightly that a pin drop would have overwhelmed the music. If nothing else, the disc captures Buckingham's guitar artistry for posterity. While there are two surround tracks, the rear channels are pretty much an afterthought; however, it's not as though there's anyone playing at the rear of the theater.
Video is crisp and clear; it's not perfect, but if your screen is big enough you just might be able to convince yourself that you're in the audience, or even on stage. At times the lighting is at odds with the camerawork, resulting in some harsh contrasts, but that's not a fault of the video itself. In fact, the video captures these moments in all their unholy glory, without any of the blurring or flaring that sometimes occurs. There are also some stunning close-ups of Buckingham's fingers on his guitar (an extra on the technical side of recording this concert would be fascinating, particularly if you're a tech crew geek). The only extra is a new 30-minute interview with Buckingham. The first half or so discusses his history with Fleetwood Mac. It's interesting, but there are no revelations; his discussion of the new album is engaging, though.
It's an enjoyable concert, though the introspective nature of much of the playlist might be a hindrance for some. It's a must-own for fans of Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac.
The court finds Eagle Rock not guilty. In addition, the court thanks them for bringing the entire concert to blu-ray, and not just excerpts.
Review content copyright © 2011 Jim Thomas; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround (English)
* PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Wikipedia: Lindsey Buckingham