I felt like crying.
Then my wifes, Sandy, came back home from some errands and I revealed my handiwork. Then she felt like crying.
So, a few days later, when we didn't feel like doing anything at all but laying on the couch and watching a movie...ANY movie, but we had already made arrangements with Sandy's parents to take our daughter for the weekend so we could go to Summerfest (the WORLD'S biggest music festival right here in lil ole Milwaukee!) and see Lindsey Buckingham in concert, we really kind of had to force ourselves to go. I knew we'd regret it if we didn't make the effort.
So we went. Got there 2 hours early to grab a bite to eat, a couple/few beers, and get good seats. It's first come first serve at most of the Summerfest stages and a dozen bands share each stage every day. So the band before Lindsey Buckingham was some cover band that was pretty decent but wasn't any major national act of any kind. Good deal for us cuz this meant the crowd was full (they always are no matter who's playing) but not "packed" full. This meant yours truly got us right up front in the second row!!! And we only had an hour and a half to wait. Sweet!
Let me tell you something. Lindsey Buckingham is a NATIONAL TREASURE! He is, by far, one of the most underappreciated talents of any kind to walk this earth. He held the crowd in the palm of his hand from the first song through the 2 hour set and up until the final solo finale. He's a genius and he has stones! Who else would come out all alone and start with a mellow tune from his newest solo album, UNDER THE SKIN (Genius BTW!), proceed to play the next 2 tunes solo and then finally bring out the rest of the band. He mixed old Fleetwood Mac songs in with solo stuff and new stuff, twisting and turning through these songs, mixing them up and making the old sound new again by giving them all a new little patented "Buckingham" twist! There were many highlights in this show and absolutely NO lowlights, but the most amazing moment for me was during the song, "I'm So Afraid", which is a fantastic song as it is, but Lindsey did a guitar part (not a solo) that lasted about 5 minutes and crescendoed and crescendoed to the point of sheer impossibility and I swear...I SWEAR TO GOD!...I fully expected––as I saw him there 10 feet in front of me with the spotlight silhouetting his body––to see his already fire-like flow of hair actually start smoldering and come ablaze with fire as he raised up into the heavens, all the while still wailing the hell away on that beautiful guitar! I ain't kiddin' either. He was the closest thing to a living God I've ever seen just then.
There are few moments when an outside force can actually cause you to involuntarily lose control of your senses without any actual tactile contact. This was one of those moments as I fully lost it and just started laughing with pure unadulterated joy and disbelief (softly of course) as I turned to those around me to see if they were being affected as I was. The guy right behind me was and we had "a moment" together where we just nodded wide-eyed each knowing the other was being equally and completely enthralled.
So, thank you, Lindsey Buckingham, for sharing your beautiful music with us. You made life very wonderful for those 2 hours and reminded me that it's not too bad after all. If there's someone like you out there doing magic like you're doing there truly is religion in this world.
Now to play "poor man's pychiatrist" for a second. Lindsey Buckingham is one deep, weird and sometimes dark genius. He has, through his music, bared his soul for his audience in so many different ways with such openness and honesty. I relate to him. I see in him an artist who can't sit still, just relax and watch a movie, or "turn the brain off" for even a few seconds. I think he's always "working" his brain constantly wondering, tormenting, doubting...I might be wrong but I get the feeling he's only entirely comfortable with himself––whole as a person––when he's up there on stage wailing away on that guitar and singing with an intensity I've NEVER seen anyone sing with before. And I think that's what makes him as great as he is. He never stops.
Fitting that his last song, played solo again, was "Shut Us Down" off of his new album. An album which fully expresses some of the aforementioned doubt he's felt over the years. In "Shut Us Down" he sings, "...Oh I won't shut us down, No I will stay around, As long as I can....As long as I can...As long as I can...As long as I can..."
God I hope that's a long, long time, indeed.