McKINNEY -- All too often, when an artist familiar from a band context puts on a one-man (or -woman) show, it's a pleasant but ordinary experience: The songs done more quietly, probably acoustically, but not changed all that much from their original incarnation.
Lindsey Buckingham is too much of a risk-taker for that, and in a relatively brief but exhilarating concert Thursday at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, Buckingham -- accompanied solely by his raft of guitars and a few effects -- turned the whole idea of "quiet one-man show" on its head.
During the 80-minute or so set, which featured a mix of solo work and Fleetwood Mac songs, Buckingham performed with such intensity that you sometimes had to wonder why he didn't pass out. The closing guitar solo on the latter-day Fleetwood Mac song Come was brain-frying in the best way, and when he hit the solo at the end of I'm So Afraid, the oldest song in the concert, it was like he was having an out of body experience as he closed his eyes and went for gushers of feedback, climaxing by striking the fretboard several times as if he couldn't control himself anymore.
Both songs received whooping standing ovations from the crowd in the McKinney Performing Arts Center -- an old courthouse that's been transformed into an intimate concert venue. And as good as later songs like the reflective Not Too Late and Seeds We Sow are, what was really striking was how much emotion Buckingham could bring to So Afraid or Never Going Back Again, both written more than 35 years ago.
Other older songs stood out: Go Insane, performed in a slower version than the poppy 1984 original, was almost malevolent, while Go Your Own Way was raw enough to border on punk, except that most punk songs don't have lengthy and elaborate finger-picked solos.
Buckingham's guitar playing -- the finger-picking that he's known for, but also the strumming like a possessed flamenco musician and the explosive solos -- was the show's highlight, but his singing didn't take a back seat; he tore into the vocals of his songs with such verve, it was often surprising that he had the strength left to do the next number. When he told anecdotes about some of the songs and about the synergy between "The Big Machine and The Small Machine" -- Fleetwood Mac and his solo work, with this being as solo as he's ever gotten -- he often seemed to be catching his breath, and then he'd launch into the next number as if it were the first one of the night.
More than five years ago, Buckingham played Fort Worth's Bass Hall with a band, and it was one of the best shows I'd ever seen there; I had my doubts that the one-man show could top it, but they were erased pretty quickly on Thursday, and within a few songs, they were obliterated. Buckingham has been on a Texas swing that includes a stop Friday night at Fort Worth's Cendera Center; the McKinney concert indicates that there are great things in store for people who go to the Fort Worth show.