Time, Where Did You Go?: Lindsey Buckingham 29 Years Later
For college students, it is both a blessing and a curse that they have an unripe imagination for reasons not to do something. 29 years ago, a friend and I took a midweek break from our first year at UVa to drive from Charlottesville to Washington, DC for a Lindsey Buckingham show. The next night, we drove to New York City for a Lindsey Buckingham show. Back-to-back concerts hundreds of miles away. Missed classes. All for the same show.
This adventure lurked on my mind tonight when, for the first time since then, I attended a Lindsey Buckingham show, this time right here in Charlottesville. Back in 1993, from the perspective of an eighteen year old, Buckingham — or “Lindsey” as my friends and I would call him — seemed ancient. I didn’t know Lindsey’s exact age at the time (he was 43), but I remember thinking it was like a retirement tour for him. He was “old.” Like the Rolling Stones. And my Dad.
The span of three decades between concerts, and the realization that I am older now than Lindsey was then, had me pondering questions that haunt us as we age. Where had the time gone? What had I done with it? What had I learned?
Even if I could have seen the future, the specifics of my life today would have seemed foreign to that eighteen year old boy. I had not yet met my wife, nor many of the people I now consider close friends. I had never heard of any of the businesses that would one day employ me. And, the world wide web barely existed, let alone this website, and, in any event, I surely could not name 29 Charlottesville restaurants.
One of the few common threads between my life then and now is Charlottesville. Even that thread is thin, though, as, after growing up in Connecticut, I barely saw the city during college. The only time I would venture from UVa my first year would be to go to Trax on Tuesday nights because that’s the day people would ask: “Are you going to Dave?”. I had no idea the city where I had just begun college would become my forever home.
Then there was my traveling companion tonight. Twelve years old, a child of my marriage. Along with his sister and mother, he is the world to me. And yet, born sixteen years after that first Lindsey show, my son is now approaching the age I was then. What would his next 29 years bring? Will I be around to find out?
It seems I was not the only one at tonight’s show ruminating about the passage of time. In interviews about his tour, Lindsey has said there is not much meaning behind his setlist. But, his song choices sure suggest some common themes at this stage of his life.
In the opener Not Too Late, Lindsey lamented:
I’m not a young man but I’m a child in my soul
I feel there’s room for a man who is whole
And there’s a need for songs that are sung
For chances not taken, for deeds not yet done
What am I doing anyway
Telling myself it’s not too late
He then wound through nineteen songs, drawing from both his solo career and tenure with Fleetwood Mac, showing no effects of emergency heart surgery that threatened his career just three years ago. Two standouts – Soul Drifter and Doing What I Can – came from Out of the Cradle, his 1992 album that was then the soundtrack of my life. And the rest were a reminder of how much his music has meant to my three decades of living since. It is deeply meaningful to Lindsey when his music appeals across generations, and so he might be thrilled to learn how much my son enjoyed the show.
His songs displayed how Lindsey has evolved with time, and how he, like me, is wrestling with its passage. Lindsey is known for being nakedly personal in his song-writing, sometimes even to the chagrin of his subjects. Much of the music from the early days of Fleetwood Mac evoked the emotional turmoil of the band members’ relationships. And while one of the songs he performed from his new self-titled album was overtly about those relationships – On the Wrong Side – the rest of his new material signaled that he has moved on, drawing on both the wisdom and sorrow of aging.
Compared to kiss-off classics of his twenties like Go Your Own Way and Second Hand News (“I ain’t gonna miss you when you go”), his new song I Don’t Mind took a more mature perspective on the work of relationships. “Over time, two people inevitably find the need to augment their initial dynamic with one of flexibility, an acceptance of each others’ flaws, and a willingness to continually work on issues,” said Lindsey of the song. “It is the essence of a good long-term relationship.”
And then, as if to remove any doubt about what’s weighing on Lindsey, came the encore – the only cover of the night, and the song he has chosen to close every show on his tour. “In recent years, this song has taken on a bit more of a visceral kind of feel,” Lindsey introduced it. Pozo-Seco Singers’ Time:
Some people never get
Some never give
Some people never die
And some never live
. . .
Time, oh time
Where do you go?
Time, oh good, good time
Where did you go?