Lean, wry, and purposeful, Lindsey Buckingham couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than a guitar hero. At the Gusman Center last night, he not only plucked and strummed the hell out of a formidable six- and twelve-string arsenal, he also looked like a guitar and sang like a guitar. Rumours‘ “Never Going Back Again” and the spartan rearrangement of “Big Love” with which we’ve grown familiar since 1997′s The Dance boasted howls, whoops, and yells that substituted for rhythm guitar fills, bass, and drums. As to the former, it was hard distinguishing Buckingham from his instrument: he has the skinniest legs in rock, atop which a torso of uncertain definition is sheathed by a leather jacket. Although we trembled for the evening when we remembered his weakness for ‘tween-song homilies – El Lay self-help banalities that he weeds out of his lyrics – he stuck to a couple of perfunctory, respectful allusions to “my former girlfriend” (tip: not the one who inspired “Go Insane”) and “The Big Machine” i.e. that other band of his. No rancidness either, just tips of the hat to a past shared by he and the audience. Watching the show I kept thinking of Richard Thompson, that other guitar hero whom one could never confuse with a singer-songwriter-strummer. While both concentrate on a hell of a lot of what Robert Christgau once called (about Thompson) the perfidy-of-women routine, Buckingham’s dizzying octave leaps and multitracked, closely miked harmonies (on record) mitigate his sourness. Sure he relies on arpeggios and played just one song from Seeds We Sew; but Buckingham’s intensity was an unexpected delight; it’s like he absorbed the character in and performance of “Not That Funny.” Let’s start a letter writing campaign begging him and Christine McVie to tour together.