Harrogate concert – fan reviews

Name: Annie
Show: Nidd Hall, Harrogate
Review: To write a review of Dons concert at Nidd has provoked so many emotions it’s hard to know where to start.
The anticipation of knowing that I’m am going to see Don is almost too hard to bear I can’t sleep can’t eat for the excitement it’s a lovely feeling.

The day dawned wet and miserable for my friend and I to travel over 150 miles to see Don [wow it was worth it].It continued to rain incessantly all day and Don commented on our british weather, but nothing can dampen my spirits where Don is involved. Don thanked his british fans for their unconditional support over the years which was lovely to hear so thanks Don. I had looked forward to the venue as it is small and whilst I was lucky enough to have a front row seat and be about 20 foot from Don.

The less said about the stage,lighting and the general handling of this brilliant man the better, it makes me sad,Nidd Hall did not deserve Don .

I am always on a huge emotional high when I see Don as soon as he comes on stage I ‘m hooked and it stays with me for along time after. For the Fashion Victims out there yes he did sing it he was wearing black boots black trousers and a fabulous blue shirt edged with silver which took me back to thefirst timeI saw Don in 73,any way he looked wonderful. I couldn’t possibly list all he sang but we had two havles which were about 2 hours in total. Death by Photography a new song was most poignant.Empty Chairs reduced me to tears as it was Don on his own Crossraods as always was fantasic with just Tony and Don.Wish I could have Tony playing the piano in my house.Dons voice continues to reach depths of me no other singer does and I know never will.

Don showed so much pleasure in performing with his band they compliment him well and obviously have alot fun working together,singing Living on Tulsa Time, Supermans Ghost, Bronco Bills Lametn and many Buddy songs which Don always shows pleasure in playing.Don joked withhis band about putting on costumes as apparently back stage consisted of rails of costumes and not alot else.

When he sang You’re my little darlin he glowed with pride so thanks Don for sharing your joy and contentment about being a father.I’m only sorry that I’ve never been able to see Don perform with his children but I love the new CD.

American Pie had us on our feet as always and we sang our hearts out but as Don went off the entertainments manager was on the floor thanking Don and talking about the dancing that was about to start yuk and the magic was lost no encore where did that entertaiments guy come from? all the band seemed confused and then Kery Marx stepped forward and took my red rose [something I’ve always taken for Don] to give Don and said to me he’d make sure he got it so thanks Kery for being so kind, so a very abrupt end ruined by the hotel.

Alot of people waited to see Don as we has been told he would be out to greet fans sign .We waited with excitement and anticipation to be suddenly told over the pa system that Don was unwell and would not be out to meet us.I was just so disappointed but hoped Don was not too unwell to complete the tour.

Afterwards a gentleman approached my friend and I asking if one of us was Annie from North Wales well that was me.The gentleman turned out to be Neil Wyatt another of Dons fans who I have met only on Dons web site.With Neil we went to one of the lounges and Neil serenaded us with some of Dons songs and his own .I have never been serenaded before personally like that and it was beautiful.Two other fanatic fans of Dons also came in whilst Neil sang and we had a great time talking about Don, I’m sorry that I can’t remeber their names but they will know who they are. As always though I think I have to say despite the events that Don had no control over,the band were brilliant and Don you were pure magic so thank you so so much for coming and I hope the rest of the tour is brilliant.
Name: Wayne Denton
Show: Nidd Hall, Harrogate
Review: A truly superb concert by Don topped by the fact that he very kindly met with me before the show to sign my Don McLean American Pie Guitar.( He played it a little and seemed very proud to have been involved with the designing of the guitar. When asked to sign it he at first refused as he said there is no way he could deface such a beautiful guitar in any way. After much persuasion he did however sign for me near the machine heads on the back at the top of the neck!!!) He was also kind enough to have photographs of me with him holding my guitar. He also gave me a well used signed Don Mclean plectrum which he had obviously used in previous concerts. I also had a good long chat with Dons band and what agreat bunch of lads they seemed. Cheers Don and good luck with the rest of the tour....A fellow Artist.. WD

Name: Neil Wyatt
Show: Harrogate
This is about the smallest venue I have ever seen Don perform in over the past 25 years. The venue is a splendid luxury hotel, set in beautiful grounds, just a shame it was such a wet day.

To watch the show you either had to be a resident or have dinner. Living little more than an hours drive from the venue, dinner seemed the best option, so table for one at 8.30pm it was.

I arrived at about 8.15pm and made my way to the restaurant, in a lovely room looking out to the gardens just before the  restaurant. My understanding was that the performance, which was held in the Pavilion Bar, a fair way from the restaurant wasnt to start until 10pm, so the fact that my meal did not arrive until 9pm I thought was not a problem. At about 9.40pm I made my way to the concert area only to find Don finishing Crying and with that the first half of his performance!

I asked at the bar what time the performance started, to be told nine O clock!

Missing the first part of Dons performance, I lost the heart to note all of Dons remaining songs for the evening, Id missed the first half so it was just a case enjoying what was left and that I did.

While Don may not have been in as strong a voice as he was in the opening Derby concert, his vocals were still in good form and gave an excellent second half, that much I can testify to.

The second half started with a country type song Im not certain I have heard before and then went into a couple of songs backed only by Tony on his Roland keyboard. There was no room for even a Baby Grand Piano on this stage, but Tony got the sound as near as dam it for my tone-deaf ears. These two songs then, were the old Ray Noble song; The very thought of you followed by Cross Roads.  Both of these songs were performed superbly with lots of feeling. Like at Derby, Don performed a Solo Empty Chairs which I
m certain those who followed Dons shows in the Solo (Pre 1980) days would appreciate. With reference to this song, Don spoke about his invitation to perform on a Garth Brooks show, who is also a big Don fan, we gather.

Don did more talking than usual in my experience of his shows on this occasion, though Im always happy to hear what he has to say. Like Derby, Don said that his career in the US was very good at this time but that he was grateful for the support he has always had in the UK. On the subject of the recent troubles in the Gulf, Don was asked if he was going to crap out and cancel but said he was just going to keep going. Remember, Don played in Dublin and Belfast 31st October/1st November 2001.

Don mentioned his childrens album and sang a song he wrote when his daughter was small, sorry I cant remember the tittle but it was followed by Wonderful Baby.

Back to the talk; Don said there was snow back home in Maine until about a month ago when it then just kept on raining, so he came over here & guess what! More rain! Until he met his Wife 17 years ago Dons excuse to go on tours was to sh*g babes, though Im sure he didnt really mean that. Anyway, the punch line was that the only reason he takes babes phone numbers now is to ask them
to baby sit.

Don asked for a beer while on stage and I think he was given two or three. Among the songs that followed, these included Fashion Victim (Dark trousers, black long sleeves shirt with green shapes on the collar and a silver line over the two breast pockets, sorry, again I missed the foot ware). There was a song about Princess Diana; it might have been called Run Diana ? Anyway, the song was about photographers intruding into celebritys lives. There was a slow song which I think was called Will you remember. Another brilliant version of Castles in the Air went down well with the audience, which I would put at a near capacity, give or take about 250.

Don finished on American Pie, which brought people previously content to stand at the bar behind me, down to watch and even wiggle their bodies about. As is usual these days, Don repeated the Chorus and first verse. A funny thing happened during the last throws of Pie: A man walked up to the stage to shake Dons hand, ever heard of a one handed guitarist? Anyway a standing ovation said to me that the audience were satisfied and all that remained was for Don to come out and sign the programs and Starry Starry
Night CDs that were on sale. About 15 minutes later the MC announced that Don had been taken ill and would therefore not be available to put his signature to the merchandise to the great disappointment of those remaining, self included. Though to
be fair, I was lucky enough to meet Don in Derby as well as at other times in the past.

I summary, in a second half which lasted an hour I enjoyed the show very much. Thankfully the volume picked up or at least seemed to in the last 30 minutes, before that the noise from the bar was in conflict with the performance from where I was seated, by the same token, I sincerely hope that the beer was not in conflict with Dons health.

The band were superb as always and of course a pleasure to listen too. Following the announcement that Don would not be signing anything I quickly found Annie from North Wales both with her friend who Id never met before the day and we had a nice little chat. We went to the quiet room where I had seen Don earlier, and following a few photos I played a few songs with the baby guitar I brought with me and that was about it. For the record, Annie told me that Don did play And I Love You So in the first session but on this occasion there was no Vincent. Just perhaps, as so often is the case, Don had meant to save this for an encore but never
quite made it; just a thought.

Name: Jackie Mathews
Show: Nidd Hall
Enjoyed Nidd Hall’s Premier Starbreak starring Don McLean more than any other. An honour to see a legend perform live and I was lucky enough to get front row seats.

Name: Anne Leslie
Show: Nidd Hall, Harrogate
What a pleasurable evening. This was my fifth Don McLean concert and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Don accomponaied by his excellent musicians. A good mix of songs that I knew, including Wonderful Baby (mmy favourite), Empty Chairs, Crossroads, Winterwood, Bronco Bills Lament, Everyday, Crying. And I Love You So, American Pie. However Where was Vincent (sob…).? LOved listening to Don talk about his songs and experiences with Garth Brooks, his luddite views on the Internet, but his success in retrieiving americanpie.com from a Internet pirate! Wonderful Baby is now advertising a French gasoline company (lol). Hilarious when Donasked for a beer resulting in a succession of drinks being deposited on stage. Less funny the people moving towards the stage as Don sang. His guitarist mpved forward just in case. Suspect a guitar is an effective weapon. I’m not this venue is best for Don. I was shocked at him eing introduced as the cabaret act and know Don would hate this. This is a very famous and popular  star and deserves a proper venue in one of the locasl towns/cities. Not the  venue for Claire Sweeney, Jim Davidson and Bob Monkshouse et al… Apalled that hotel announcer spoke over the top of the American Pie ovation. Maybe the reason for no encore. For no Vincent (sob sob). The audueince though very full were sometimes verring towards silence. Prompting Don to ask if we were dead or breathing! Very funny but I think a point was being made. Sensibly no trademark singalong. No This Little Light. I yearn to see Don again on this tour.

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