Sun 08/08/04 Dublin, IRE Olympia Theatre

If you’re lucky enough to attend this show then please post a comment or review here!

9 thoughts on “Sun 08/08/04 Dublin, IRE Olympia Theatre

  1. All i can say was the experience was Very good, and want I really want to know is when is he coming back to Dublin???????
    Missing him already.

  2. Due to Don not being on in England we travelled from Manchester and stayed for the weekend to see our hero.We have seen Don everytime he has come to the UK since the first time at the Odean theatre, Manchester in 1972.The Theatre was perfect, only small and very intimate.The concert was good and as always Don and the band gave a stunning performance.Our only dissapointment was some of the content of the show.We feel that most people who go to see Don were hooked on him during the early seventies by the first few albums.The concert would have been so much better for us and we believe many others if songs like Tapestry, Three flights up , Circus song , Empty chairs(We think that is the first time he didn’t sing this song at a concert , despite it being a fantastic love song )
    If we try, 1967 (why do “masters of war” by Dylan instead of this)birthday song etc etc.We fell in love with Dons music because it is poetry put to music but we feel that many of the songs performed on Saturday night were not of this ilk.If he comes to our shores again although he did hint that it may have been the last time we will once again go to see him , hopefully he will come to Manchester for a change !We will go and hope that as a farewell he goes back to his roots and sings the songs made us lifelong fans.Despite our comments we thougt the show was very good and we are glad that we made the effort and wish him a great life .All the best to Don and the band from Mike , Tom , Carole and Julie XXXXXXXXXXX

  3. Like, it seems, many others, my family travelled to Dublin from England to catch Don in concert. It was a great show – superb band and the sound was more balanced than it had been at a couple of shows the previous year in England.

    All in all, it was another memorable Don McLean performance and no one could leave the theatre disappointed – long time fans or newbies.

    There is however a slight “but”… Other than the hit songs he must sing, the programme was devoid of 1970s material. The set list was biased towards songs by other singers (two Bob Dylan numbers, 4 Buddy Holly tunes, and others too) and none of them, excepting Crying, widely known Don McLean tracks.

    Don kept promising us more slow ballads because the audience “seemed to like them”, but we were treated instead to a medley of (in no particular order) Lotta Lovin, Jersusalem, Have you Seen Me?, A Brand New World and Supermans Ghost..!!

    And I Love You So was ruined when Don slipped into Perry Como mode for a verse or two and for no apparent reason.

    I’m being overly critical now.

    His performance of Castles in the Air was perfect. A combination of Don’s superlative song writing and a musical arrangement that is now spot on. If we’d heard another dozen or so such McLean oldies in preference to the Dylan and Holly numbers then we’d truly have gone to heaven.

    I stress, this was a fantastic show and I would never wish to see Don perform a whole concert solo again. His band are now an integral part of the Don McLean concert experience.

    Thanks to Don and his band. We hope you will all be back soon.

    George Pedder
    West Yorkshire, England

  4. Don McLean, Band & Fans in Dublin.
    Sunday 8th August 2004

    For me the day in England started off nice and sunny but on arrival in Dublin on concert day the greeting was wet and windy which incidentally is where I began my review of Don’s visit to Dublin back on 30th October 2001. That venue, The Point, I understand in Dublin is known as The Shed! . The only difference this time around was that the weather was a good deal warmer.
    Once settled the next thing to do was to catch up with one of Don’s biggest fans, Bill Hamilton.
    Meeting up with Bill and other fans, some I’ve met before and some for the first time (all really nice people of course) was at a bar called O’Brian’s, close to the Olympia Theatre, the venue for this occasion.
    A short while later with four fans off to observe the sound check, Bill & I had a couple of Guinness’s, a chat and watched the street scene along Dame Street. It wasn’t too long before Bill noticed the mini but carrying Don and the band waiting in the traffic right outside our window. The windows were slightly dark tinted but all the same I went out into the street and took a photo.
    Later that evening on the approach to the theatre a young man asked me if I was going to the concert and if I had any spare tickets so that told me that don had a sell out to his credit, reason enough to keep touring one would have thought?
    The inside of the theatre was compact and cosy with boxes, stalls & circles, quite typical of theatres popular in the British Isles at the turn of the century.

    The Concert
    It was a shame, at least from where I was seated that so many people came in late and after the performance had started, further obstructing the view already restricted by a support pillar a couple of rows in front of me.
    For the fashion buffs Don wore black shoes, black trousers and a long sleeved black shirt hanging loose. The band were the same four professional musicians (without the additional guitar) who have been supporting Don for a good while now. Tony the longest serving with a keyboard and Grand Piano, Ralph with his usual green 5 string bass & mic for backing vocals, Gerry with a Pearl drum Kit and Pat with a red wine coloured Gibson Les Paul and new for this tour; a Dobro. (Steel slide guitar)
    The opening number, yes you guessed it was Maybe Baby, the old buddy Holly song. In over twenty six years of Watching Don in concert this is only the third opening number I have witnessed, maybe it’s time to go back to Magdalene Lane or even a new number, time will tell. Don when straight into the next few songs which were When you’re down and out and especially for Bill; La La La La Love you. I think the Teletubbies would like that one! There followed a very good rendition of Crying, a UK number one hit for Don back in 1980 which received a big applause. On completion of Tulsa Time Don mentioned a book of Shakespeare poetry he had while in Florida earlier this year and came up with a rather catchy tune set to words from the book, this the fist of several new songs presented on this tour, Well done Don.
    The country style song Promises was next followed by a bit of acapella called ‘I have been a good boy’ which was a reference to Don singing the songs people want to hear at concerts. (Must be time for Birthday Song anytime now!)
    And I Love You So was performed with the usual expected perfection as was Tony’s piano playing in the following Cross Roads.
    Back to the new material (New to me seeing Don performing on stage anyway) Pat played the Dobro (Hound Dog) firstly, to what I think Don said was one of the worst Dylan songs followed by a slow Western type song but most enjoyable. Reminded me of ‘Riding on the Rocky Range, going back some. I recall a bit of yodelling to a cowboy song before continuing with the yodelling theme from the Playing Favourites album; Don sang Over the Mountains.
    Continuing the mountain theme Don went straight into The Mountains of Mourne which, like 2001 had mass audience participation and the added sound of the Dobro which almost put a country style sound to this traditional Irish song. As always the crowd enjoyed that one and a good not on which to take a break following almost an hours superb entertainment.
    The second half opened with Jerusalem which again was performed in Dublin in 2001 I remembered because ‘Fuzzy’ from Malaysia was so pleased he sang it on that occasion. I was hoping that Don might come out on his own to start the second half and do a few solo songs as he did at the end of the UK tour a year last May at Llandudno.
    The band went into rock mode with Have You Seen Me followed by one of my favourites; Superman’s Ghost. From the key of C to E minor, I thought chain lightning was coming but it turned out to be Brand New World, not the most exciting song on Don’s song list but a good guitar solo Pat.
    Back to the country style with You’re my Little Darling with Don getting in on the guitar solo act.
    Masters of War followed and one could see that Don put some emotion into this song, especially on completion as he reached into his pocket, one could sense the shake of anger which hopefully mellowed as Don sang a very pleasant Vincent next.
    A cry for Empty Chairs from the audience came to nothing as Don tuned to Drop D for Castles in the Air. I would still argue that the only percussion best suited to this song (other than solo of course) are brushes but sticks were the order of the night (again) Don was then passed a seat as he retuned with some difficulty before performing Winterwood. There then followed a medley which started with Well Alright and ended with Peggy Sue Got Married which was again very enjoyable.
    While still seated Don started American Pie rising to his feet and adjusting the Microphone before starting the chorus. Lots of hand clapping and singalong from the audience as might well be expected. As seems to be the standard in recent years’ Don went for a second helping (‘you want some more’) of the first verse, shame Madona still gets a mention.
    There must have followed a near five minute standing ovation to the chant of ‘we want Don’ before Don returned to the stage to perform two final songs the last one being an Irvine Berlin number as I recall.
    This was a fine concert indeed & well worth making the effort to attend. OK so there was no real solo section & for me sadly still no Birthday Song but on the other hand Don was in good voice, smiled lots and we heard several new songs not usually heard at Don’s concerts and there was also the new sound. I thought Don might have sang Believers with the Dobro handy but maybe he’s saving that for the next time, lets hope it will be sooner than he indicated.

    After The Concert
    Don’s transport was strategically parked outside the stage door with what looked like an impossible task for the large group assembled outside to expect a photo or autograph. To his credit Don signed for most of the people who had patiently waited. I was fortunate to have my rare (To outside of the USA) songbook signed, thanks again Don.
    After the show our group went back to O’Brians near to the theatre along Dame street.
    Did you know that Sunday closing time is actually 03:30 on a Monday morning! A man could die of over Guinnessing over there!
    By 02:00 we landed back at the hotel minus Alan Y who was staying elsewhere. I had brought my Baby guitar with me and Pete and I (Well done Pete) played a little for a short while in the hotel lounge before calling it a night.
    Following a few hours sleep (Thanks for the wake up call Annie or I would still be there now) we met up again at breakfast. Finally we had an hour or so’s chat in the lounge before saying our farewells. It was a pleasure meeting Hannah, Pete and Alan Y for the first time too.
    Must do it again some time.

    Neil.

  5. To be a Don McLean fan is the most wonderful feeling , well it is for me and the excitement that builds up knowing months in advance that I have a ticket to see him in concert is almost unbearable pleasure.

    4 days ago now I saw Don in Dublin nd I am still on Cloud 9 with a wonderful warm glow inside me and the urge to tell everyone,friend or foe that I have seen Don McLean in concert.

    I am never disappointed with Don in concert,I know I am biased because I love Don and his music so much.

    The lights dim , the band take up their places and Don casually saunters on,he’s
    with you and I am hooked.

    In Ireland they love Don .How do I know that!Well everyone my friend Angela and I talked to on our travels from the UK to Ireland told us so. The concert was sold out and you could have sold you ticket many times over.The atmosphere was wonderful.

    The day before the concert my friend and I,and Hannah another fan we met up with to share our passion ,took the Dublin City tour bus.On the tour we passed the very pretty Olympia Theatre and our guide excitedly pointed out the theatre and told us all that Don was on the next night and that it had been sold out for some time.We cheered at then mention of Don’s name and she asked us if we had tickets ,Yes we replied and threw her totally off her commentary.She told us that the Irish people love Don and then told the rest of the tour bus about us coming from the UK just to see Don.

    Don so clearly loves to sing and muse with his audience.He was in great form ,relaxed and at ease and those gorgeous twinkling eyes.[well I was on the 2nd row]He told us that the band and him would play better if we clapped louder well we clapped louder and if we waned at any time he just told us again.
    He commented on the feeling like he was playing inside a Faberge egg because the theate was so ornate.Faberge eggs are pure indulgence just like seeing Don in concert.

    Although I know that each fan has their own special list of desires about what they would like to hear Don sing I am not a purist about this.I have always loved hearing him sing which he so clearly enjoys so very much.He sort of glows when he sings.I also would find it impossible to write down his set list as I am too enchanted once he is on stage.

    He laughed when he sang a ditty about being “a good boy” but when he gets old he will be bad.He told us that he would be a “very good boy” and play his “almost hits” as he referred to them.We got them all.We also had a catchy song based on Shakespere love poems which he said he had composed
    whilst in Florida reading Shakespere poetry.Great to see he is still activley songwriting.Masters of War was sung with much passion and is even more relevant today .Buddy Holly appeared as did many western songs a clear love of Dons .

    At this stage I need to include the “good old boys” .I am convinced that Pat Severs sleeps with a coathanger in his mouth ,that guy never stopped smiling and his playing is pretty exceptional too,especially with the dobro. [sorry if I’ve spelt it wrong]
    Ralph Childs just soildy supports Don the whole time with his well known green bass.He also quietly enjoyed a cold fan running right in front of him the whole time.Don had commented earlier on the heat.We met Jerry Kroon before the show , he is such a nice guy and told us how much they all enjoy playing together because they are all “old ” and there are no egos to get in the way!
    Tony Migliore you could talk about for hours,he is out of this world and like Don too cleary loves to play.
    I think Don has grown so much with the band and whislt many fans would prefer the old Solo days the band has enabled Don to vocalise so much more and his voice just gets richer and richer.

    Don mentioned his inauguration into the Song Writers Hall of Fame which happened in June this year for him.He is immensley proud of this award and so he should be.

    We had the “almost hits” as he called them and then came Madonnas song as he fondly refers to it and then realised that the rest of us are not quite so fond of it.At the end as he sang the last line it went ” and the three men I admire most the father son and the holy ghost and Madonna ” he laughed so much I thought he wouldn’t finish the song.But he did to rapturous applause.He always sings it like its the first time.

    Finally after too very long halves of the concert,I know it was after 11.00pm when we were waitng for him to come out of the stage door Don left the stage.The audience were on their feet , and if he hadn’t have come back —well I just couldn’t imagine that happening.

    His encore was “Run Diana Run” and the beautiful “Someone to Watch Over Me” what bliss.
    He soaked up the applause and he was gone.Wow what a concert.

    Outside the stage door there was a huge crowd waitng to see Don .He treated many of his fans to autographs.As I got to the front I shook hands with Don and thanked him the afternoon and the concert.He gave me the warmest smile and handshake and thanked me for the Tribute Book [but thats another story.]
    And he was gone.
    Where do you start to step down from an emotional high such as that.O’Briens across the street and a Guiness was a good start with a group of like minded Don fans, including Alan ,Bill Neil Angela, Hannah and Pete.They made the rest of the day and the next morning just perfect .We had a wonderful walk bcak to our hotel and then had our own mini concert with Neil and Pete so thanks guys .And so to bed to dream.
    Here dreaming on that I will get to see Don again.
    Thanks for your patience if you’ve got to the end of this.

  6. Having had the privilege of attending Annie’s presentation of the Tribute Book to Don and consequently the wonderful added bonus of seeing Don’s soundcheck before the show I couldn’t commence a review without saying a word or three about both. I was treated to a fairly brief glance at the Tribute Book but sufficient to know that the contributors had done a marvellous job and that Annie had done full justice to the presentation of their tributes. You can see from the photo on the forum that it was a weighty tome and the individual tributes were beautifully presented. Don’t know how she did it but it looked like manuscript with old-fashioned writing on it. Really classy.

    Four of us (Annie, Angela, Alan (Young) and myself turned up at the stage door of the Olympia Theatre at 3.30pm on Sunday 8th August. Annie, Angela and myself had arrived in Dublin the day before but we had met Alan Y, Bill and Neil at lunchtime. The four of us had left Bill and Neil imbibing Guinness to go to the soundcheck as Alan (Howard) had most kindly fixed it with Don (and Don had most kindly agreed I assume) for us to attend the soundcheck and to watch Annie present the Tribute Book.

    The chap at the door said Don was not there and told us to come back at about 4.15pm. We wandered back up the alley but stood there chatting, took each other’s photos in front of the Don poster and so forth and a short while later Don’s tour bus swept down to the stage door. We stood excitedly at a discreet distance – a bunch of 40 somethings – going on 12!

    Shortly afterwards we were ushered into the theatre and were treated to seeing Don run through a few numbers including Over The Mountains, a couple of cowboy songs, one of which I recognised (that one that goes –Ridin’ The Range Together…. can’t work out what it’s called but Fuzzy will know), and another melodic cowboy song which I didn’t recognise. There was also an old Buddy Holly medley that Don used to do including “Crying, Waiting, Hoping”, “Well…All Right” and “Peggy Sue Got Married” which I particularly liked. At the end Don also ran the whole way through a few numbers for our benefit including “Winterwood”. Can’t remember them in details as I was too busy being blown away by the fact of just being there.

    Then we were beckoned towards the stage. There was a sort of abyss between the auditorium and the stage through which hapless fans have no doubt hurtled headlong into oblivion over the years in their attempts to reach their idols on stage (we nearly lost Annie twice during the concert!) so we had to go up hill and down dale to get to the stage, tripping over props and ropes on the way. It was very Phantom of the Opera-ish and I looked up half expecting to see a chandelier swinging precariously from the rafters…but I digress.

    We eventually got to the stage and said hello to Don and Annie duly presented the Tribute book to Don and said it included contributions from fans all over the world, and then Annie had some photos taken with Don. Don said he was going to take the Book backstage and read it then and there so after that we made our way back through the bowels of the theatre to collect our belongings and then found our way outside and chatted for a while to Jerry the drummer, Alan Howard and his wife Diane, and Ron Buck, and the four of us then returned to the bar where we had been holed up since lunchtime. We remained there until the concert and were joined once again by Bill and Neil, and Pete Abbott.

    The concert – From the various reviews it seems that everybody wanted to hear different things so it’s clear that Don can’t please everyone so he might as well please himself.. For my part I like to hear Don do stuff that I have not heard him do before and there was plenty of that. I very much enjoyed the first half. Annie, Angela and myself who were in the second row fell about laughing when Don played “La La Love You” early in the show and there was a thump in the dress circle as Bill keeled over from overexposure to that song – or was it overexposure to Guinness – or both?

    Bill having commented on the fact that Don appears to sing this one at nearly every show had been lured into a false sense of security as he had attended Don’s concerts at Glasgow and Castlewellan on the previous two nights and that song had not appeared. Whether this show would be a hat-trick had become a standing joke.

    It was not to be! The song does seem though to be a difficult one for Don these days because he doesn’t go for the high notes in the refrain which are a major feature of the song so I am intrigued as to why he’s so fond of it. Still maybe he’ll start hitting them again one day – and if he were to stop doing the song we’d never know!

    The cowboy songs duly appeared. And Crossroads, one of my personal favourites, “And I Love You So which came along quite early, a quirky song based on Shakespeare and “Mountains O’Mourne”. I think Vincent appeared in the first half as well, or if it didn’t it was certainly early in the second, which is probably the first time I’d seen this song in any other slot than at the end, generally straight after American Pie. I liked that because it was different and it also meant being able to hear the whole song because usually the first couple of lines of it are drowned out by the continuing cheers for American Pie and then further cheers when he begins Vincent.

    Don commented that the audience seemed to like the quiet ones and that was certainly true for me. So I was slightly taken aback when in the second half he started with lots of loud rock type ones. Jerusalem he performed with gusto. Then there were a couple in close succession which to be honest are not high in my personal Donsong list of all-time classics, namely “Have You Seen Me” and “Brand New World”. The situation improved after that however with “You’re My Little Darlin” and a passionate Masters Of War with lots of verses which he doesn’t usually do and I got my Buddy Holly medley. At the end the audience were encouraged to get up and sway around to American Pie but I didn’t because I discovered that I was wedged in solid between the arms of my seat! (I wouldn’t recommend Guinness as a slimming aid by the way). I did manage to extricate myself to join in the “We Want Don” chant though and he came back and sang “Someone To Watch Over Me” a great one, and I thought it was a fitting song on which to end and stood the test well. After all “Vincent” takes some beating as a final number.

    Verdict: A great concert and nice to see Don looking so happy and laughing a lot. The only thing it lacked for me was a good singalongaDon spot and of course those high notes in La La Love You , oh and there was no Molly Malone which we’d half expected being in Dublin, but the audience as a whole weren’t quite the enthusiastic singers I had thought they might be and I suspect Don just goes with the flow. I reckon he ought to do a concert on Annie’s home turf in Wales (and mine in Hampshire of course!) but the Welsh do seem to be real roof raisers when it comes to singing.

    We hung around the stage door to watch Don emerge and he good naturedly signed lots of autographs. I made some inane comment to Don as it’s kinda traditional. Can’t remember what it was. I always seem to behave in a most abnormal fashion when Don’s in the vicinity and it’s getting worse, not better as I get older. He puts up with it ever so well though.

    The seven of us then returned to the bar which had become our second home and spent a pleasant few hours dissecting the performances of Don and the band in minute detail and assigning each song to its appropriate place in Don folklore, comparing views on guitars and other Don concerts we had been to and suchlike.

    At around 2am we fell out of the bar and said farewell to Alan Young who was staying in a separate hotel. The remaining six of us raided a local Spar shop for food and staggered back to our hotel. But the show’s not over until the Donnydudes sing and back at the ranch Neil produced what turned out to be a guitar, cunningly disguised as a ukelele, with which he and then Pete skilfully proceeded to entertain us with some Don songs and other songs for an hour or so after which we finally hit the hay. Even the next morning though the Don “convention” continued until noon when Pete, and then Annie and Angela and then Neil departed to catch their various ferries and planes.

    Bill and myself had evening flights and I arranged to meet Bill back at that same old bar later in the afternoon as he was meeting two more British Donfans by whom he’d been accosted at the concert the previous night. So I had the pleasure of meeting them – Bill Nisbitt and his son Ross and we wiled away another pleasant hour couple of hours with Donnychat.

    Bill H. led the way back to the hotel as I hadn’t got my bearings at all and the previous night’s journey was but a hazy recollection. We then caught a bus to the airport. Bill thought his plane was 90 minutes later than mine but when we got to the airport he discovered that that was the arrival time and he was flying at the same time as me. Ha – that’ll stop him calling me disorganised.

    I saw Bill to his airport gate and he walked off down the slope chanting “I love La La Love You” (well he’s gonna have to beat this thing if he’s going to maintain his record for attending more Don concerts than Tony Migliori!) and then I sprinted across to the other end of the departure lounge for my own plane. It was with a great sense of satisfaction that I flew from sunny Dublin into a warm rainy Southampton night. Many thanks to Don and the band, and to Alan Howard, Annie, Angela, Alan Y, Bill H, Neil, Pete, Bill N. and Ross for a most memorable concert and weekend.

  7. For more than 30 years there has not been a single day, that I didn’t sing, hum or whistle a line of a Don McLean song. Therefore it must sound even crazier that I have never seen a live performance of him before. So when I recently visited a Simon & Garfunkel concert in Amsterdam (including a four song performance of The Everly Brothers!), I became so exited that I had to find out if there was a possibility to see Mr. American Pie as well. I was determined to complete my little list of singers to see (at least once).

    The day after S&G I started my search on the internet. To my knowledge Don McLean hasn’t visited Holland for ages and in the past I had already misted some occasions to see his show. Like the time when I was in Auckland. I ran into a poster telling me that Don would give a concert just a few days after I had to leave New Zealand. Or that other time when I set my very first steps on the internet and discovered that Don had just left Europe. An occasion on which I also learned that my wife (to whom I’m married for more than 26 years now) was born on the very same day “the music died” (3-2-59) A line that I had sung so often without knowing when it was.

    Needless to tell that I became very enthusiastic when I discovered that Don’s tour was doing Europe and that I might be able to visit him this time. I was even more excited when I succeeded in getting a ticket. Only 17 days before the show.

    In the early morning of the 8th of August I left home, all by myself, to exchange a warm and sunny Holland for a grey and rainy Ireland. A one day trip in order to see the guy that has given me so many songs to sing and to enjoy. I must admit that I had my doubts while wandering through the wet streets of Dublin, but the visit was worth every euro cent. In an old, but cosy and intimate Olympia Theatre I saw the man I seem to know since high school. When we thought each other how to play songs on the guitar. Old hits, but also the latest like American Pie and Vincent.

    It was great to hear all those old, familiar songs. This time life performed by the master himself. Ok, a few more golden oldies would have been even greater. There were so many titles left on my list, like “Empty Chairs” and “Tapestry”. As far for me (and for many others I guess) Don could have been singing till the morning. Even the newer and (for me) unknown songs were great. What a show and what a lovely audience, super. I understand why Don loves to visit Ireland.

    After the show it took a big pint of Guinness to let this experience sink a little. In an almost empty bar of the theatre I ordered one. A little disappointed that hardly no one stayed to discuss the show, I left the Olympia through the side exit. Outside a group of people were waiting at the stage door and right when I joined them Don came out. Ready to leave, but not before he signed a large number of photos, albums etc. I got a signature on my entry card and we even spoke a few words. “Thanks Don, next time in Holland?” “Holland? Hmm…. they don’t love me anymore over there.” “They don’t? Are you kidding?”

    I hope that he will do an extended tour next year. Including Holland, because I’m hundred percent sure that he will fill thousand seats over here just as easy. I also hope that he will fill the show with all the old (and slow) ballads we appreciate so much. As a treat for his sixtieth birthday. Thanks again, Don.

  8. Veterans of Don McLean Concerts, and there are still legions of them, thank goodness, will tell you that , over the years they have had to maintain a watching vigil, by whatever means, to ensure that The Man did not flash through the country on a whistlestop tour without their knowledge. Communication has at times in the past been rather limited and on more than one occasion I have only just heard in the nick of time of an imminent performance. Despite these difficulties I have racked up well into double figures in attendances ( and every one a gem). No such problems exist now thanks to the brilliant efforts of Alan Howard on the web site and to him I express my gratitude.

    Don McLean in concert is a rare feast and an unforgettable, unique and total experience.
    It is only now , some two weeks after his triumph in Dublin, and after proper purpose of amendment , that I commit my thoughts and recollections to record.
    Years ago, when I was but a lad, there was a famous chocolate bar, made by Fry, called 5 Boys Chocolate. The wrapper showed 5 photographs of a small boy’s face, each sequentially displaying the emotions he was going through as he anticipated and finally realised his 5 Boys Chocolate experience. The emotions were, Desperation, Pacification, Expectation, Acclamation and finally Realisation.
    Maybe it is the small boy in me but, as I think back over my Don McLean Concert Experience in Dublin, my range of emotions has been uncannily similar to those depicted in the Chocolate advert!

    The web site announcement in March of a Dublin Concert in August brought the usual rush of excitement and an instant determination to be there. The prospect of a weekend in the Fair City topped off by Don McLean was heady wine indeed and I was desperate to get a plane seat booked and a good concert seat secured. Now steady up, I told myself, don’t jump in with both feet, have some patience, there will be UK concerts announced, you’ll see. Hmm, aah, well I’ll just check the ticket situation anyway. Not on sale yet so I’ll have to wait. Expectantly I view the web site daily for news of UK concerts. Nothing forthcoming. Desperation level is rising. Then the web site tells us that Dublin tickets are now on sale. Straight on the phone to Ticketmaster with a request for the best seat they can give me. You’re in luck, said the young man , I have that right here, 6 rows from the front in the Stalls and right on the centre aisle, best seat in the house. I snapped it up, gulped a little at the price, 54.5 euros, and clean forgot about that Irish blarney for which they are famed the world over. ( As I found out on the night, it was no blarney he was spot on) With a few deft strokes of the mouse I had my flight booked and was well into the Pacification mode, we are getting somewhere now!
    My inner thoughts now come to the top and I am deeply saddened that my dear darling wife Ray, who died a year ago, will not be with me on this trip. We saw so many Don concerts together over the years and I take comfort knowing that she will be with me in spirit.

    I announce the news to Ross , my son , on his arrival home from work, and to my surprise, got the impression he would like to go.
    What a power of attraction Don McLean must have when he can leap the lofty barriers of time and bridge the musical gap between father and son! In a flash I have a seat for Ross , only 3 seats apart from me and his plane ticket booked and Pacification is assured.

    What’s this? , Castlewellan then Glasgow concerts! My first choice would have been Glasgow in my native Scotland where they are so proud of Don McLean and regard him as one of their own. And rightly so, Don told me himself when I had a lengthy one on one with him in Glasgow some years ago that he is a Scot and proud of it. After much investigation I had to give up on my quest to see all 3 concerts and it is Dublin here we come.

    Expectation levels are high as Ross and I leave East Midlands Airport and arrive in Dublin at 5.10pm, the flight schedule having ben changed from 2.10pm. We are a bit short of time so hail a Taxi to speed our journey to our Hotel in the City Centre. Consternation, a major Hurling match has just ended at Croke Park and the roads are chocabloc with supporters resplendent in blue and white and black and gold shirts. There were loads of Police (Garda) around , many on horseback among the supporters who were mingling freely with their opposite numbers, unforunately for our progress, in the middle of the road. The Taxi driver seemed unperturbed, particularly as the meter was ticking away very well, say’s he, over 40 thousand at the game today, these blue fellers are not laughing, they lost 3-1 today. I asked if there would be trouble with all those Police present. Not at all , says he, they are only here to direct the traffic, there will be no trouble at all. The only trouble was they stayed in the middle of the road which was choked all the way to the City Centre. However the Taxi driver remained uperturbed, his meter was still ticking away nicely. Hats off to the Dublin fans, it was good to see that sportsmanship still prevails somewhere.

    We managed to check in and got out of the Hotel by 6.20pm. Thankfully it was only a few minutes from the Olympia Theatre and we set out to try and find a restaurant. Amazingly every building seemed to be either a pub or a restaurant, all kinds of international cuisine was on offer and the choice was staggering. Dublin has made a big leap forward and seems to be thriving. Now we have to pick somewhere not too busy , the doors open at 7.15pm and time is going on. We look at a few and Ross grasps the nettle. There is a Cantonese 50 metres from the Olympia and he strongly suggests we go in there. What a good decision it turned out to be.

    The name of the Restaurant was FANS and it was nearly empty. How appropriate that name seemed when we sat down and found ourselves sitting next to Tony Migliore, Ralph Childs and Pat Severs !! They were enjoying a pre-concert meal and were probably a little mystified when I looked over and said ‘ If you have time for a meal I guess so do we’. At this point I could just feel that everything was falling right into place and after the musicians had finished their main course and I had had my first I went over and said hello. They were most welcoming and told me all about the Castlewellan and Glasgow Concerts and we reminisced for a while about concerts over the years. They asked if I looked at the web site and clearly they do, which is most encouraging. They assured me they would be perfectly happy for me to mention our shared restaurant experience if I got round to writing a review. Their admiration and respect for Don McLean really stood out and Tony said that Don was in great voice and really enjoying his trip . Before they left they each waved over and wished us well. Not only brilliant musicians but great guys as well , many thanks.

    The Olympia Theatre was pretty much as I expected. A survivor from the great days of Old Tyme Music Hall when Ladies and Gentlemen dressed in their finery and went in style to the Theatre. Intimate and dimly lit, the splendid opulence of the theatre was at its best. Predominantly red and white colours exhibited richness in depth with magnicent ornamental rococo plasterwork swirling over the ceiling and the balconies. Tiers of Boxes, similarly decorated , added to the opulent picture and Don was later to say, memorably, ” This is like performing inside a Faberge Egg”. A most apt description.
    Over the years many of the worlds great artistes have plied their craft on this stage and, in the tradition of Theatre their ghosts are said to be still there to inspire and bring out the best in all who tread the famous boards. I had the distinct feeling that this setting would prove eminently suitable for Don McLean to produce a vintage performance. This theatre is located directly opposite Dublin Castle, alas Dublin has no King , but tonight , perhaps the people would find one.

    The Dubliner sat next to me confided that he had seen Don McLean in Dublin in the 1970’s but not since and he was unsure of what to expect, I said he might be pleasantly surprised.

    The Legendary Don McLeen said the announcer and I winced but that was instantly forgotten as Don swept straight into Maybe Baby and we had confirmation that the voice was indeed great, in fact it was glorious. As he soared and powered through that first number the full McLean impact came back , like an old friend, to forcibly remind us of what we have been missing and what we have travelled all these miles to rediscover and celebrate. The huge ovation that followed has placed us in that Acclamation mode.
    A quick change of mood brought out When You’re Down and Out then the uniquely Don McLean La La Love You. The Voice is really good and Don turns round to the band and launches into Crying. I was not expecting it so early and the lyrics, which are so intensely meaningful to me now, were never more stark and I was grateful for the darkness of the auditorium. Don McLean you were really Killing Me Softly With Your Song. A great Tulsa Time maintained the momentum before a thoughtful Don sang a piece adapted from a poem by Shakespeare, It was a Lover and His Lass. A Don song called Promise To Remember was well appreciated and Don said he would get round to the ” Favourites” as he was a “good boy”. He seemed to dig deep into the thousands of songs he told us he knew and sang , unaccompanied, an acapella called I Have been a Good Boy. Whether it had any connection with the lyrics of Promise To Remember we can only speculate but there seems to be a lot of Don in his songs.
    And I Love You So and Crossroads, brilliantly sung, both hit the spot before Don told Pat to bring out the Dobro and he did a Dylan number followed by a Western song which think was Timber Trails which Don yodelled to and seemed to be really enjoying himself.He put his voice to the test with the very challenging My Saddle Pal And I and it was superb. Great accompaniment from Pat on the Dobro! The Irish songs Over The Mountain and The Mountains of Mourne brought a huge ovation to bring a magnificent first half to a close.

    I spoke to Ross at the interval and he was most impressed , describing the first set as a highly eclectic mix. I wish I had said that as it seemed to sum up what we had just watched. Although not all the ” Favourites” were included I was delighted as I want to hear what Don feels like singing and anyway I can play the favourites all day every day at home if I choose. Ross thought , as I did, that Pat’s guitar sound level was set below Dons and needed adjustment.
    By chance we bumped into someone whose face I recognised from the web site. He confirmed he was Bill Hamilton and we enjoyed an interval drink together and arranged to meet up for lunch on Monday.

    My Irish neighbour said he was having a ball before the start of the second set and it was clear that that applied to everyone there including Don and his brilliant musicians. Jerusalem gave us a great start and clearly Don these days has his mind focused on world events, this theme to be reinforced later with Masters Of War. Have You Seen Me continued on that same track but it is also a wonderful showpiece for the band, Pat’s guitar having been given proper emphasis in the mix now. Ralph on bass is just perfect, so tight and right , he makes it look so easy. Tony of course continually demonstrates his mastery of music and is always a joy to listen to. A more understated set from Jerry on drums this time but he is a very professional drummer, up there with the best. Brand New World again set the mood and the performance of this song is so professional that anyone listening in has to be seriously impressed . The live performance is far ahead of the CD track. A Don solo, straight from the heart, You’re My Little Darlin, was delightful and as he was in a Western mood tonight I thought we may get Little Cowboy, but no it was back to the main theme and Masters of War. A great Dylan song this but Don sings it better and tonight with feeling. He means it alright. He has previously played his own great banjo lick to this song and that was highly effective. So much so that when the talented Michael Johnathon recorded the song he got Don to teach him the lick Another call for the banjo Don, now you are more into a Western phase come on give us a treat. We got a great Vincent to continued and well deserved acclamation then a brilliant Castles In The Air. The Voice has never been better, the maturity is complete and the master craftsman is enjoying this as much as we are
    With the audience in the palm of his hand Don sits and retunes his Martin (eventually) and it is into Winterwood, a masterpiece, followed swiftly by an effortless and great Buddy Holly medley ending with Peggy Sue Got Married. To an old Buddy fanatic like me this is pure magic and it was another reminder of the respect Don has for him.
    Somewhere along the line I have missed Superman’s Ghost and possibly a few more but this was such a great night I could not keep tally with them all.
    As he rose to launch American Pie I took the liberty of taking another photo and hoped they would be worthy of the occasion. AP is an event and the effect is has on audiences everywhere is astonishing. There they were all in one place a generation lost in…….yes the magic of the one and only Don McLean.. The rafters were raised , the joint was jumping and I am sure I saw the ghosts of artistes past rockin in the aisles . Hands were sore with clapping and throats were bruised from cheering as we yelled for more. After well over 2 hours we were asking a lot, but Don you told us earler you would not be back for a long time and you would do it all toooooniiiiight (you know how he makes that emphasis) And back he came , the King In Waiting and treated us to Run Diana Run which I was hearing properly for the first time. Yes you are a deep man Don McLean and deep in your breast there lies a treasure chest . We watch and listen in awe.
    The final song is Someone To Watch Over Me and fans all over the world will echo that sentiment.
    Let Someone watch over him for a very long time.

    And so we made our way out of that great old theatre and, as I listened to my Irish friend say he was shocked that Don was even better now than in the 70’s , and hearing the Acclamation from all around I crowned Don McLean the King of Dublin Castle. Long may he reign.

    I watched Don take a dignified leave of the theatre and watched as he took time to sign many autographs. The crowd there was very orderly and seemed to be so respectful of the man. Then a small and very excited Irish lady, brandishing an autograph, thrust her face towards mine and yelled” That man is ****** BRILLIANT” says she . Now that summed it up

    Ross and I carried out our post-concert review in several Dublin bars and yes we concluded very easily that Don did perform the oracle and had bridged our musical gaps , no mean feat by anybodys standards.

    Next day was spent on foot in Dublin in lovely weather until lunch when we met fellow fans Bill H and Hannah for a very friendly and enjoyable lunch . All too soon it was time for the flight and home .

    Realisation. Looking back in appraisal is something we savour and we recall the various elements of our total experience thereafter all our lives. This has been a wonderful experience, The best Don McLean Concert I have ever attended and an experience I would dearly wish to repeat at the earlest opportunity. What lengths would I go to to fulfill this aim? Well I think the words of Robert Burns as written to his friend James Smith sum my feelings up. And hopefully yours too.

    For me , I swear by sun an’ moon,
    An’ ev’ry star that blinks aboon (above)
    Ye’ve cost me twenty pair o’ shoon (shoes)
    Just gaun to see (going)
    you ;
    An’ ev’ry ither pair that’s done,
    Mair taen I’m wi’ you (more taken)

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