Olympia Theatre Dublin [2 nights in a row]
The sheer joy and pleasure of two Don McLean concerts on consecutive nights is something I would recommend to any Don fan, it’s bliss. Just like you’ve stepped off the planet on to another one that is pure Don McLean.
The reason why I say this is because after seeing Don in concert for one night there is an excruciating long and usually unknowing wait till the next one. But it is a fantastic feeling when you sitting enjoying a concert knowing indulgently you can experience it all again tomorrow.
The is always great deal of anticipation and excitement for me that builds from the day I see an announcement of a concert that is tenable for me to get to and after last years magical Dublin concert and my chance to meet Don to present him with the Tribute Book I was not going to miss Don in Dublin.
The Irish people love Don and Don loves them in return, that is obvious the moment he walks out on stage its like the audience can’t get enough of him and he responds by giving his all just like it was his first time. It’s something I have always admired Don for, each show is different as is each audience, he never gives the same concert twice. After talking to Pat Severs he told us that the band only ever know the opening song that Don will sing and then they are on there own, Imagine that and no music on stage either. I noticed this when Don asked Pat to play Dobro and then just stepped forward singing something completely different without the need of the dobro. He actually went straight in to a new song called “When I grow old “ or something similar. It was a very beautiful song likened to Empty Chairs and he sang Solo . I hope very much that it will be on the new studio cd .
Don told us he loves the Olympia Theatre, the intimacy of the theatre and he adores the balconies. It’s not the most comfortable place but what the heck I’d sit, stand or whatever to see Don anywhere.
Don looked remarkably fit and well, he was happy and relaxed, he smiled a great deal and was very funny too. He appeared to be extremely content with his life right now and this was reflected very much in two concerts. Don has such expressive eyes and when he sings its like he passes the emotion of each song on to you in the audience .He sings with great passion and I realised I was crying at the end of “If you could read my mind”, in some ways its as though Don unearths emotions you didn’t know you could feel. He told us during the show that he had nearly quit show business along time ago as he didn’t feel he was good enough, Imagine that!
For the fashion victims the first night he was wearing blue jeans, black cowboy boots and a black shirt embroidered with red roses, my favourite and the second night blue jeans, a black smock type shirt and the same boots and as always he looked gorgeous but that’s just my view.
I never write a set list, there will always be someone else who does that and I am too captivated when Don is on stage to write anything coherent. I do recall him opening with a Marty Robbins number which was good to hear the first night.
As the audience were so responsive to Don we had several “sing a longs” “Travellin Man ‘” by Woody Guthrie which we had been taught earlier in the pub by Bill and Hannah, now old hands, this being their 3rd concert in so many days. We also joined in with Mountains of Mourne and a beautiful song called I think “The Water is Wide” a very beautiful song. You cannot help yourself but to join in when Don encourages you to do so and the more the audience gives the more Don gives. What is so obvious is Dons sheer love of music and performing and I hope he conitnues for very long time.I first saw Don in 1973 and he just gets better every time.
After giving us the “hits” both nights we were indulged with some glorious ballads whilst he sat down on a stool, he caused a laugh when he asked for a stool to sit down on .“Can I have a stool please” says Don I could see from where I was sitting a man off stage trying to adjust a stool, Don casually says “what about the one you’re sitting on !! “On the second night his stool was already ready.
Both nights Don sat down to do several numbers, he loves to experiment with songs and harmonies and we are so lucky to see a performer such as Don who is prepared to experiment with us it leaves me in awe of his talent.
The band themselves deserve their own acknowledgement. The pleasure that that they have supporting Don on stage is so clear. Tony Migliore piano and keyboards, I’m sure he has extra fingers! Jerry Kroon on drums, brilliant, Ralph Childs on his famous green bass and backing vocals, which he says he is very honoured to be able to do, which compliments Don so well and the wonderful Pat Severs on guitar and Dobro, and he never stops smiling it’s infectious. Having the dobro is as near to hearing Don play banjo, so I love it , they are all so talented and I applaud them whole heartedly. Those guys are just so good and as Bill has said in the past reviews they have gelled together to compliment and enhance Dons music so well. I loved the SOLO days but these days its even better.
The emotional high I am left with after seeing Don in concert is just wonderful , I wish I could bottle that feeling right up.
After both shows Don was in good spirits .He was patient and kind with all, signing many autographs and having photographs etc.I don’t think anyone felt rushed in any way and the band in turn chatted to fans.
I will always be proud to be a Don McLean fan and continue to travel to see Don far and wide. As well as being a Don fan I am very happy to have made so many acquaintances through Alan Howard’s web site and to realise that I am not alone in my love of Dons music. So thanks to the ones of you who made the weekend more special and for the ones I made acquaintances with it was great to meet you.
Thank you Don for two brilliant concerts in Dublin, until the next time……………………………………………………..hope the wait isn’t too long!