30 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. After reading the reviews of Don’s other concerts I feel absolutely cheated after attending the Sheffield show last evening. I am a lifelong fan of Don’s and have every album he has ever released (shipping them from America if I couldn’t get them in the UK), I have seen him every time he comes to the UK, sometimes travelling many miles as his music, voice and presence are spine-tingling to me. However, I had (as ever) been looking forward to this show for months now and when I read in the newsletter that he would be performing on his new banjo I couldn’t wait.

    The show and Don’s voice, was, to me, as good as ever. Although I am such a fan that even on a bad day he would sound wonderful to me.

    But . . . I was very disappointed that Don left the stage and never returned for an encore and DID NOT play the banjo which was sitting beside him all night. I wish now that we had travelled to the Liverpool show the evening before (which we might have had it not been for a wedding we had to attend!) as it seems they were treated to a wonderful encore session at the end.

    What happened Don? Were you not well? We were all standing applauding fully expecting you to return to the stage as I had told everyone that you would not leave without treating us to your fantastic banjo playing.

    In all my years of attending your concerts you have never failed to come back on stage and treat us to an encore.
    —————–
    Don is, and will always be, the best singer and songwriter (poet writer in my opinion) of the last few decades – my husband has had to endure over 30 years of my playing all Don’s music, but I feel so let down by yesterday’s concert. I am sure something must have happened in Sheffield for it to be such a disappointment after reading the reviews of the Liverpool show.

    I am still his No.1 fan but am so angry that I did not travel to Liverpool.

  2. I also echo the sentiments of the previous response. Why no encore? It was not for lack of enthusiasm. There must have been 5 solid minutes of clapping, shouting screaming for more. Then house lights came on. There was collective sigh of disappointment and we all filed out. At the time I thought well, one and three quarter hours is Ok. That is until I read the audience at Liverpool got two and a half hours with out leaving the stage plus an encore. I am disappointed also that his banjo remained untouched.

    Aside from all that, it was Don McLean at his very best. It is many years since I have seen him perform live; he has lost nothing with the passing years. He has gained (since I last saw him) a group of musicians around him that add richness to his evocative songs; I particular liked the treatment of Vincent with the Dobro guitar.

    I am sure the audience was as rapturous in adulation of his music as his previous tour dates. So the Sheffield City Hall audience are left with a sense of being sold short and to ponder on the whether there was any particular reason for this.

  3. I feel really sorry for the audience at Sheffield having read the two previous comments. I attended the Birmingham concert and thoroughly enjoyed it, except that Don didn’t sing “Crying”. (I think he may have forgotton it)! I feel sure that something must have happened at Sheffield, as you say, perhaps he was unwell, as it would be almost unheard of for him not to give an encore.Was he out in the foyer for any book/ CD signing?

  4. I can only agree with the first two comments I was disappointed and surprise there was no encore. The audience were begging for more but it wasn’t to be, I can only assume all was not well. I didn’t feel cheated because Don gave a great performance which I thought was better than the last year when I saw him in Dublin. If the fans in Liverpool got two and half hours of Don, an encore and some banjo playing then “lucky you” Sheffield was still and great concert. Thanks Don.

  5. I too went to the Sheffield concert and have to agree with Patricia.

    I too am a life long fan and must admit was quite taken a-back when Don refused to come back on stage.

    He didn’t even announce a last song and just walked off. I think his band wern’t even sure what was happening.

    We clapped shouted for even a single encore which unfortunately wasn’t forthcoming.

    I had to conclude that Don wasn’t feeling very well. Get well soon Don.

  6. Can i set the record straight? At Liverpool Don did not do an encore.He ask if we would mind if he just carried on singing instead of going off and coming back on again, so he could pack more songs into the show-and because he was to lazy to do so! At the Manchester concert we got about 5mins less than 2 hours,Liverpool was 2 1/2 hrs-but we clapped and sang more! Don always seems to stay longer the better the fans cheer him.

  7. I too was initially disappointed that we didn’t get an encore but then I thought of what a wonderful concert it had been and how Don baraly gave us time to applaud before launching into yet another song because he was so keen to start the next one!
    I think his voice is at least as good as ever – in fact it has mellowed wonderfully and when he lets it slide down the notes ….aaagh, wonderful!
    However I do wish he would sing more songs with just his guitar – or with quiet accompanyment from the Dobro or the piano. Crossroads was unbelievably beautiful but the piano was intrusive. Although Don’s voice rose above the band most of the time in Spinning Top and the band won! I go to Don’s concerts to hear him and, although I do enjoy the ‘rockier’ numbers I do wish he would turn the band down, give them a rest more often – and sack the drummer!
    I’m travelling down to Brighton to catch another show not because I felt I had been sold short – I didn’t – but because cds just don’t do The Master justice.
    Hope Don sings a few more slow, quiet ones – and wouldn’t ‘September Song’ be a fantastic addition!!
    PS Tried to get a request passed on but no-one was keen. a shame as Don usually does some!

  8. Random thoughts of a nobody…

    I have been largely out of Internet contact for a couple of days, and it is interesting to come back and read the comments on the Liverpool and Sheffield shows, both of which I attended.

    There is no doubt that Liverpool delivered over and above any reasonable person’s expectations. It was the best show I had seen of the four I had attended up to that point. Don’s shows always run to a high standard, but some shows take off better than others. I can’t tell you why it happens, but I can sense when it is happening, and it definitely happened at the Philharmonic Hall.

    So (I hear you say) lucky old Liverpudlians! But what about those who went to Birmingham and didn’t hear ‘Crying’ (which for me is always the most stunning of the songs Don does regularly), or those who went to Sheffield and didn’t hear the banjo?

    I have great sympathy for both. Whilst I (and others I know) attend multiple shows on a tour, the majority of the audience will only attend one show. Perhaps they come to a show each time Don tours, perhaps this is their first time at a show. Either way, they must accept that there is no way Don can do everything and one man’s meat will definitely be another man’s poison. The question I suppose is – are these two things such fundamentals that they should never be omitted?

    As regards ‘Crying’, I suspect the reason it was missed in Birmingham was that Don was just not happy his voice was quite ‘in the groove’ on that particular evening. Anyone who hears him sing it live can see it isn’t easy, and he needs to get through an intensive 16 date tour. I find myself holding my breath each time he starts it – it is a bit like watching someone walk a tightrope and wondering if they might fall.

    On the banjo issue let me say this. If Don is guilty of anything it is to take the banjo on stage with the implied suggestion that it will form part of the show and then not to use it. I am not sure he quite realises the way many established fans regard the banjo – they have waited 20+ years to see him pick it up again and I can understand why those fans feel disappointed when it doesn’t happen; indeed I was in the company of one such fan in Sheffield. Only Don can say why he didn’t use it as the audience were clearly willing him to.

    One thing I do feel is that the reviews are starting to lead to a rather unhealthy element of people comparing show content, and getting uptight because something they wanted was in another show but not theirs, or that one show was longer than another, or that there was ‘no encore’. (As a side note on that specific issue, technically there was no encore in Liverpool either, if an encore entails leaving the stage).

    There are many, many artists for whom, when they are touring, you could predict the length of the show to the second and the lighting is beautifully choreographed for each song, as are the inter song comments.

    It would be easy for Don to do that kind of show, spread the big songs in at regular intervals, play a couple of banjo tunes, finish at 10.30 goodnight and god bless. Is that what people really want? Personally I want to hear a real show, performed by real musicians having a great time and playing what is on their minds at the time. Otherwise I may as well just listen to CDs.

    PS. Keep the drummer!

    PPS. Crossroads without Tony’s beautiful piano accompaniment – unthinkable!!!

  9. I have been a Don McLean fan for 30 years, but never again after tonight’s show. The band were good enough but the drummer would perhaps have been more suited to a working mens club. Don’s voice was also good enough, but missed several high notes he used to be able to make. The end of the show was perhaps the worst feature though, singing American Pie and Vincent, which should have been his last after coming back for an encore, but featured instead obscure blues type songs which probably few people in the audience would have known. Everybody was waiting for him to come back for an encore, including apparently his band, but he did not return. He never played his long necked banjo which was placed on the stage, so he must have decided ‘sod it, that’ll do ’em’. Sorry Don, after tonight, as you say ‘there are other people to see’ – you’re off my list.

  10. I agree wholeheardedly with Bill’s comments. I certainly did not want to start debate over what Don should and shouldn’t do in his shows. I too want to go to a show with diversity and not just the same old over. With Don you always get this, just as we did 30 years ago when he first started tourning the UK. I particularly remember him (again at Sheffield City Hall) standing on stage with only his guitar, a stool and a drink and playing for over two hours – it was pure magic and I had to be stopped from talking about the experience for weeks after.

    Times have now changed and we are all (just a little) older – Don’s words and music are still fantistic and I would go and see him if he toured every six months!

    but . . . oh, if only, he had treated us to just him on the stage singing maybe, Empty Chairs, with no accompaniment – just his pure, clear voice (as he did in Liverpool on his previous tour) – pure magic – and just a little of the banjo which we had waited years for him to reintroduce.

    That said, I enjoyed every minute – at Don’s concerts I sit with a smile on my face the whole of the night (and sometimes a tear or two) as I am just so honoured to be in his presence and to listen to him for real.

    As I keep saying PURE MAGIC.

  11. I have to say I have found the comments interesting – and applaud my friend Bill Hamilton for his measured response. Technology can be a real pain – I have attended more Don McLean concerts than I choose to admit and on more than 1 occasion have sat through a show where the banjo has remained on stage unplayed . I have also been to a number of shows where Don has not done an encore. On one occassion in Sydney the promoter was in panic mode because Don had sung too long and they were facing a penalty from the venue for going overtime (cost of ushers etc etc) . Without the internet and these excellent reviews nobody would have been the wiser to what had occured. I know that Don always gives his best – and wants the audience to be happy – Richard I think you comments a little harsh – Don’s percussion player (drums) is one of the best in the business having played on scores of recordings and with some of the worlds greatest performers – any issues would be to do with the sound guys – as for Don’s voice – he’s human – the fact he continues to perform for his fans is a credit to a man who does it for the audience – he has nothing to prove , no need for the money – he performs for us because we ask him too. Please Richard don’t give up ’cause his next show you see will be different – they always are . I ‘ve loved reading these excellent reviews and can’t wait till Australia 2008.

    Bob Gregg

  12. I was absoloutely transfixed for the whole performance…being slightly younger than the average age of the members of the Sheffield audience,I have never seen him live before,although my mum attended the concert he gave in Sheffield 30 yrs ago,and now I can see why she was raving about him for months afterwards! I thought he was every bit as fantastic as he sounds on the recordings I have listened to over and over again,since being a child.

    I agree it was a shame that he didn’t do an encore, but give the man a break!To sing and play at such a high standard for 2 hours with no interval is amazing…I have done gigs myself and needed 5 minutes to catch my breath after 80 mins of performing..
    I felt honoured,though a little nervous as he signed my CD and took time to talk to me…infact I was so flustered I didn’t give him a straight answer when he asked what I did…I’m a music teacher!!
    So, regardless of the negative comments above,I valued every minute of his performance,and pray he comes back to England soon….there are not many songwriters like him in the world….truly heart stopping.Thankyoux

  13. In the past (and probably on this tour) Don has been contracted to sing for 90 mins so these shows of upwards of two hours are giving fans a real bonus. Clearly Liverpool is the place to go for a very special night – the reviews from 2003 and 2000 indicate he loves that venue and responds with one of the shows of the tour. This year’s reviews, including all the different opinions (which we may not always agree with), are brilliant and refreshing and a fantastic effort by all concerned.

  14. Sheffield was a perfect concert. The newly refurbished City Hall and its staff made us feel welcome.
    Don was on stage for over two hours. He played and sang with energy, hardly a moment between songs. Classic favourites sounded fresh, and new items were pure poetry. He and the band were keen we should all have a good time. No worries there as demonstrated by cheers and a standing ovation!
    Don was so nice to his fans, staying behind for over an hour to chat and autograph ‘Legendary.’
    We went home with happy hearts. Thank you, Tony, Ralph, Pat, Jerry and of course, Don McLean.

  15. Re-iterating Sue and Daves comments – Brilliant concert, Love and Best wishes to Don, The Band, and Support for the rest of the tour

  16. I thought Don’s performance and the show was fantastic, I’m just happy I had the chance to listen to a living legend. Being 17 it’s the only show of his I’ve been to but I wouldn’t dream of complaining. As well as hearing him sing the classics, I enjoyed hearing songs that were new to me, so I wouldn’t call them obscure. I especially enjoyed Crossroads, I love that song. I think he’s inspiring.

  17. I enjoyed the concert very much even though
    he didnt play an encore or empty chairs
    but it was a great atmosphere. I couldn’t
    believe that it was don mclean i was seeing
    it was amazing i wish i could see him again
    i got his autograph after the concert
    and i think i was the ONLY KID THERE!!!!!

    1. I am currently on holiday in the Black Forest and after a tiring day walking I have been doodling on my Ipad looking over some old Don McLean fan reviews. I was looking at the reviews from Sheffield City Hall in 2007 when a name jumped right out at me. That name is Jake Kennedy who tells how he loved the show, got Don’s autograph after the show and was the only kid there.
      I am sure that Jake is, 7 years later, the brilliant singer/songwriter Jake Bugg from Nottingham. He grew up as Jake Kennedy and he has often told how Don McLean inspired him . I am a big fan of Jake Bugg and although I live only a few miles away from him I am having to travel to Southend to see him in concert in two weeks time. Jake, I might be the only “oldie” at your show so I hope you will give me your autograph like the great Don did for you! Otherwise you will have to jump on the number1 and come over to see me!!

    2. Great that you got to see him!!! I’m still waiting for my chance, I live in Mexico so probably my chance to see him it’s impossible 😦 but you aren’t the only young man who admires Don, jake!

      1. L, you are quite right, the 12 year old was Jake Kennedy in 2007 when he attended the Sheffield concert. In March 2013 I posted here that Jake Kennedy was in fact the new star Jake Bugg and that was not previously known.
        I cannot find my post on here, which is surprising. Perhaps Alan deleted it accidentally or it has been placed elsewhere on the site. I would like it to be put back on this topic as it is of course a rather important discovery. Over to you Alan.

        1. yes Bill I remember it well and it’s now back here as a reply to the original message by Jake. It was posted when these reviews were on the old Don McLean Fans platform and it must not have been imported when content was moved across.
          This was also the time that Jake wrote his first fan letter to Don via the website. I found it by chance when he wrote to Don again last year resulting in them finally speaking on the phone. Jake tells the story in a recent MTV show which got picked up by some of the press http://www.nme.com/news/jake-bugg/79739 . On the MTV show Jake does an excellent version of part of “General Store” – and Don was very pleased to hear that.

        2. Many thanks for retrieving my post Alan. I would love to hear Jake’s version of General Store. I flew up to Glasgow on 9th October to see Jake at the Royal Concert Hall. On the plane I was with some of Jake’s cousin’s band who were supporting him and I travelled into the city with them and I told them about finding the Jake Kennedy post. They wanted me to meet Jake but could not get any response from him by phone or text during the hour or so I was with them. He lives near me so I am sure we will meet up.
          His concert was nothing short of sensational….the greatest ovation I have ever heard. Don would have been very proud of him.

        3. Great to hear about the Glasgow adventure and near encounter – hopefully you’ll meet up soon. It may be beyond me to get the Jake Bugg video from the Sky box to youtube but I’ll look into it.

  18. I too was a bit disappointed by the lack of encore at Sheffield concert, but hey we are all getting a wee bit older and Don did give us almost two hoursworth of musical heaven – and it was great that he signed cd.s after the show. See you next time Don. xx

  19. Bill, quite agree, the piano is part of Crossroads but where I was sitting at least, it sometimes took over – as did the snare? drum.
    As all these diverse comments show – you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but …… ‘tho’ Don sure did his best to please all! Can’t wait for Brighton!

  20. Whilst I don’t agree with everything that is said in here, I unreservedly support people’s right to say what they think, and well done to the site for not censoring any reviews (as far as I know!!). I’d love to be a fly on the wall if Don and the band read through this lot!!

    I’ll be in Brighton too, after a little sojourn to the Emerald Isle and the Olympia…one of the best places to see Don in my book. And for those wondering…yes I do work – sometimes!!

  21. My two “surrogate big brothers” two fans I have again met through the web site accompanied me to see Don and to make sure their “little sister” didn’t go completely of the rails seeing Don again , I mean 4 concerts in one week is pure heaven. I am now completely unbearable to live with as all I want to do is tell everyone how fantastic Don is .

    Don thanked the audience profusely for supporting him and continuing to follow him and his music all these years. I have always loved Dons music because what you see and hear is what you get, no frills just brilliant music by a fabulous guy supported by stunning musicians.
    His voice gets better and better. Ok so he doesn’t always hit those high notes but the range in his voice and the way he uses his voice like another instrument is beautiful and when he sings those low notes it sends shivers down my spine .I smiled when I read Bills comments about holding his breath when Don starts Crying so there were two of us doing that .
    Disappointing about the banjo but its always a different concert and this night we were treated to It Dosen’t Matter Any more and Someone to Watch Over You which was heaven to hear.Again I never ever go to a concert wanting a particular song as we all have our favourites and he’d never please us all would he but that’s because he has such a range of songs and styles. There is no one like him.
    The band never know what he is going to sing apart for the opening number which gives you just a quick clue to just how brilliant they all .
    About the encore, Don had told us both in Liverpool and Manchester he was too lazy to go off and come back and do an encore so we did get our encore he just didn’t tell us. He was and is still out of this world and when I gave him a rose and shook hands with afterwards he was absolutely gorgeous and I remain on Cloud 9, can’t wait for the RAH .

  22. i disagree with those expectin an encore he was brill all night sang all his best songs non stop come back soon don.after seein don in the mid eighties at york barbican he went off ill after less than an hour it was a privelidge to watch him non stop

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s