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  1. There is no such thing as a bad Don McLean concert, some just work out better than others for a whole variety of reasons.

    Don sang very well on the night , with his rendition of Stardust being an absolute stand-out. He had to resort to sucking candies at times as the air conditioning in the hall was making his throat dry.

    I have to say that the overall concert experience was not as good as I have experienced before. I have seen Don perform many times.

    The acoustics in the hall were good, Don sang very well and the band was great, just as you would expect from a crack Nashville team. So what stopped this from being a great concert.

    Well, for one thing I could see from my balcony seat that the hall was around 80% full, unusual for Glasgow which normally sells out. The support act, Emily Maguire came on unannounced at 8.00pm and ended her set at 8.25pm. There was no announcement of an interval and it seemed a long time before Don came on stage at 9.00pm.
    The audience seemed to me to be muted , apart from American Pie of course when they got into the spirit . Don chose not to do any sing-alongs, perhaps he had sensed that this audience was not ripe for participation.

    At 10.35pm the concert came to an abrupt end and the lights went up immediately. It seemed as if there may have been time limits set on Don, but if that is the case 9.00pm was too late to start. I feel sure this long delay before starting affected the mood of the audience. I spoke to a few people and they all thought there was going to be a big finale with the banjo prominent . Not to be which is a pity as so many were looking forward to hearing the banjo.

    To sum up, it was a good singing performance from Don but the concert experience did not hit the heights.

    Original Post: October 20. Pictures added: October 22.

  2. Androo’s review, objectively, is pretty much perfectly how i viewed manchester. there is no reason for a band not to sound good with don – this one just doesn’t

  3. I travelled up to Glasgow from West Yorkshire to visit a friend and see Don. We were surprised that the Royal Concert Hall was so full and Don got a huge reception.
    Support from Emily something or other was pleasant enough but forgettable, which is par for the course these days.
    Having read reviews of earlier shows I was worried that the sound balance would be poor, but it was adequate for me in the stalls.
    The truth is though that the band is one of the worst I’ve heard in some time. They are unsubtle, too loud, pretty uninteresting to listen to, and seem to have no ability to get close to the feel of the original songs. They’re like a school band.
    Take Winterwood for instance. This is a terrific little song that really needs to be done with subtlety, rising just a bit to the highlights of the chorus, but mainly keeping a jogging rhythm, keeping it light. But the band seem to only play at one speed. They steamrollered the song in the clumsiest possible way. It was horrible.
    And to be frank, whenever the band got hold of a song, they pretty much did the same. With songs like Headroom, or Have You Seen Me it doesn’t really matter much, but they turned If We Try into a muddy racket.
    I wouldn’t just sack the drummer – I’d sack the lot of them.
    Don would be much better doing the whole thing alone, because although I don’t agree that Don was ‘just like he used to be’, he wasn’t bad, on the whole. He made the high notes of Crying easily enough, but the tension of waiting to see if he will somewhat spoils the song for me.
    Empty Chairs, just with guitar, was for me the highlight, and the closest he got to recapturing the old magic. Starry Starry Night was pretty good too, despite the usual phrasing issues others mention, but when the keyboards came in, it sounded like a teenager practising the bontempi he got for Christmas.
    We got an unaccompanied Civil War song that took the audience by surprise somewhat. I don’t think it went down too well though and seemed out of place. Bit embarrassing.
    However, I don’t want to sound too negative. The Glasgow audience were the saving grace and were so determined to have a good time that everybody really did.
    In fact, we were having such a good time that it was a bit of a suprise, to say the least, that we didn’t get an encore, and the banjo that had been sitting there all through was never touched. A shame.
    So, it was fun, but objectively, it wasn’t up to scratch, mainly thanks to the band. Get rid of them, Don!

  4. I attended Don’s concert last night at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. On the whole it was a very enjoyable evening although I would have preferred more from his early back catalogue. Winterwood, Vincent and of course American Pie were excellent as with others too numerous to mention especially a beautiful rendition of the Mountains of Mourne. On the downside the backing band were on occasion too loud and the drummer was more akin to ‘Animal” on the Muppets. Some of the audience as Don commented appeared to be recently deceased. Don promised to play banjo but didn’t. The highlight was when he stayed behind and signed his latest CD for the fans. Thanks Don.

  5. Saw Don for the first time at Glasgow last night.

    Heard him say on radio that he reates the Concert Hall as his third favourite venue in the world behind Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. Certainly the sound was impressive and Don was on fine form.

    My only issue? – that little “gap” at the start of each line of lyrics in every one of his great songs (Vincent it was most obvious on) where Don fails to start singing and is forced to almost rush to finish the line on time with the music ! Almost like someone doing a Karaoke version of Don McLean…

    Having said this, let me say that I thought the quality of Don’s voice and guitar-playing was simply superb. In a world where “Legends” come and go too easily, this is one guy who has earned the tag – and can prove it.

    Thanks Don…

  6. I attended last night’s concert and enjoyed every moment of it. It was the first time that I had seen Don and what an incredible performer. I have been to many concerts in my life but I think Don McLean and Chuck Berry are the only true legends that I have had the pleasure to hear.

    I hope Don comes back to Glasgow often.

  7. I attended the Glasgow concert with my wife. I was in my teens in Arizona when American Pie was first released; I loved it then & still do now. This is the first time I have seen Don perform, and greatly enjoyed the show. He has a very welcoming stage presence. I hope he comes again.

  8. I attended last nights concert in Glasgow and although I have been a fan since AP when I was a teenager, this was my first opportunity to hear Don singing live. What a concert! and What a voice! Come back to Glasgow soon Don.

  9. Another brief note from your roving reporter…

    This was the first time I had been to a concert in the Royal Concert Hall in my native city and I have to say I was hugely impressed by the sound. I would love to drag the people who said that there were no issues with the sound in Cardiff into that hall to show them what decent sound is like!

    Don’s voive sounded great despite him still suffering because of the dry atmosphere and what we got was wonderfully delivered. From my superb seat (in the raised section behind the stalls and pretty central) I heard every word of Don’s vocal very clearly even on the louder songs.

    This ended up being the shortest set of the tour without any ‘sit-down’ acoustic at all…no dobro and no banjo…which was a disappointment. The lights went up so quickly at the end I wonder if there was some misunderstanding and the staff expected AP to be the finale.

    Don certainly seeemed in good humour both on stage and during the signing after, which I was watching while waiting for others.

  10. Further to my first comments of the Glasgow concert I just wanted to add that although it was a wonderful evening, I was so disappointed that Don never came back for an encore and that he didn’t play the banjo. I had taken my sister along who had never seen Don and I was going on about his superb banjo playing. Also, I would have loved to have heard Don singing with just his acoustic guitar – some of the time it was hard to hear him above the electric guitars and piano playing so the songs were lost. Please Don, get back to basics !

  11. What a performance. I loved every minute of it. Of course we were disappointed he didn’t play this or that, or play the banio … but what the heck, it was a real performance. Just because he doesn’t play YOUR particular favourite, doesn’t make it a bad concert. There’s so much in his repertoire to like. Anyone who can sing acapella while sooking on a sweetie has got to be some kind of star … I kept expected the Werther’s Original to pop out and hit someone in the third row!
    I thought the American Pie near the end was one of the best i’d ever heard him sing in Glasgow … he enjoyed it, we enjoyed it and that’s the secret of a great concert. The sound was great in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and Tony Migliore continues to amaze on the piano and keyboards, often at the same time. What a star … just wish there had been a Corssroads to really show what a talented player he is. By the way, Don’s new CD/DVD combo, The Legendary Don McLean, was sold out at the end of the show.
    Hope he’s back again next year and in the same venue (tho0ugh it was nice to be at the Carling Acadamey and have a drink while watching).

  12. Amazing,just amazing. I have heard American Pie for so many years on the radio and TV and to be there tonight and see the man sing it was …..amazing. Thanks Don for visiting Glasgow and I look forward to your return. Brilliant performance from an absolute legend of music. Thanks again.

  13. Just got back from the Glasgow Concert and it was fabulous. I went to just about every one of Don’s concerts in the 70s and 80s and this was such a thrill to be back seeing him again. His voice is as good as ever, his rapport with the audience great and his new upbeat range had us all moving. His rendition of American Pie was one of the best and most exciting I have seen with the audience on its feet. Don also stayed behind afterwards, for signing, chatting and photos. A great evening.

  14. Have seen Don in concert many times over the years, and his voice is as good as ever.
    However, tonight he was sometimes competing with his backing band to be heard.
    My husband agrees the drummer should be sacked, and he’s no great fan of the bassist either! (He used to play in a band himself, so I guess he should know what he’s talking about!)

    The set lasted around 95 minutes, with no encore or banjo.

    Would love to see him again, perhaps with just him, his guitar, and a pianist.

  15. Have seen Don a number of times over the years, and his voice is as good as ever.
    However, his backing band almost drowned out his vocals on some of the songs.
    My husband agrees the drummer should be sacked, and wasn’t a big fan of the bassist either. (He used to play in a band himself, so I guess he knows what he’s talking about!)
    The set was shorter than we expected, at around 1 hour 35 minutes, and no encore or banjo.
    I’d love for him to do a concert where it was just him, his guitar, and maybe a piano.

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