Leave a Comment

  1. Just in reply to Hannahs report above, I would like to have the chance to clear something up. Her statement “But Bill H, (referred to elsewhere in these reviews as one of the “usual suspects”) …….” is taking out of context a comment I made on my post about the Dublin concert in the Olympia Theatre on October 20th.
    When I mentioned the usual suspects were hanging around the stage door waiting for Don to appear, I did not mean to target anyone in particular. Perhaps the phrase I should have used instead was “the greatest hits brigade”. These would be the people who only have one or two albums ( American Pie and Tapestry most likely) and any one of the greatest hits cds that have been issued over the years. You can also be sure that they won’t have The Clearwater album in their collection or the River of Love album either, if they even know it exists. Perhaps an advert on the radio or television is what spurred them on to buys tickets and to attend a Don McLean show. The existence of this fan site and forum would be unknown to them and the mere idea of setting their thoughts down in writing on the show they have just seen would be completely alien to them. Let me say I am not running these fans down, for without them Don would not be filling the halls like he is on these tours.
    The last time Don played the Olympia, Dublin in August 2005, when he exited from the stage door a melee occured. My wife was nearly knocked to the ground by a “fan” who pushed his way through to Don and proffered a copy of Tapestry for him to sign. On turning the LP over to sign the back, Don was faced with the sight of his photo where someone had drawn on it, glasses, a moustache and some of his teeth blackened with a pen. In all fairness to Don he signed it without a word. It was the memory of this and as I said the scrum that ensued at that time that made us head for home.
    So Hannah, let me finish by saying that you jumped to the wrong conclusion, I do not know Bill H, I wouldn’t know him if he stood in front of me but from what I have read of his postings on this site, he certainly could not be considered ” one of the usual suspects “.

  2. I absolutely loved this concert. Don could have designed it just for me! I hadn’t been planning to go due to severe financial constraints and I also wondered if it might be an anticlimax after the Albert Hall. But Bill H, (referred to elsewhere in these reviews as one of the “usual suspects”) having offered me a billet for the night at his flat in London after the Albert Hall and again the following night on return from Canterbury, plus a lift down there, all I had to find was the money for the ticket and the whole thing was handed to me on a plate in effect.

    Things could have gone either way. Having got the “big” concert over, this being the last one, Don and the band could have just opted to provide the basic package and scarper, and who could have blamed them if they had? But it went the other way and myself and the audience were treated to a night of pure magic.

    When we arrived at the theatre to collect my ticket at about 3.15 pm there were two people questioning a man at the stage door (Luc and Karen) who had come over from Belgium especially to get Don’s autograph on a few items, but particularly a photograph of Luc at the spot where Buddy Holly’s plane had crashed as Luc was an ardent Buddy Holly fan. They stayed waiting for Don to appear and Bill and myself went and settled ourselves in a bar across the road from the theatre. It turned out that Luc and Karen had a long wait as Don and the band did not appear until about 5.15pm and were in a rush, having been held up in traffic. Even so Don had signed one of Luc’s items and promised to do some more after the show so that was nice for him.

    The rest of the time until the commencement of the show at 7.30pm passed quickly enough. We met another Don fan, Alan Young at the door. We all had individual seats dotted around the theatre as we had all booked late and separately so we split up and went off to find our individual seats. I was lucky as the people next to me did not turn up so I moved into one of their seats and had plenty of room rather than being sandwiched in like a kipper as we have been for some concerts.

    There was no dress circle in this hall, just one set of seats going backwards and upwards. It was well designed as there was a clear view from all the seats. Sadly they’re planning to knock it down and build a new one. The proposed replacement might be state of the art but I doubt somehow that it will have such a nice atmosphere.

    Don started with the usual selection of Buddy Holly numbers. Then early on he sang “To Have And To Hold” which is a great song but one which Don doesn’t perform that often. And things just got better and better. He played “Fashion Victim” which is one of my favourites. And Don actually asked for some requests!

    “My Best To You” was the song that came to mind as one I like to hear. Don sang that one by request at Tunbridge Wells in 2003 and as it was one of my favourites I asked for him to do it at Plymouth the following night – and he did sing a verse of it then, though the atmosphere wasn’t quite right for it on that occasion. But tonight I thought nooooo – he won’t do that one it’s too rarefied so I didn’t add my voice to the requests which were being shouted out. In the end Don opted for a western song – which suited me fine. I just love those western songs he does! And he did a few of those tonight.

    Then he picked up the banjo at an early stage and launched into “Billy the Kid”. Alleluia!!! Then what did he opt to play? “My Best To You”! On the banjo. Omigod! I was just soooo thrilled.

    Don played quite a bit of instrumental stuff on the banjo with Pat accompanying on the dobro and it was perfect. He also played “Masters Of War”. I should mention that Tony also had a lovely string sound going on the keyboards for “And I Love You So” and several other numbers. Jerry also seemed on good form tonight and got up and received a big cheer when Don was introducing the band and indicated that toy versions of Jerry would be in the shops very shortly (presumably because Jerry with his incredible head of hair and his enthusiastic drumming is reminiscent of “Animal” in the Muppets!)

    When Don launched into “If You Could Read My Mind” the man next to me visibly sat to attention. He had told me beforehand that he was a Gordon Lightfoot fan but that Gordon’s voice now was not what it was following a severe illness. I think he was pleased with Don’s version. I certainly was!

    I’m not usually that enthusiastic about the happy clappy version of American Pie that Don does these days as it’s 8 minutes long as it is and now he adds a repeat of the first verse in as well so it takes up 10 – 15 minutes of time when I personally would rather hear lesser known songs. Also I prefer to sit and listen to the song rather than jumping around. On this occasion though, Don actually left American Pie till the end, and having received everything I could possibly ask for in a Don concert I was more than happy to join in. I just wished he could have done that at the Albert Hall last night as two of our group, who are banjo freaks like myself, had to leave early and missed Don’s banjo slot.

    Don was very relaxed afterwards and spent a long time signing CDs etc and we got to ask him about possible future concerts. Luc got his photo signed and several other items as well so he was ecstatic.

    Bill, Alan Y and myself stood outside the theatre chatting for some time afterwards and Don’s tour bus came out into the front car park. A lady had parked her car very awkwardly blocking half the exit and the lady in question who was stood by the front door of the theatre saw the bus and said would it help if she moved her car. We all nodded that that would seem to be a very good idea but it took her a while as she was disabled. The poor lady was very flustered and kept apologising to us as if we were the ones she was holding up! But it meant that we were able to wave to Don and the band as their bus pulled away.

    And so ended another Don tour. All in all it was a really pleasant conclusion. Thanks Don, Tony, Pat, Ralph and Jerry. And thanks to Bill H. too without whose hospitality I would have missed this brilliant show.

  3. This was a wonderful evening. One of the best concerts I have ever been too. I have grown up listening to Don’s music and I think his lyrics are inspiring to people of all ages.

  4. a superb performance from a great song writer.
    very good support from emily mcguire.
    dons band was amazing and loved his humour about
    canterbury / chaucer / festive / etc.
    chaucerians !!!
    great covers of buddy holly, bob dylan songs.
    also his own great writing , castles in the air , and i love you so ( perry como hit) vincent and of course
    american pie.
    wel done don and band – thank you for a great evening – please come back again to the marlowe.

  5. Took us back to our youth when we last saw Don at the Albert Hall about 30 years ago. He is still as talented and memorable as he was then. Especially loved Starry Starry Night, come back soon.

  6. Great evening although not the Albert Hall! Hope the next visit to Canterbury will be in a newly built Marlow Theatre. First tine Don for us –wonderful entertainment. Support act was good too . Can we be reminded of her name please

  7. A superb show which ran for almost two hours and was preceded by a talented songstress performing her own songs. This is the first time I’ve seen Don live but I’ve heard many of his songs as my wife has a number of his albums. His performance was faultless and his backing musicians were excellent. I was too late to buy one of the CDs for sale in the theatre, but Don was kind enough to sign our tickets as a memento of the show. A great evening – -thanks Don

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.