35 thoughts on “London – May 7th

  1. Just got back after a long tiring day which included 30 minutes listening to Lesley, a frantic taxi ride to Victoria station for a midnight train, and two full hours on the last train (the drunks train).

    The show was almost the same as Bournemouth, with no Oh My What a Shame, no Magdalene lane.

    Ok, we got Mountains of Mourne . . . but the BANJO stayed on it’s stand unplayed. That’s two shows in a row it has sat tantalisingly on the stage.

    Either Don does not read the web reports – or maybe he does not care??????????

    No banjo for Wanda on this tour, sob, maybe in another three years???

  2. Don McLean was at his very best performing for 2 hours to more than 5000 fans, young and older, at the Royal Albert Hall tonight. A fantastic show and a rich variety of songs, including Crossroads, Everyday, Mountains of Mourne, Winterwood, Believers, It’s Just the Sun, Addicted to Black, Fashion Victim, Someone to Watch Over me (dedicated to his wife, who was in the audience), And I Love You So, and an unbeatable encore of Vincent and Castles in the Air. Don’s band – Tony Migliore, Jerry Kroon, Ralph Childs and Vip Vipperman – were brilliant. Don’s support act – Lesley Roley – looked and sounded sensational and one day soon, I am sure, will be headlining at the Albert Hall in her own right. Lesley is a major star in the making.

  3. My husband and I have booked tickets for the Roal Albert Hall concert Don Mc Lean.
    We looked so forward to this. It was a lot of money we have spent, including the tube, taxis and so on.
    Very unfortunately I felt very ill and urged my husband to call an amublance.
    As he knows, I am not a hypochondriac.
    So, we went to the hospital were we stayed for about 5 hours.
    I had the best care, just a long wait, but the Doctors and nurses were phantastic.
    I have been diagnosed with a strange ear disease.
    I just feel so very sorry for my husband, that he missed out on this special occasion.
    I am so glad that you enjoyed and hope that we can see this special artist some time.

    Ingrid

  4. Agree with everything Alan H says above and also Wanda on the banjo and had a really wonderful time.

    Maybe I am getting old, but after the fantastic sweet voice of Lesley with her brilliant sound engineer making the most of the Royal Albert Hall’s acoustics, I thought that the bass and volume on Dons performance were cranked so far up, we lost some of the wonder of the acoustical magic that Don is famous for. Was it just me?

    Thank you Don, Lesley and band for a great performance

  5. Thanks Don for a great night – 35 years on from my last night of your music you still cut the mustard, and this time with an incredibly accomplished band. I don’t think anyone else could pull off such a range of style – amazing.

    Just one whinge – I’m not sure if this is one for the promoter or for the Royal Albert Hall management. Quite a few people were leaving early, which I in no way feel reflects on the quality of your product! Rather it’s a London-commuting-home problem, which I’d suggest starting future central London concerts at 7.30 instead of 8 would solve.

    Keep up the inspiration!

  6. Oh Wanda, why did you bother to go? It’s hardly Don’s fault that you had to rush to get home. And were you actually at the same concert we were? There was only one way to describe last night – brilliant. An unbroken two hour set is no mean feat. Yes Don’s slowed down and there were many personal favourites that he didn’t sing, but hey you can’t please all the people all of the time. The lyrics are still as sharp as ever. Backing band were cracking. It was obvious that Don and co were there because they were enjoying what they do and they wanted to audience along for the ride. As for Lesley Roley – it would be nice to say that she’s a star in the making, but that would mean getting Cowell’s attention! Beautiful voice, alternatively sweet and biting lyrics (Mr Sad is brilliant!), that lovely Geordie accent and self-deprecating manner. Lesley deserves to be very successful. One last thing Wanda – didn’t anyone ever tell you that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything!

  7. A great nights entertainment and Don comes across as a genuinely nice guy who enjoys his music. Along with his band and Lesley Roley, it was nice to hear quality performers, rather than the usual ” x factor” rubbish we see on TV.

    i agree about the timing of the the concert but once again the accoustics of the RAH, prove that it is the best music venue in London, leaving the 02 well behind.

  8. Don gave us a wonderful show last night,with a wide range of great songs as usual!I want to put a proper review here later, but for now I want to ask if anyone sees any pictures/reviews in the press, could they let us know? Also I want to ask if any fan might be willing to email me a couple of photos from the night-as I am in the doghouse due to leaving my camera at home!My email is dfmc4@hotmail.com. They’d be for my mum!
    It was a shame that the banjo wasn’t used, but he can’t fit everything he may want to do, into a 2hr set.A great 2hr set is all we can ask for! You got the feeling the officials wanted to clear the place out pretty quickly after 11. We enjoyed it so much anyway.

  9. I have been a fan of Dons for over thirty five years and this was the first opportunity I have had of seeing him live. I was disappointed that the show started at 8.00pm with half an hour of Lesley, good as she was, and agree with Mary B that the show should have started earlier. My wife and I, although living not far from London took two hours to get home! Anyway enough of the whinging. I thought Don was great and although the sound engineer turned the wick up later in the concert emphasising the bass notes it did not detract from an excellent concert. I missed some of Don’s old songs which I was looking forward to hearing e.g., Chain Lightning but there you go can’t have everything. But two hours of Don made up for my earlier disappointment. what a master craftsmen of his art he is wioth songs which inspire and are thought provoking. Can someone tell me please what the title of the song is about smashing whisky on a grave?

  10. We had a fantastic time and just want to thank Don for playing one of my all time favourite songs, ‘Homeless Brother’! Never thought it would make the playlist so it was all the more wonderful for it being unexpected. There are quite a few covers it’s true, but hey – the man is a legend, and has certainly earned the right to play whatever he feels like, in my opinion. He could sing the contents of the Yellow Pages and it would sound fab!

  11. Regarding the late start, we had exactly the same comments three years ago, only then (26th October 2007) it was Emily Maguire at 8pm and Don from 9 to 11, with many people leaving to catch trains. I don’t understand the timing – when Proms are held in the RAH, they end at 10.30pm sharp as they know people have to get home. Don does not need ANY support, if you know what I mean.

    Certainly I enjoyed the concert, Don was truly excellent. Should not have written my earlier review while extremely tired!!! Missing the banjo was a minor niggle as this was the second show in a row that I had been to where he did not play it, and I had already read reviews here about how **wonderfully** received it was in the previous NINE shows. Oh and I have an excellent video of Homeless Brother, one of my all time favourites. Must get it on YouTube.

  12. Absolutely great concert, Dons voice was in fine form. It was two hour set that went in five minutes or so it seemed. He is so laid back and when he talks to the audience it is as though he is speaking to old friends. The warmth and humour shine through, a very charming man who also has a unique voice. Someone to watch over me was magic as was Homeless Brother but loved it all. If you get a chance anytime go and see him live.

  13. I’ve been a fan of Don’s for many years and this was my first time seeing him live. I agree with some other comments about missing a few favourites, Wonderful Baby / Sister Fatima / Dreidel would have been nice, however I thought the set was awesome in its musicianship, variety and length. I too kept looking at the other guitar and banjo wondering if they would be incorporated but I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and think we may have a future star in Lesley Roley. I waa a little confused at the end when he walked off, the band were still playing and people were heading for the exits. Did the show over-run or is this how they normally end?

  14. It was just brilliant. Loved every minute. Great mix of old and new songs and a touch of fun. Didnt feel that different from the last time we saw him at the Royal Albert Hall, just more grey hair in the audience. Dons voice certainly was still the same. Despite only living an hour and half away we splashed out on a hotel for the night just 3 mins walk away which was usefull with the late finish. A perfect evening. Thanks Don.

  15. What a great night. It was the first time I have seen him live and was not disappointed. His friendly, easy going style made you feel he was performing to a room full of friends. Someone to watch over me actually made me cry. We have been married for 31 years and my husband Keith would never dream of dedicating a song to me. Lesley was great as a ‘warm up’ and deserves to be recognised in her own right. What was it now “I Like the Flowers, I like the daffodils…..”

  16. Fab, fab night. Lesley Roley is a cracking singer and what a lovely stage personality. Don took me back 28 years to the last time I saw him at the Glasgow Apollo when I was a student. My husband bought me the tickets as a birthday present and I expected it to be a nostalgic trip down memory lane. My husband thought he had bought the tickets purely to indulge me and wasn’t expecting to enjoy it at all. How wrong we were..It one of the best nights ever! How can Don still sound so brilliant after all this time Lovely to hear Castles in the Air, Winterwood, Crossroads and especially Homeless Brother as well as all the other great songs I thought I’d forgotten. Found I still remembered every word!

  17. The Royal Albert Hall is generally considered the showpiece performance of the tour, and I know Don loves playing in this magnificent Victorian edifice. The building and its surrounds are hugely impressive and its several levels were pretty much full for the show last night.

    It was great to build up to the show by meeting a number of fellow fans for dinner and to exchange reminiscences. This is a huge benefit conferred by the Internet, which has allowed fans to easily make contact with fellow addicts and stay in touch between tours. I hugely value the friends I have within the fan base – Don seems to appeal to some genuinely nice people and it was great to meet many of them last night.

    A few people here have commented that the concert should have started earlier, comments which I heartily endorse and made after the last RAH show in 2007! If there is to be a support act, the concert should start at 7.30, allowing Don to start at 8.30 and finish around 10.30. There seems to me to be no logical reason why this shouldn’t be the case. In my view it would be sensible for all the shows, but is particularly so for Central London (actually the RAH isn’t that central!) where people are generally reliant on public transport and often have a 30 minute or more journey even to reach a mainline station. Like at least one other poster, I took the decision to stay over near the hall along with some other fans, even though I live in south east London.

    Whilst the RAH is pretty to look at, it has never been noted for its acoustic properties and many attempts have been made to try and improve it over the years. However, there is a reason why they don’t build oval concert halls any more. The sound from our box located near the stage at the lowest (loggia) level made Don’s voice sound very echoey and the band at some times indistinct. It was by some margin the worst sound I have heard so far on the tour and not a patch on Bristol in particular. I am not blaming anyone for this, just making the point that from previous experience I know not to go to the RAH for optimal aural experience! If you really want to hear Don and the band in the most favourable environment, my recommendation would be to snap up one of the few tickets remaining at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which I thought had the best sound on the last tour.

    Against this background Don and the band still produced an excellent performance as can be seen from the other reviews. I can fully understand Wanda’s frustration that the banjo wasn’t played again. For me personally this is not a huge deal but it is undoubtedly tantalising to many people to see it sitting on the stage for 2 hours only to remain unused. Somebody asked about the end to the show. Because Don does different things in a different order every night, the ending is always unpredictable and I must admit that last night’s looked a bit odd and frankly rather anticlimactic. However, that is just Don’s way. It would be easy for him to produce a choreographed duplicate show every night accompanied by sophisticated lighting effects. As someone attending multiple shows on the tour I much prefer the honesty of Don’s way of doing things. Rather like you don’t go to the RAH for its acoustic, if you are attending a Don show for the special effects you are in the wrong place. No smoke and mirrors are involved – ever.

    After a long wait we were able to meet Don briefly at the stage door. However, the asinine behaviour of a few people (I hesitate to use the word fans) meant that he quickly headed for the bus, and you couldn’t blame him. A couple of people seemed to be clinging on to him, and not with his apparent permission. There was also a guy taking photographs who could only have been from Nasal Hair Weekly as he had his camera about an inch from Don’s nose. He was lucky not to end up with a knuckle sandwich and would certainly have got one if he had been that much in my face!!

    Looking forward to heading to Belfast on Monday (volcanoes permitting) and then on to the said Glasgow concert on Wednesday. Yes, I am quite mad!  What chance of Tapestry along the way I wonder???

  18. So sorry that someone above saw fit to personally attack me in quite an irritable fashion. I do say a lot of nice things on a daily basis about Don but constructive criticism is fair and does not deserve to be snapped at.

    I am a long standing fan of Don, of 38 years and was merely expressing my deep disappointment that the banjo which I have lobbied hard for these last few months, with YouTube videos, campaigns, and personal messages to Don, was not played for a second consecutive show. If I had been a betting person, I would have put money on Don playing it last night.

    To show how keen I am about Don, here is a newly uploaded video of Homeless Brother, which I shot last night. It adds to the many other Don McLean videos I have on my profile.

  19. Truly accomplished performance. I have heard those wonderful songs so many times and over so many years but last night, they were somehow stunning, almost magical. The band understood Don McLean and vice verse. The feeling amongst the crowd was unbelievable and that was clear by the standing ovation, cheering and total support. You held us completely. Your music shines as much as ever and so do you. Don’t ever stop.

  20. Wonderful night. As a long time devotee- nineteen seventy something I particularly appreciated Crossroads & Someone To Watch Over Me. (I particularly liked the new songs as well.)
    Don has a natural flair for live performance – as Pam said it he was playing for a group of friends. The only other people I know who can create that sort of atmosphere are Bram Taylor and Wizz Jones.

    Wanda – you will remember the great concert long after you have forgotten the trains, buses etc.

  21. Had a great night, the Albert Hall rocked. Been a fan for years sung along to every song enjoyed myself tremendously. My favourite songs are ‘winterwood’, ‘castles in the air’, . thosetwo songs were worth the ticket price on thier own. Was looking forward to concert all week had lyrics in my head all week, so glad that you sang most of them. You are a true poet and a genius with words. Floated all the way home while singing your lyrics on the tube. Hope to see you again, will remember it forever. also enjoyed lesley reminded me of a young Eva Cassidy.
    Don’t leave it too long before you tour London again.

  22. Hi Wanda – when I read your post it was obviously written at a time when you were tired – most posters to this forum would have realised this . I can assure you we have all posted things over the years which we wished we could recall – anyhow I appreciate your comments – Some notes on start times etc Normally a venue has a clearout clause – the artist must be off stage and venue cleared by a certain time – perhaps explaining the strange ending .As for support acts Don traditionally has one often the ARTISTS UNION has agreements that overseas acts will have a local support act . I guess the problem with an early start would be for people coming into London from work etc not an easy situation . Anyhow I am thrilled for all of you to see you enjoying Don McLean – it has made a difficult week very much easier . Cheers everyone .

  23. I write this a little belatedly, having made my volcano-threatened journey from London after the RAH concert over to Dublin where I am to complete the weekend of a lifetime. Don McLean at the RAH on Friday, my other hero Ray Davies at the Grand Canal Theatre Dublin on Saturday then Don McLean at the Grand Canal Theatre on Sunday. It just does not get better than that and I was so determined to see all three that I bought both plane and ferry tickets from London to Dublin to beat Mr Volcano. Even those well laid schemes nearly came to grief when my train out to Gatwick Airport was cancelled 2 minutes prior to departure and a long queue of angry commuters besieged the Information Desk. Enough of that, I will say more about the inevitable comparison between Don and Ray another time.

    For those who haven’t been there, The Royal Albert Hall is a huge classic hall where 5000 people can get swallowed up and spread all around the interior so that you don’t realise how many are there until you step into the hall itself. I was sat in the arena and to get there is like wandering through some subterranean warren where the Phantom Of The Opera could live undiscovered for centuries. Performing there is the pinnacle for most artistes and for a newcomer like Lesley Roley it must have been quite frightening. But Lesley got dolled up in a long dress and got her Mam down to see her and by the end of her 30 minute spot she was so at one with the occasion that she produced her camera and proceeded to take photos of the audience from her stool on centre stage. We have found a girl with great ability and personality and good things beckon for Lesley. Good luck and many thanks pet. Some years ago another young lady supported Don McLean on a British Tour. She played the piano and sang and could tell a great story and she went on to become that great star, Victoria Wood. Lesley could be next in that line.

    Most of us agree that Don produced a great performance at the RAH and the audience response is testament to that. Some of us see Don perform so often that we form our own selfish views on what he must or must not perform, placing Don in an impossible position. As ever he has an easy answer and he told us again on Saturday that we would get “what I do”. However, in mitigation, Mr McLean , you can be a proper tease at times with that banjo prominentlydisplayed and all the pangs of Tantallus coursing through certain members of the audience!!

    The sound at the RAH concert has been criticised but I doubt if it is the hall, after all we all loved it in 2007, no complaints then about the sound. There was certainly an echo chamber effect to Don’s voice, something I have never heard before in numerous Don McLean concerts . This was not reverb but a distinct echo which was audible after each word. I believe this was added at the mixing desk and it is something many singers utilise in order to enhance their vocals. Maybe Don’s insurance against the volcanic ash effects. In addition to a bottle of Becks of course. Why not?

    I have to say that I think it is becoming increasingly difficult for Don to sing some of his many many songs. It is natural for vocal range to alter as we age and most singers could not even attempt to sing some songs which Don has always made look effortless but is assuredly not effortless. On Saturday I saw again that Bronco Bill’s Lament , my favourite Don song, is moving out of his range and I doubt I will ever hear it sung live again as it was originally.

    A very entertaing and interesting setlist was as follows:-

    Buddy Holly Medley
    Its Just The Sun
    Winterwood
    Homeless Brother
    Don welcomes us to the Post Election party and said he hoped whoever got elected had had 1 real job previously!!
    Empty Chairs
    Nice story about Perry Como and how he sang And I Love You So to his wife on their 60th Anniversary
    And I Love You So
    Story of how Merle Travis and his 3 finger picking style influenced the emergence of Rockabilly and in that unique style Don performed I Dont Care If The Sun Don’t Shine and That’s All Right Mama
    Key To The Kingdom
    Love Hurts ( great guitar work from Vip on this one)
    Crying
    Tulsa Time ( super play from Vip and Tony)
    Bronco Bill’s Lament
    Crossroads
    Someone To Watch over me (dedicated to his wife Patrisha who was in the audience)
    Addicted To Black
    Believers (great work again from Vip)
    Fashion Victim
    Everyday
    Mountains Of Mourne
    American Pie (Eeeeeeextended version)
    Vincent
    Castles In The Air

    Thanks again to Don and the Band for a great night. See you in Dublin.

    Bill N

  24. This was our first Don McLean concert having been fans since the 70s. We enjoyed the songs he played and it was a good night but I thought it a bit sneaky ending with American Pie not having played Vincent and reserving this for an encore. I was just getting disappointed as it’s my favourite number – I also missed ‘Dreidel’ which I like a lot. Anyway at least he played Vincent – his delivery and presence is masterful and this was great entertainment, also an excellent backing band.

  25. Bill N

    Thanks for the set list. I always go into the “zone” when I see Don Mclean and muddle up the set list. Enjoy tonight & thank you Don.

  26. Thanks Bob for your comments, you are a real good guy.

    At Bournemouth Don also saved Vincent for the enore and it was also the last song of the night there – banjo also remaining unplayed. At least the RAH audience also got Castles in the Air afterwards. I have videos of both of those songs, may upload them when I get the chance.

    Regarding the running time, notices around the hall stated that Don McLean would be on from 9pm – 10.45pm. The notices also stated NO cameras and NO recording equipment too. OOPS. 🙂

    Meanwhile, here’s my video of Winterwood.

  27. Memories are so much better than dreams, that’s what my husband has always said to me and to see Don again at the RAH is such a good memory to have. We are all entitled to our own view point and this is mine from where I was sitting in a box close to the stage with a great group of long time Don fans and from Cloud 9 post performance.
    I am aware from reading some of the reviews that fans are frustrated by :poor sound quality, the choice of songs, the banjo not being played, transport timings etc the list could go on ,but, Don told us in a radio interview he knows over 10.000 songs so he’s not going to please anyone one of us all of the time and many things are out of his control, so why oh why can’t fans enjoy the concert for what it is Don at his best, live, no act, no set list just pure magic with an amazing bunch of musicians and an enduring happy memory to take away with you till next time [ I hope ] and enjoy the change in the way he plays or sings his songs . His voice is still amazing even though he has to adjust some notes ,so even with volcanic ash I only had to hear Crying and I got goose bumps. Crossroads too left me crying silently the emotion is heartfelt and Tony on the piano well WOW!
    We arrived at the stage door in the hope of seeing Don before the concert but just missed him which was sad for me , I had hoped to give him my red rose a tradition of mine so I had to hand it in at the stage door and hope it reached him. I also wanted to get something rather special signed, Ron Buck made it happen so thanks a million Ron. Another fan waiting for an autograph took my friend Angela and I under his wing lending me his coat to keep warm and listening to me rambling on about just how wonderful Don is in concert, he asked why we attend more than one concert so we told him it’s never the same concert, that is what is so fantastic about Don, I believe his band only know the opening number and then he keeps them on their toes ,how amazing is that so many bands these days have set lists taped to the floor but no our Don.
    He dedicated “Someone to Watch Over Me “ to his wife Patrisha in the audience, actually she was discreetly taking photographs of him, there were allot of smiles for her when he knew she was there. That song makes me tingle and was sung so beautifully . I do hope we might be lucky enough to see those photographs as he looked gorgeous in dark red shirt.
    He came out to rapturous applause and when he sang American Pie his song, not Madonna’s I think the whole of the RAH was standing he said he loves applause well he got it and plenty of it and well deserved too.
    We waited a long time after the concert for Don to appear but it was and is always worth it for a hand shake a warm smile and a promise that Manchester will be great .Only 5 days to go hurrah till I see him again .His wife and son were charming to meet too, his son a reminder of what a young Don used to look like! There was a great couple from Montreal too who had seen Don for the first time loved his music the and had danced at the front of the stage, they said the music made them feel that way.
    We took a taxi back to our apartment where I probably drove BillH and Angela nuts with my incessant chatter about how good Don had been while we ate doughnuts and drank coffee realising it had been such a long time since we had eaten. I hardly slept living through all the music of the concert again and an early morning cup of tea was made even more wonderful with Don on DVD a recent you tube download that BillH had been given .
    Thank you Don for another lovely memory.

  28. Another video from the RAH.

    The ONLY solo song Don played? Even Vincent at the end of the show featured the ‘marching band’.

    I love the line about the ‘echo as he climbs the stairs’. For some reason Donny clips off the opening guitar notes and ommits the closing strum of notes – leaving a rapt audience waiting for the song ending, then belatedly clapping when they realise they ain’t comin’. I was not impressed Don. 🙂

    Empty Chairs

  29. My wife (Liz) and I were able to attend Don McLean’s fantastic concert at the Royal Albert Hall. We traveled from Minneapolis, MN, USA and this was our last night in London. The venue and concert were a fantastic way to finish our trip.

    We both were waiting to hear Vincent, it was a great encore. We celebrated Valentine’s day at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul watching “Van Gogh: Brush with Genius” at the Omnitheater. Don’s “Vincent” was played during the movie, and the concert brought the experience back for me.

    Leslie Roley started the night off wonderfully, and created a bond with the audience. She knew how to pull us in with “I like the flowers …..” and the picture taking from on stage.

  30. Waited nearly 40 years to hear my favourite song of all time ‘American Pie’ played live! I was not disappointed – it was amazing! A big fan of Don since I was 15. American Pie was also the first single my 22 year old daughter bought when it was re released.

  31. I was rather disappointed, few of my favourites were there until the point when we had to unfortunately get up and leave. I thought the support act was brilliant/ first class and would pay the same £60 to see her alone, a world name to watch out for!!
    The concert should have started much earlier.

    I saw Leonard Cohen in Brighton in 2008 – on stage for 3hrs and still left by 11pm
    An Experience!!
    Thanks

  32. This was my first Don Mclean concert having missed out in 2007 when he was at the Marlowe Theatre ( right on my doorstep! ). I was lucky enough to be sitting right at the front after I bought 2 tickets from a guy who couldn’t attend. I have always loved his songs since I was a young boy and I thouroughly enjoyed the evening. He sang all the songs I wanted to hear and I certainly didn’t go home disapointed. My favourites were Vincent, Empty Chairs, and Crossroads and American Pie was amazing… 40 year old song and nearly 65 year old man and still has the whole hall on their feet!!

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