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  1. As I reflected on Monday night’s concert on the Gold Coast, the ‘perfect concert’ in my book, I admit to some degree of trepidation about the coming night as I headed to my second show this tour. I often get nervous prior to a Don McLean concert just in case I end up disappointed and that would be shattering for this fan of almost 40 years. But I’m never ever disappointed….he delivers every time and Saturday night at the Palais was no different. By the way, the Palais is a gorgeous old theatre, very elaborate, dating back to maybe the 1920’s?….very atmospheric and its beauty was certainly noticed by Don who commented several times that he truly appreciated playing there.

    This show was certainly not a repeat of the last show I had attended. It was a much larger audience so the feel was not as intimate or like a ‘lounge-room’ show….but Don has such a unique ability to connect with his audience that it didn’t matter. Everyday, La La Love You and Winterwood got things started, followed by Homeless Brother, Crossroads (an amazing delivery – is it ever anything else?), and a simply beautiful Empty Chairs was included unusually early in the set.

    I was lucky enough to catch some songs we didn’t get on Monday night (that, of course, being the reason it’s always so vital to catch more than one concert each tour), the aforementioned HB being one but also Wonderful Baby (I’d never heard that live before) so brilliantly performed that it outshone the recorded version by a mile. How I wish I could have been at more shows!! OK I’m greedy.

    Don chatted a lot to the audience and mentioned how much he appreciated people being so polite and listening to his lesser known songs, and how lucky he was that his audiences were very open minded….unlike many people in the music industry that he had encountered during his career. He commented that he has spent his life living in his own world of music and this was where it had lead him, to evolve from a person who hardly ever wanted to leave his room to being a citizen of the world and to actually getting to enjoy the travel that he used to struggle with so much.

    I didn’t write down the songs and leaving anything to my memory is pretty scary, but some other songs in no particular order were….
    Love Hurts then Crying (great audience appreciation) then things got livened up a bit with Have You Seen Me, Tulsa Time, Superman’s Ghost and Jerusalem. The slower ones, And I Love You So and Vincent sounded great, both obviously well loved and so well received. At about that point in the show, he went for the stool and asked if we minded if he sat down for a while to do some more quiet stuff…no we didn’t….and he did one song, In My Life, definitely a stunning highlight of the show. His comment prior to going into that song was that something he had tried to do early on was to fuse many different genres (specifically pop, folk and rock and roll) of music into songs and that is what John Lennon did so well, but no one understood what he (Don) had tried to do but “I don’t care….that being the hallmark of my character, if I have one”).

    Then he went immediately into A long, long time ago…this really surprised me, I was ready for a longer sit down session and thought it was too early to finish the show. Everyone joined in of course, the last chorus sounded beautiful, the first verse got repeated and that was it….end of show. BUT….and this is the first time I’ve seen Don do this in years….he returned for an encore. Great! He mentioned at that point how much he loved performing, ‘more than just about anything else’ (which was stating the obvious, you could see his enjoyment the whole way through!) and how he wanted to keep doing it for as long as possible – ‘till I look and sound terrible’. We got 3 more songs, I Gotta Know, Castles in the Air (‘because I like to grant wishes’….a comment specifically directed at the person who had been calling out for it) and he did a great version of it too! Finally, a sing-a-long version of Woody Guthrie’s Hard Travellin’, a song he said he especially loved. Don very patiently taught us the chorus by repeating it several times with lots of reassurance that we’d all feel better if we sang loud (he obviously has no idea how bad I sound if I sing soft OR loud!)

    And I’d also like to add (again) how wonderful I thought the band was – very intuitive and talented musicians, and most importantly, never over shadowing Don’s voice or guitar.

    One last comment, the sound obviously troubled him as he asked for adjustments many times, (that is not unusual) but I thought it ended up being fine. I know this can depend on where you’re seated though. I left the theatre a happy woman…and from what I heard on the way out, I’d say everyone else left happy too.

  2. I too thought Monique Brumby was a great choice as an opening act – a very thought provoking songwriter and an ARIA award winner. Don was amazing – I never get tired of hearing his voice and his stories told through beautiful melodies were even more enthralling in the live environment.

  3. I loved Monique’s performace, wish it had lasted longer! Don’s show was good but I thought he seemed a little stiff. A good night though, his band were smokin’.

  4. you are a bastard, don mclean. i am a grown man, and you made me cry! i sat up there in the dress circle of the palais theatre in melbourne, and listened to you singing ‘vincent’ and the tears came. so beautiful. thankyou for a wonderful concert. p.s. hope i wasn’t out of line with that bastard remark. p.p.s. are you ever going to tell us what american pie is about?

  5. Well I thought Monique was fresh and good. These gigs are great for new artists. Well done

    Oh by the way I’m a music lover and I loved Don, great show with lots of variety, thanks Don

  6. I am so envious here in the States that Don is performing to the enjoyment of all of you in Australia and New Zealand. You have waited long enough to get your turn and we were fortunate to see him perform four times in the past couple of years here in the US. I’m following each peformance.

    I don’t like to criticize, but I agree with other posters about some of Don’s opening acts, a lot to be desired. I know many times we have driven 8 hours, very excited, only to find we have to endure an hour of total bordem. Fortunately, most of the performances we have seen did not have an opening act. Thank you. Two solid of hours of Don is more than anyone should expect, and a shear joy.

    Another criticism I might add is the poor selection of CD’s at his concerts. I would ask “is this it” and they would say “that is what his people sent.” Don, do you need an assistant, I would love to be one of “your people”, if so, I’m the one. I would do it for free. You deserve better. So glad your concerts are going extremely well and that everyone is thrilled to have you back. Love U and all your fans.

  7. Once again we have had the privilege of enjoying the magnificent talent of Don Mclean – his voice and performance are unmatched and he really makes his audience feel special. Even thought last night was the final show of his Australian tour he made his fans feel as though it was the first – fresh, friendly and enthusiastic! Over the last 25 years we have seen him every time he tours here and he never disappoints. Keep it up Don – you were wonderful & we look forward to seeing you again. Thanks for a great show. Long time fans, Julie & John Oretti

  8. Hi!

    Before I mention yesterday’s Feb 19 concert, a little history about my relationship with Don, through his words and music. I’ve been a devoted fan since the early days of his career. In fact the 1970 debut album ‘Tapestry’ with it’s unambiguous and often very emotional lyrics, combined with masterfully constructed music, was to lead me to indulge in Don’s creativity right up to and including this second decade of the 21st century.The man seemed to create poetry direct from my thought processes. In other words, I felt he spoke to the world on my behalf.

    Moving right along … in the late 80’s – early 90s – my first career as an electrical linesman was doomed because of my incessantly progressing deafness. Forced retirement ensued. What to do, who to turn to? As an avid amateur photographer, I began to climb the path to my re-invention. Digital illustration and commercial photography were the outcomes and the many years of ‘learning the ropes’, hidden away in my home based studio, were accompanied by a staple diet of Don’s words and music playing in the background. It surely soothed my laborious task and turned it into a passion.

    So here I sit, Sunday Feb 20, 9am, after 3.5 hours sleep, reminiscing …

    I travelled to Melbourne (StKilda’s Palais Theatre) yesterday from my home in Wodonga, a 4 hour trip by car. My daughter, who was brought up on a strict diet of Don’s words and music accompanied me, just as she did around 5 years ago to share in his concert at Crown Casino. All my vinyl tracks have been converted to mp3, along with more recent CDs, and were employed to whet our appetites.

    Upon entering the ‘old’ theatre, I was slightly overwhelmed by the musty old grandiose interior and the huge crowd in attendance. Our expectations were high and the, unfortunately, I felt that the opening support act was not the way I consider Don deserves to be introduced to ‘the faithful’.

    But, that being as it may, the lights soon dimmed after interval and the man himself strode onto the stage in his usual, casual stride, waved to the audience and opened up.

    Compared to his previously mentioned concert at the Crown Casino, where he had to procure and pop in his mouth a soothing lozenge to maintain vocal performance, yesterday’s performance saw no repeat of that drama that caused me some angst. I can only imagine what Don must have been going through. At 65 years of age (same age as me, he being 2 months younger) the man still possesses a high level of energy. The fire appears to be intact. He seems to be aging gracefully.

    He offered up a wonderful bracket of songs from his amazingly creative years as well as the work of other ‘greats’ that he experienced through the years. People like Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison etc.

    One area of open criticism that I offer here, concerns the audio quality. In a word, disappointing. Yes, I ‘heard’ you explain Don (through my daughter) that ‘digital’ is not a part of your life. Maybe, just maybe, it should be, because I’m convinced that it would be of benefit to many people like myself, experiencing varying amounts of deafness. I could not discern a single word you spoke, having to rely on my daughter for assistance.

    The very first Melbourne concert , at Festival Hall had audio quality to die for. Superb. Yes you were a solo performer in those days, but nonetheless … your lyrics were clearly audible, with just the right balance of guitar accompaniment present . If I may take the liberty, I believe the downward slide of your ‘sound system’ began in Albury, at the local cinema centre, where your two personal mikes, vocal and guitar, were not ‘on the same planet’ in my opinion.

    I do hope this criticism is constructive.

    Moving right along and in closing, even with the voice not being as nimble as yesteryear, Don, I still needed this ‘fix’ to continue to savour the fruits of your creativity.

    Maybe next time, we can shake hands again like at the casino venue, perhaps even share a coffee and chat. Say hello to Patricia for me as we share a common thread in photography.

    Sincerest regards, Jim Roelofs

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