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Don McLean – Symphony Hall, Birmingham – 10th May 2018 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Don McLean – Symphony Hall, Birmingham – 10th May 2018



Tonight’s show kicked off with Jarrod Dickenson. The Texan singer/songwriter performs playing guitar and singing with his wife doing backing vocals. With a new album due out a day or two after the show he played a number of songs from it which sounded great, and he did mention once or twice that it was on sale at the merch stand. There looked to be a decent crowd at the merch stand after his set so hopefully he sold plenty of copies. He’s got a great voice and has very good songs – mainly Americana or country and well worth listening to. It’s a shame the venue wasn’t full for his set but he puts in a great performance that no doubt won him some new fans tonight.

Accompanied by his band, Don McLean took to the stage to loud applause. Kicking off with “Singing the blues” he starts a two hour set. There’s a relaxed feel to things as he tells the audience he’s going to just play a few songs to start with. As the set goes on he regularly talks to the audience, whether it’s introducing the band and talking about their musical talent, saying a bit about some of the songs, joking about his age, or saying that hopefully people were there to hear lots of songs, not just the big one “which you’ll hear, but not till much later”.
Musically he flits from album to album, playing songs from early albums such as “Tapestry”, “American pie” or “Don McLean” as well as songs from his excellent new album “Botanical gardens” playing songs that range from country to folk and everything in between. There are some cover versions too including the Roy Orbison hit, “Crying”, and the Everly Brothers “Walk right back”. He introduces “This little light of mine” as a song he sang while at school aged 17, and gets the crowd to sing along to it with him. While everyone was still in a singing mood he then played his mega hit “American pie”, with the crowd on their feet singing along. He joked that the song meant to him “the reason why I don’t need to work anymore”. He ends with “Got the bull by the horns” then after a short break he was back to play “Vincent” and end with “Walk right back”.
This was my first time seeing Don McLean live, and I was very impressed. It’s a great evening with two hours of fantastic songs and even if you ignore the two mega hits, “American pie” and “Vincent” it’s still a show that shouldn’t be missed, but hearing him singing those two songs, songs that I’ve grown up listening to, was particularly special.


Singing the blues
The pattern is broken
Bronco Bill’s lament
Tulsa time
Total eclipse of the sun
You’ve got such beautiful eyes
The lucky guy
Love hurts
And I love you so
Empty chairs
This little light of mine
American pie
Got the bull by the horns

Walk right back


Skribent: Anthony May
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