Concert Review: Don McLean Doesn’t Disappoint
The Avalon Theatre was nearly full Friday night (Nov.6), and the legendary Don McLean did not disappoint his audience.
If anyone who went to the Don McLean concert expected to hear the 1970s and 1980s Don McLean, they went with misguided expectations and most likely walked away disappointed.
However, it seemed that most of the 800+ people at the Avalon had arrived with realistic expectations of what they would get from a 70-year-old rock and roll icon, and seemed to fully appreciate the performance they received.
McLean. with guitar in hand, performed with a full band of extremely talented musicians on a program that ranged from rock and roll hits, to folk, and even a rendition of Marty Robbins' classic hit "El Paso."
McLean mixed in his hits, "And I Love You So", "Crying", "Vincent", " Castles in the Air", and "American Pie," with material from his brand new album, along with songs from past albums. The one hit missing from the set list was "Since I Don't Have You."
There were times we could hear that familiar crystal clear Don McLean voice that we know so well from the radio. At other times, the 70 year-old voice struggled to reach pitch on some of the high parts,and often times trailed off on sustaining notes. Somewhat surprising, however, was his ability to reach all of the falsetto highs on "Crying." He really nailed it, including the big ending the song is known for.
McLean sprinkled in a little humor and a few personal anecdotes in between some of the songs and appeared to be as comfortable on the Avalon stage as he would be in his own living room.
The highlight of the 90 minute concert was unquestionably "American Pie" which absolutely did not disappoint. After more than 40 years of singing the classic hit, McLean sang it like it was 70s fresh- and he even gave us a little bonus with a reprise of the first verse.
If there was disappointment in the crowd it would have come at the end of the show, when their rousing ovation failed to bring McLean back to the stage for an encore. Maybe he just doesn't do encores. Maybe 90 minutes is all his voice could handle. Maybe 90 minutes was all his body could take. Maybe it's just best to leave 'em wanting more.
I got a chance to meet Don after the show for a brief visit. He was kind, cordial, and accommodating. His face was etched with the lines of a 70 year-old, but his spirit remains young, not much different than the hitmaker of the 70s and 80s
When I had interviewed Don McLean earlier in this week and asked him what we could expect from the show, his response was that it would be "satisfying to the audience." He was right.