Mr American Pie
added: 19 Aug 2013
// gig date: 17 Aug 2013
reviewer: Cate Altamura
From the moment the legendary Don McLean stepped onto the stage at Hamer Hall in Melbourne, I was immediately filled with nostalgia and quickly recognised that it was an event that would forever be etched in my mind.
The poetic musician has a unique way of moving people with his soulful and haunting lyrics. To this day, I still remember the very first time I heard the poignant anthem American Pie
, and I’m certain I’m not alone.
McLean, 67, opened with his own rendition of Buddy Holly’s Everyday
to cheering fans spanning across all generations. The American icon has been performing for an incredible 45 years, which in itself is a monumental achievement, considering just how fickle the music industry is.
Prior to performing the inspirational Homeless Brother
, McLean spoke about the eccentricity of the homeless in his town growing up and his appreciation of their individuality. Throughout the evening, McLean was personable and voiced his appreciation of the audience.
Among the favourites performed were Vincent Starry, Starry Night, Crossroads
, and the solo performance of Empty Chairs
. Accompanying McLean were Nashville band members: Tony Migliore (keyboards, piano), David Smith (bass guitar), Vip Vipperman (guitar), and Jerry Kroon (drums).
Many of McLean’s song are melancholic by his own admission, and after several of them in a row, it was difficult not to feel the weight of the lyrics pressing down on me. It just goes to show the incredible power that music possesses and its ability to change one’s mood.
The second I heard “A long, long time ago”, I was snapped out of my darker state and couldn’t believe I was hearing American Pie
live. For years, I spent hours listening to it on repeat to the point of wearing the song out. It was the highlight of the night and had people up on their feet, singing along in harmony.
It was clear that McLean was moved by the audience’s reaction to American Pie
and obligingly performed an encore verse and chorus. McLean’s voice is impeccable and has the exceptional ability to hit the right note song after song and his version of Roy Orbison’s Crying
was a welcome addition to the set list.
For the encore, McLean performed Woody Guthrie’s Hard Travelling
, and Castles in The Air
. The legend received the standing ovation he deserved and left many with a sense of excitement at hearing American Pie
live. A truly unforgettable experience.
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