Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Don McLean at the Sage, Gateshead - review by Terry Kelly

AMERICAN troubadour Don McLean is much more than American Pie.

A near-capacity crowd at The Sage last night enjoyed seeing the acclaimed singer-songwriter exploring his extensive, 40-year back catalogue.

McLean covered all the usual bases - Vincent, And I Love You So and Crying included - but it was good to hear him reviving more obscure numbers such as the brilliant Oh My What a Shame, from the 1972 Don McLean album, and La La Love You from 1974's Homeless Brother.

Another highlight was Irish weepy The Mountains of Mourne, from his 1973 covers album, Playin' Favourites.

With no support act, fans had the chance to wallow in a full evening of McLean's music, but the first half was a little sluggish in places, with some cracks revealed in the vocals of the 66-year-old New Yorker.

Things brightened in the second half, when McLean's son and daughter joined him for some solo spots and brilliant harmonising.

From then on, it was a cruise to the finish, with American Pie producing loud applause and a fitting standing ovation.

Terry Kelly

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