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Don McLean Concert a let down

As someone who has been a big fan of Don McLean, the American singer-songwriter who famously wrote "American Pie", I took a trip to the Usher Hall in Edinburgh recently to see his concert.

Before the concert, I sat there expectantly, looking forward to an evening of wonderful music, hearing all his hits live for the very first time.

But unfortunately, the concert did not live up to my expectations (at over £50 a ticket, that hurt!)

Like so many musicians who are getting on a bit now, it is clear DM doesn't know when to call time on his singing, and his band clearly don't have the heart to tell him.

Sorry Don, but you can no longer sing in tune or in time.

The concert began with one of his new songs. Fair enough I thought, he'll soon do a hit. But then it was another new song, and then another. None of which really hit the mark.

The microphone was also set particularly loud such that Don's voice dominated the music. And the voice was quite sharp and untuneful. At times it seemed as if Don was simply speaking the lyrics. Not quite what you want when you are meant to be listening to ballads.

Eventually, the audience was treated to "Vincent", but oh boy, there were some real cringe moments as Don struggled to hit the tough notes and even sing in key.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the evening was rather starved of tuneful singing and well-known hits, but there were plenty of cringe moments.

Don saved his rendition of American Pie to the very end, and of course that got the audience on their feet, and he rather milked the occasion by replaying several times, although even that couldn't disguise the off-key notes.

The funny thing was, DM didn't seem to care about his poor singing. He just carried on as if nothing was amiss.

And it's all such a shame, because the love from the audience to Don is plain to see. And his talent in playing guitar is still there, as is the talent of all the other band members (who I might say did an admirable job in playing along to his misfiring tempo).

My advice, for what it's worth Don (though I doubt you'd ever listen), is bring in a quality singer and you and the band carry on playing your instruments. And every now and again, yea, join in the singing, do a duet or something. I'm sure that would also bring the audience to their feet and show their love for you.

But don't try singing all evening. Like so many other geriatric singers whose voice has gone (e.g. Rod Stewart and Diana Ross), play to your strengths and the audience will love you for it all the more.

As the saying goes, "Auld age disnae come itsel"


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