Don McLean Goes Out On The Top Of His Game On Final Australian Tour -
Don McLean photo by Bron Robinson

Don McLean photo by Bron Robinson

Don McLean Goes Out On The Top Of His Game On Final Australian Tour

by Paul Cashmere on May 1, 2023

in News

Don McLean is calling his 20th Australian tour his last but I think he has a few years left in him.

McLean is performing 24 shows on his current Australia and New Zealand tour. The 18th stop was in Melbourne Saturday night (29 April 2023) before completing the Australia leg in Geelong on Sunday. Next stop is Nelson, New Zealand tomorrow May 2.

What is amazing with Don McLean is that he does not have a setlist. The Don McLean show is pure improvised entertainment with Don creating the set in his head as he goes along and pairing it with wonderful stories of the past 50 years.

One song ‘Botanical Garden’ was written in Sydney during Don’s last Australian tour. It became the title track of his 2018 album.

‘Castles In the Air’ was there too which was track one side one from the very first Don McLean album ‘Tapestry’ from October 1970. (Fun fact: Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’ came out on February 10, 1971 so Don beat Carole to the title).

Music director Tom Migliore drives the band. The keyboard player has been with Don “longer than my two marriages added together” Don says. It total 37 years.

The credentials in this band are worldclass. Guitarist Kerry Marx worked with Johnny Cash and when he isn’t touring with Don is a member of the Grand Old Opry staff band performing with over 10 artists a week at the legendary Nashville music venue.

Songs like ‘Vincent’ remind us of how great a songwriter Don McLean is. Songs like his cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’ remind us of how Don’s unique voice and style can make a song his own.

While the current tour is billed the American Pie 50th Anniversary tour, Don didn’t lean heavily on the album. Only ‘Vincent’, ‘Crossroads’ and the epic title track represented the album but I did not in some shows he also served up ‘Winterwood’. ‘American Pie’ was a number one album and the song a number one single in Australia in 1971.

‘American Pie’ was kept to the finale and the audience in the near sold-out house was standing from beginning to end.

I can’t believe this really is the last Australian tour for Don McLean. He still have the voice, he has showed no signs of slowing down and even at 75 is still younger than Dylan, Jagger and McCartney. Springsteen is just two years younger than Don and he certainly isn’t going away. One more slice of ‘American Pie’ shouldn’t be out of the question.

Don McLean’s New Zealand dates are:

Tuesday 2nd May – Trafalgar Centre, Nelson
Thursday 4 May, Civic Theatre, Invercargill,
Friday 5 May, Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch
Sunday 7 May, The Regent on Broadway, Palmerston North
Tuesday 9 May, Auckland Town Hall, Auckland

Get tickets here

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