“I’ve played the guitar so hard I’ve put it out of tune.”
These were the words of Don McLean as he played the second last night of his British and Irish tour in Derry’s Millennium Forum.
The 70 year-old showed no signs of slowing down as he belted out hit after hit with audience members rising to their feet to show their appreciation.
“What a fantastic crowd you are,” he told the people of Derry. “I’ve heard guys like me talk about bad audiences. There’s no such thing. If audiences are bad, it’s cos you stink!”
McLean delighted the audience with numbers from his first ever album including Castles in the Air and And I Love You So.
He also played songs from his new album including the famous story of the Waving Man (see video with this story).
As well as his own songs he threw in songs by Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash.
Supported by a five piece band McLean’s voice is as strong as ever.
But it’s when McLean plays alone on stage with the guitar the real magic happens, even though he complained about having to keep his guitar in tune.
“That’s close enough,” he joked with the audience, as he started the next song.
The song Crossroads felt so poetic and McLean’s voice was captivating and haunting. At one point I felt like I was the only other person in the room.
You could have heard a pin drop during Crying - at the end of which McLean said - I can still hit those high notes!
American Pie, predictably brought the house down.
McLean asked for lights to be brought up so he could see the entire audience - “I wanna sing tonight,” he told them.
He left the stage with the audience screaming for Vincent, and he duly returned to sing what is probably his most famous song after American Pie.
“I’m not gonna just do that one,” he said. “I’m going to do a few more songs for you.”
And it felt that he would sing all night.
But eventually the night had to come to an end.
McLean finishes his tour in Cork on June 4.
His support act Chelsea Chambers, a university student from Moneymore also deserves a special mention.
A real star in the making who has just been told she’s been given a place on the Glastonbury stage.
Really liked her song; “Back Home.”
A fantastic night that will be remembered by all.