Atlanta, Georgia (January 27, 2018) – Merging generations, critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, Don McLean performed an intimate concert at the sold-out City Winery Atlanta in Georgia tonight. Timeless folk-rock music, paired with a fine wine makes for an unforgettable evening. The classy venue with its charming mix of rustic industrialism and modern luxury created a wonderful atmosphere for the night’s performance.
Mr. McLean lost no time with any fancy speeches; he came onto the stage with one purpose in mind – to do what he does best. Don and the band launched right into “You Got Me Singing the Blues”. The quality of sound was awe-inspiring, every note crisp.
Don exclaimed “after all these years, I still love to sing, I really do”. He went on to play the title song of his album launching later this year, “Botanical Gardens” a lovely track about beautiful flowers and the beautiful women who look at them.
Don performed “Have You Seen Me”, a song that speaks of the lost, the forgotten, and the abandoned children of the world. It was in a word, evocative, a picture book made of sound. “Last Night When We Were Young” and “Crying” both brought back the clear sting of heartbreak.
He stopped often to speak to the crowd and it quickly became obvious that he is not just a performer; he is a man who paints with words, spoken or sung it makes no difference. His artistic integrity is unparalleled and he spoke on the matter saying, “I made a rule when I was a young guy that I was only gonna say words I believed, I wasn’t gonna sing anything I didn’t believe. I wasn’t really out for commercial success; I wanted to be an artist”.
As the night started to draw to a close he pulled out the big guns playing a truly melodious rendition of “American Pie” which brought everyone to their feet to dance despite the tight space. Everyone sang along with the chorus of this timelessly relevant song.
As he closed out the evening all hands came together in vigorous applause, which leads into a standing ovation for more. Don returned to the stage and gave fans a three-song encore; ending on a sweet, high note with the upbeat song “Hey Doll Baby”.
Mr. McLean’s contributions to music afforded him great recognition. In 2004 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and very recently he received two awards from BMI for multi-million air plays of his most well-known works; “American Pie” which maintained the #1 rating in the USA charts for four weeks running and “Vincent” a tribute to Vincent van Gogh’s life and art.. These may be his two most well-known and beloved works, but they are two in a long list that has culminated in a staggering total of 32 albums the last of which being Live in Manchester , which released in 2014. But after four years we will finally be getting another album from this great man, Botanical Gardens, which releases on March 23, 2018.
Don Mclean has been a constant in music for a very long time and I can’t help but wonder if the key to the longevity of this man’s stunning musical legacy isn’t his purely artistic mindset. A true artist in every right, he does things in a way very different than the norm. He is not dedicated to a particular song type or music genre, preferring to write songs about things that interest and move him, sound is more important than acclaim. His need for artistic choice even touches his live shows; he spoke about it tonight saying, “I’ve never played the same show twice in 50 years”. He also informed us that there is not a set list and though sometimes he has to have one for certain shows he always purposely sets aside time in the show to cut loose, just him and his guitar to play what he feels.
Photographer: Leelee Hawkins
Journalist: Kathleen Harpe