Throughout his long and successful career in the music industry, Don McLean has firmly established himself as one of America’s most beloved country artists.

Having been awarded over 40 gold and platinum albums worldwide, Don McLean recently released his first new album in 8 years – Botanical Gardens. This being the legendary artist’s astonishing 19th studio album.

Subsequently, McLean is back out on the road in support of his latest offering. Tonight the veteran singer/songwriter makes a welcome return to the North East of England whilst performing in front of a packed out crowd at the Sage Gateshead.

Joined by his world-class, and long-standing backing band; many of which have performed alongside McLean for over 20 years, they collectively perform numbers from his vast and expansive songbook. 

Throughout tonight’s 2-hour musical marathon Don McLean delivers a well-balanced set of old and new material. Tracks from Botanical Gardens such as “Lucky Guy” and “Total Eclipse of the Sun” sit side by side McLean’s firmly established fan favourites. 

Mid-set McLean showcases the more blues orientated side of his repertoire. This includes his take on Josh White’s “I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts of Town” and “Uncle Sam Says” along with the traditional country blues number “Midnight Special”.

From his heartfelt performance of “And I Love You So”, through to enduring classics such as “Crying”, “Castles In The Air” and a joyous rendition of “American Pie”, tonight no stone is left unturned. Each song in the set is accompanied by fascinating and insightful back stories from throughout Don’s life’s work in the music business. Of course, many of the original tracks performed this evening have been covered by a whole raft of musical icons including the likes of Madonna, Elvis Presley and Glen Campbell, to name but a few.

Tonight it feels like McLean would be happy to play all night long, but like all good things, they must come to an end. The night is brought to a close with a showstopping performance of “Vincent” and his take on Ricky Nelson’s “Travellin’ Man”, which results in a standing ovation from the Gateshead faithful. 

With a career spanning back to 1969, Don McLean has obviously witnessed a lot of change in the music industry throughout his almost 50 years in show business. Through his distinctive brand of timeless Americana music, McLean has defied trends and outstayed the vast majority of his peers. This being a testament to his incredible songwriting ability.

At the age of 72, Don McLean’s voice still sounds incredible. His music has truly stood the test of time, and the Gateshead crowd assembled tonight would most certainly agree.

Don McLean
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Event Date: 02-May-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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