Forty years ago I was a young new mom with an infant child, when Don McLean came to town for a concert at Old Dominion College (now University) in Norfolk, VA. I so badly wanted to see him as his American Pie album was so popular, and as I thought he was the greatest, most beautiful poet and songwriter.
I didn’t get to go to that concert; however I began collecting his music on LP albums, tapes, CDs, and a book of written music. Over the years I’ve picked up various CDs with new music, but it seemed that much of his work was a ‘rework’ of his older music. As my children grew and learned of my interest in this artist they added to my collection at birthdays and Christmas. When my son got married the song he and I danced to was “And I Love You So”, one of the most beautiful of Don McLean’s creations, in my estimation.
I never considered seeing Don McLean in person as an item on my bucket list. But tonight I had the extraordinary experience of seeing him in person, almost exactly 40 years since that first impulse to be in his living musical presence. I learned only about a week ago that he was going to be in town, and I was determined to see him this time. I consider it a highlight of my life.
He is personable, and engaged with the audience, and it almost felt like we could have been in a coffee house, just hanging out. He sang for 90 minutes, without an intermission. Of course he HAD to sing Starry Night and American Pie. The audience was invited to sing American Pie with him, and I stood right along with the others, knowing all the words. An awesome experience.
He welcomed photos from the audience, and afterward he came out to greet his public for signings. I waited in line with a CD of music I’d not heard before, and my ticket receipt. He graciously agreed to sign both for me, and we exchanged a few brief words.
WOW…He is still beautiful.