Live Review

Judy Collins and Don McLean Still Going At It

Judy Collins on

Well, this past Sunday on the ninth I had a nice night out with my folks. My mom had bought us alll tickets to go see Judy Collins and Don McLean at our local opera house. Collins I had seen on a PBS program a few months back and was really impressed with her voice, as well as the fact that she knew so many famous folk artists, such as Mary Travers and Bob Dylan. On the program when she performed "Both Sides Now", I went "ah, now I know who she is."  I had seen all those advertisements on TV about getting the full Flower Power collection and when they played some of the songs in the collection, "Both Sides Now" was one that was always played. "American Pie" was also played throughout these comercials, so when I saw McLean on Sunday I knew a song of his, as well.

Unfortunately they did not play together, Collins went first and then McLean. She got about an hour to play, which is standard if you're the opening act. It was just her and a man on piano for the entire set. I was really impressed that she could still capture an audience with just her voice and her guitar. It's really quite stunning that she still has that high range. like she did back in the sixties. The highlights of her set wer really quite a few songs, like "in the Twilight", "Mr. Tamborine Man", and "Send In the Clouds". Though she put this really nice medly together of Jon Denver songs, where she intersperced "Leaving On a Jet Plane" with "Country Roads". The way she organized it was she would sing the first verse of "Leaving On a Jet Plane", she'd sing the chorus to "Country Roads", then when she'd sing a verse of "Country Roads" she would sing the chorus of "Leaving On a Jet Plane".

Her performance of "Mr. Tamborine Man" was great, but the story behind that song may be even better. Colins said that in the sixties she was at Albert Grossman's house and had gone to bed about one in the morning. She was awoken at about three by this voice that was none other than Bob Dylan hummng the melody to "Mr. Tamberine Man".  That night she witnessed him write one of his all time greatest songs.

The rest of her set was fantastic, she perfoormed a couple of songs off of her new live album from Ireland, as well as ending the set with "In the Twilight" and "Send In the Clouds". "In the Twilight" is one of her more modern songs and is written about her mother, but it's the song that made me realize what a great writer she is. This song is performed on piano, in fact the last few songs, before "Send in the Clouds" were all done on piano. Unfortunately she did not perform "Both Sides Now", but that didn't really bother me so much. I got to hear all of the material that she isn't, as well-known for. It's just so great to see someone who is from the sixties folk scene and knew all of the big sixties folk stars, like Peter, Paul, and Mary, as well as Bob Dylan.

After intermission Don McLean took the stage. He, like Collins, performed some covers, although his were more rock covers. He covered songs by both Erick Clapton and Roy Orbison. He came out with a full band and a couple of the guys in the band, like his guitar player, were from Nasville. Over all his set was all right. He told the audience that he was working on a new album and played a new song called "Waving Man". The song is all about a guy in his home town who is a parapoligic and waves to all the cars that drive by. This was an okay song, but he ended the night just right with "American  Pie". He had the remaining audience members singing along and rocking out.

The show definately went to Collins, because she has a much nicer voice and the songs that she performed in her set were much more interesting than thos of McLean. Although McLean did have more uopbeat material, the show still goes to Collins. all in all a great night of music and I'd recommend picking up Collin's new live album.