Music Legend Don McLean
Serves Up American Pie and More at the bergenPAC
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Legendary singer-songwriter Don McLean served up a slice of "American Pie" and more on January 24, 2014 at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey.

Don McLean - Music Legend Serves Up American Pie and More at the bergenPAC
Don McLean on stage at the bergenPAC in Englewood, New Jersey.

From his early youth, singer-songwriter Don McLean loved and had an aptitude for music. At age sixteen, he was actively perusing a music career, playing plenty of gigs in small clubs. Don's hard work paid off when he became an international star in 1971 with his song "American Pie" followed by "Vincent". Since then McLean has amassed more than 40 gold and platinum albums. His songs have been covered by a broad range of artists including Madonna and George Michael.

McLean still records and tours regularly which brought him to the bergenPAC on a cold Friday night where he warmed up the crowd with a menu of his classics along with covers. Don fronting a talented five piece band opened with an animated version of "Well Alright". McLean armed with an acoustic guitar presented an assortment of songs and styles ranging from the blues, country, folk and rock. He is a strong storyteller mixing wisdom and wit in visual lyrics that often rhyme.

Don chatted between tunes. He said that he fuses old fashion popular music with folk which flowed into the sentimental "And I Love You So". The audience at the bergenPAC was appreciative and attentive, which Don acknowledged during the show. "Empty Chairs" conveyed emotion demonstrating that McLean is an expressive singer with nuances in his notes.

"Love the sound in here," commented Don as they moved into McLean's "Crossroads" with pretty piano parts topping off the poetry of the piece. Don introduced the band jesting that they have been with him 140 years. McLean mentioned they were from Nashville leading into a country flavored cover of "Tulsa Time".

The up-tempo "Jerusalem" was sweetened with middle eastern textures. "Have You Seen Me" was edgy touching upon the topics of abused children and war. The points of the tune were punctuated with a sizzling electric guitar solo. It was countered by the feisty, funny "Fashion Victim".

Don McLean - Music Legend Serves Up American Pie and More at the bergenPAC
Don McLean and his talented band delivered an impressive two sets plus encores.

"I am enjoying myself," declared Don who joked that he is getting old and may not come back here. He continued that its an honor that people spend their hard earned money to hear them play. They rewarded the crowd with an expansive "Back Water Blues" (Bessie Smith) that allowed the band to jam boldly on this consummate blues tune. "Love Hurts" was well executed with lavish guitar leads. It was paired with Roy Orbison's "Crying" a complex vocal exercise that showcased Don's expansive singing style.

After a short break, the second set added to the savor of the first. Specials included "Winterwood" along with a vibrant "Vincent". Lesser known tunes were mixed in such as the bluesy "Uncle Sam Says". It was a daring song of discrimination penned by Josh White in the early 1940's. They also covered The Weavers. This satisfying meal of music lead to a flavorful desert -"American Pie". It included plenty of audience participation. After adding extra refrains to the tune Don circled back to the first stanza so that folks could continue to sing along.

Don with his band played a few more songs to complete the concert that was as good as a fresh baked pie. They served tasteful covers, hits and even a few obscure tunes from a range of genres. The group was tight supporting Don who was in good voice and good humor - an artist who still loves music and performing.

The bergenPAC located in the center of Englewood's commerce continues to host a diverse roster of acts such as Don McLean. Upcoming events include David Sanborn Trio, Lyle Lovett with John Hiatt, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, Rosanne Cash, The Fab Four, Think Pink Floyd, Masters of Illusion and 3 Doors Down Acoustic all coming soon. Please check out for more events and restaurant ideas.

The Band: Don McLean - acoustic guitar, vocals / Jerry Kroon - drums / Tony Migliore - keys, grand piano / David Smith - bass / Vip Vipperman - electric guitar

Don McLean - Music Legend Serves Up American Pie and More at the bergenPAC

Related Links: For more information on DON MCLEAN and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Don McLean |

(Originally Published on January 26, 2014)




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