Don McLean @ Riviera Theatre North Tonawanda, NY 4-27-24

Don McLean @ Riviera Theatre North Tonawanda, NY 4-27-24

Singer-songwriter Don McLean played a sold out show at the Riviera Theatre this past Saturday night. McLean has a long storied history that includes writing songs for other artists such as Elvis Presley, Helen Reddy and Glen Campbell. He also penned one of the most famous songs of all time in American Pie. The current McLean tour is dubbed the Starry Starry Night tour.

Mclean doesn’t go by a traditional setlist. So anything he plays is by feel. He incorporated a varied mix of originals, covers and a few new numbers as well. Mclean will be releasing a new record titled ‘American Boys’ on May 17, 2024. McLean’s band included Vip Vipperman on lead guitar, Tim Quick on rhythm guitar, John McTee on drums and Dave Francis on the bass. McLean talked a lot in between songs. Setting up how they were written and the stories behind them. He also talked about how he chose to do a certain cover. He talked about his love of Buddy Holly and how he preferred artists B sides over their hits. The band went on the play a lesser known Holly track in “Fools Paradise.” He also talked about his love for singers and stated his love for Roy Orbison. Hence him doing a cover of Orbison’s “Crying.” It was one of the highlights of the set.  McLean’s vocals shined on “Vincent (Starry Night.”) Of course, a majority of the audiences phones rose as photos and videos were taking of “American Pie.” They did an almost 13 minute version of the song.  I was so glad I got to see one of the most treasured songs in America recorded history live. McLean wrapped up the set doing another Elvis cover in “Heartbreak Hotel.”

The 78 year old McLean played a strong 90 minute set without any intermission. Again, it was my first time seeing him and must say it was a solid set overall.


Setlist (Incomplete):


Little Sister (Elvis Presley cover)

Lucky Guy

And I Love You So


The Thunderstorm Girl

Fools Paradise

Crying (Roy Orbison cover)

Drinking Again


Vincent (Starry Night)

Castles in the Air

American Boys

American Pie

Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley cover)


We would like to thank David Fillenwarth for the credentials to review the show.