A sold-out crowd was treated to a wonderful double-header concert at Door County Auditorium last Friday night. Judy Collins and Don McLean arrived on jet planes in buckets of rain to sing the songs of almost half a century ago. It felt like a celebration! Judy swept onstage with her long blonde hair flowing, dressed in black. After a funny lament about her lost luggage and guitar, and a tango with a too-tall microphone, she immediately started telling her stories. Judy did a great job of seducing us into our own memories with her deeper, but still crystalline voice. Her tribute to Pete Seeger was very touching; her slam of Bob Dylan’s treatment of Joan Baez in “Diamonds and Rust” used up every hanky in the hall. We didn’t get an encore although we were happy to give our elegant American icon a standing ovation.
Then Don McLean and his band arrived. After shoving the piano around and rearranging the stage, McLean yelled out to the guys at the light table to bring up the house lights, immediately erasing Judy’s moody, atmospheric setting. McLean stepped up to the mike and told us to pull up our diapers and get ready to work hard. “If you work hard for us, we’ll work hard for you,” he said. “Turn on your cameras and iPhones and get clickin’. Then, after a couple of songs, he stopped and told us we were a terrible audience. He said he was older than any of us (not true) but that he had more energy than all of us put together. We looked at each other. Did we just get verbally spanked by Don McLean? And then he sang “Crying”. That did it. We stopped acting like nice senior citizens and got rockin’. People clapped and swayed and sang their lungs out. “Now you got it!” shouted Mclean, finally serving up about 25 minutes of sweet “American Pie”.
It’s not every day that we get to revisit our teenaged selves with the music we loved from so long ago. But, diapers? Really? Still, we were be-boppin’ and singing our way through the wet parking lots, maybe wishing we’d find a turquoise Thunderbird waiting instead of a silver Prius. Maybe we’d turn on the radio and get our encore from Judy, a sweet rendition of “Who Knows Where The Time Goes”. Indeed.