THEY really don’t make them like they used to. Having been suitably warmed up by the excellent and amusing Geordie singer-songwriter, Lesley Roley, 64-years young Don McLean strode onto the Pavilion stage, joined by a four-piece band – electric guitar, bass, drums and piano – jumping straight into his hefty back-catalogue.

Throughout the two hours that the musical legend graced the stage we were treated to some real variety.

My initial fears that this could be a once-great musician struggling by with the help of an excellent backing band were cast away within the opening minutes as Don rattled through the first part of the set, pausing only to say thank you between songs, before diving straight into the next with the energy of a man half his age.

The voice is still as soothing as ever and the occasional missed note or chord only served to endear him more to his adoring fans.

The now deservedly seated Don introduced us all to his band and friends from Nashville before re-assuring us that he was nowhere near done yet – “we’ve still got to play that big Madonna hit for you.”

In an acoustic flurry Don played well-known hits And I Love You So and Crying – the opening notes of each drawing applause from the obviously life-long fans in the audience. A brilliant display of how songs should be written and performed was brought to a close with a rousing rendition of his biggest hit, American Pie.

I was still 14 years off gracing this earth when it was first released back in the 1970s yet I, along with everyone else in attendance, knew every word – it’s just one of those enduring songs that connects with people.

As he left the stage to a rapturous standing ovation there was only one thing missing, but it did arrive.

Emerging alone for his second encore, Don played the most mesmerising acoustic version of Vincent to an absolutely silent audience, clearly in awe of one of the great songwriters and performers of the 20th century.