Saturday, July 04, 2015

03-July-2015
Kongsberg Jazz Festival

 Kongsberg, Norway


Setlist (Thanks Ragnar)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
By His Grace
Carrying a Torch
The Way Young Lovers Do
Higher Than the World
Days Like This
Baby Please Don’t Go/ Parchman Farm/ Don't Start Crying Now
I Can't Stop Loving You
Wild Night
Moondance
Who Can I Turn To?
Precious Time
Whenever God Shines His Light
Here Comes the Night
Brown Eyed Girl
Bright Side Of The Road
Think Twice Before You Go
Things I Used To Do
Jambalaya
Help Me
Gloria/ Who Do You Love

Big Hand for The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Friday, June 26, 2015

25-June-2015
Blenheim Palace

 Woodstock, England

Brendan Hynes sends in his review
The layout and surrounds of Blenheim Palace compared favourably with Hampton Court Palace, scene of a number of excellent shows from Van Morrison in recent years. Sadly , tonights show did not bear comparison with those shows as Van embarked on what must be the biggest 'greatest hits'show for many a long day.One can usually gauge the quality of a Van concert by having a look through the setlist and this one says it all really. The set was filled with numerous 3-4 minute happy clappy 'hits'which admittedly seemed to go down a treat with the typical talkative festival type audience. There was no interaction between Van and the audience throughout and as the set list shows the show was totally devoid of any soul,mysticism or any of the other elements that go to constitute a 'real' Van Morrison concert experience. While the music was expertly performed as ever and Van was in fine voice throughout, this was one of those concerts that Van could probably perform in his sleep at this stage with the minimum of effort required.Highlights, which for me were few and far between, consisted of By His Grace, Carrying a Torch with Dana Masters featuring prominently on shared vocals, Enlightenment which was really nice and Tore Down A La Rimbaud which provided some respite in the midst of the hits. The show finished with an extended Gloria as the band delivered a really good funky workout as they attempted to fill out the set time which just reached Ih 25m. The much anticipated duet will bill sharer Gregory Porter never materialised but given the break neck speed with which Van rushed through the set it was no real surprise in the end.

This was one of the most disappointing Van shows I have seen for many a long day!
-Brendan Hynes

London Jazz News (source)
Gregory Porter and Van Morrison - Nocturne in the Great Court of Blenheim Palace
(Woodstock, Oxfordshire. 26th June 2015. Review by Sebastian Scotney)

What a great location. The organizers of next weekend's third Love Supreme Festival - at Glynde in Sussex - were doing a warm-up act for their festival, bringing a double bill of Gregory Porter and Van Morrison to Oxfordsire for this happy one-off event in the great court of Blenheim Palace, the first concert in this location for over a decade. The folk of Oxfordshire responded to this first invitation in great quantities. It wasn't sold out, but the numbers for a first event looked very healthy indeed.

Gregory Porter's band did a one-hour set. His voice and personality carry such warmth, he makes the transition from more intimate spaces to these larger stages with ease. It was a well-chosen set, establishing the tone with There Will Be No Love Dying Here, through tunes like Hey Laura and culminating in the edgier 1960 What? The band carries with it a real feelgood vibe wherever it goes, with some really creative piano work from Chip Crawford, and saxophonist Yousuke Soto suggesting that his headphone listening on tour these days may go all the way from Dave Koz to Evan Parker.

Experienced Van Morrison watchers with an eye for his crabbiness level were telling me that the relaxed Woodstock (Oxfordshire) vibe had got through to him too. As the well-worked 90 minute set progressed, the 1960s, the Van hits and the 2010s with a few numbers from the recent Duets album coalesced happily, and more and more people - it was the older audience members who led the way - got up and danced. And the jazz quotient of Moondance, as it morphed in to So What and My Funny Valentine, kept this jazz-nut very happy.

Fortune has definitely been smiling on Van Morrison's band since Dana Masters from South Carolina made her home in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. She brings a great powerful gospelly voice, ideally suited to the Van Morrison songbook, to this band. She had a chance to shine on Sometimes We Cry, but it was all too brief.

The organizers did seem to have thought of everything, with good sound, places to stroll beforehand and in the interval, the vibe overall was particularly relaxed. Careful thought had stretched to ensuring the logistics of speedily getting cars off the site afterwards. They had also planned the essential for an outdoor location in Southern England: good weather.

Setlist (Thanks Petra)
Celtic Swing(?)
Close Enough For Jazz
By His Grace
Carrying A Torch
Baby Please Don’t Go > Parchman Farm > Don’t Start Crying Now
Moondance
Days Like This
Precious Time
Enlightenment
Wild Night
Here Comes The Night
Tore Down A La Rimbaud
Sometimes We Cry
Open The Door (To Your Heart)
Whenever God Shines His Light
Jackie Wilson Said
Bright Side Of The Road
Brown Eyed Girl
Real Real Gone
Gloria

Big Hand for The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

19-June-2015
Forest Hills Stadium

 New York, USA


New York Times (source)
“Road, the road, the road, the road, the road it never seems to end,” the newly knighted Sir Van Morrison sang on Friday night at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, in the only United States show on his current tour. At 69, Mr. Morrison has accumulated considerable mileage. But he was feisty and focused in this show.

When Mr. Morrison starts turning words into mantras, as he did with “the road,” he’s headed toward his most improvisatory mode, toying with rhythm and searching for nonverbal meanings. The song was “Magic Time” from 2005, one of his many songs invoking an idyllic past. Yet as he melted down the lyrics over the tune’s easy jazz shuffle, repeating them percussively or stretching them into melismas, and picked up his alto saxophone for a solo of insistent trills and growls, he sounded as if he was wrestling with the song’s nostalgia, not fully embracing it.


Mr. Morrison has always been poker-faced onstage: saying little between songs, concealed (in recent decades) behind dark glasses and a hat, standing nearly still until he wants to cue his band. The performance is in his voice, his choice of songs and the liberties he takes with them. For a singer with a catalog as huge as Mr. Morrison’s has grown — he started recording in the mid-1960s — each concert tour is a way to reassess his message, to locate himself in pop history and to recast the memories of his longtime fans. Mr. Morrison made this concert mostly about positive thinking and reassurance. Between obligatory hits, he chose determinedly optimistic songs, like “Close Enough for Jazz,” and avowals of faith, like “By His Grace.” Shana Morrison, his daughter, joined him for the ominous “Rough God Goes Riding,” about faith in a desperate era, as she does on his latest album, “Duets: Re-working the Catalogue.” When he did sing hits, he treated some like their studio versions — a crisp “Wild Night” — and thoroughly reworked others, like a Jamaican-tinged “Brown Eyed Girl.”

For nostalgia, Mr. Morrison aligned himself with the jazz and blues he grew up on. “Moondance,” his swinging 1970 hit, had solos quoting “My Funny Valentine” and Miles Davis’s “So What.” Venting antisocial impulses that aren’t in his own songs, Mr. Morrison chose blues full of heartbreak turning to rage: Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used to Do,” John Lee Hooker’s “Think Twice Before You Go.”

He was, in a way, unfusing the fusion that has been his greatest achievement. Mr. Morrison’s most memorable albums, from the late 1960s and early 1970s, were idiosyncratic and inspired blends of blues, rock, soul, jazz, country, folk-rock, Celtic music and stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Afterward, he often separated out what he had woven together.

“We’ll walk down the avenue again/ And we’ll sing all the songs from way back when,” Mr. Morrison sang in “And the Healing Has Begun,” from 1979. But he started changing lyrics, played some lead guitar, scat-sang along with his solo and, as the band vamped, what had been a spoken-word coda became an open-ended incantation, with bits of lyrics like “ease on up” and “backstreet jellyroll” dissolving into ecstatic babble. He started swaying like someone testifying in a gospel church. He wasn’t remembering a song from way back when. He was living it anew.
-JON PARELES

Mike Fishman share his thoughts on gig
The weather cooperated and a welcome breeze drifted through the outdoor venue over the near-capacity crowd as Van strolled on stage. One thing never changes at a Van show and that is the palpable sense of excitement and anticipation among crowds that are almost always comprised of fans who have seen him dozens of times and those seeing The Man live for the first time. A good show, Van in fine form and animated, giving us the blues, a few classic growls, some golden oldies and finally a bit of the sublime when the Healing finally began. The up crowd responded strongly to the blues and classics like Moondance, Here Comes The Night, Wild Night and a re-invigorated Brown-Eyed Girl. Van gave us a gorgeous slowed-down Days Like This, appeased the hardcore fans with By His Grace and Bright Side Of The Road and finally took us to the realm only Van can with a beautiful And The Healing Has Begun. Set list perhaps a bit heavy on the hits for some but even in the songs that at first may feel disappointing there is always a lesson to be learned, ie, Precious Time is slipping away.


Van moaned into the blues harmonica, drove the drummer on, did his Clint Eastwood impersonation and sang like only Van Morrison can, his voice still rich, warm, supple and occasionally startling. He could have blown the metaphorical roof off the stadium into the starlit Queens night but the powerful magic Van has access to was reigned in for a crowd looking for a fun time, filled with nostalgia perhaps, but not in the mind-set for introspection. This was most evident in the shortened version of In The Afternoon, a song Van has often taken to the stratosphere but last night cut short after going nowhere special. In fact, with the exception of And The Healing Has Begun, Van declined to truly take any song down the ancient highway. As usual, Van has assembled an outstanding band to support his unique style of inspiration and they seriously rocked on a long instrumental jam at the end of the expected closer Gloria, Van long gone but the swirling sound from the stage thrilling in its intensity.

Setlist
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
By His Grace
Carrying a Torch
Baby Please Don't Go
Magic Time
Moondance
Days Like This
Wild Night
Rough God Goes Riding w/Shana Morrison
Precious Time
Enlightenment
Here Comes The Night
In the Afternoon
Whenever God Shines His Light
Brown eyed Girl
Real Real Gone
Bright Side Of The Road
And the Healing Has Begun
Gloria

Big Hand for The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)
Special Guest: Shana Morrison (Vocals)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

15-June-2015
Royal Albert Hall

 London, England


A review of the Lead Belly Fest can be read at Get Ready To Rock.

Setlist (Van's Set)
Astral Weeks
Ella Speed
Cleaning Windows
Midnight Special
Goodnight Irene

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sir Van
  

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

08-June-2015
Stadthalle Wien

 Vienna, Austria


Wiener Zeitung

The great Celtic, Blue-eyed- and "just" soul singer Van Morrison has performed in Vienna.

Since now already again some time it makes the Master's disciples not easy. After all, Van Morrison goes according to its own definition since the late 70's no longer on the road, just to give more loosely concerts instead. The man can afford it themselves and the Entourage long regeneration phases concede at the hotel. As a part-time tourist cities on scavenger hunt is likely the old curmudgeon abroad not be more striking.

Sometimes you have to follow even the greatest white soul voice of all time at jazz festivals, so as not to see there between 12-bar blues and Hotelbarjazz necessarily motivated performances. For a rare Vienna audience in turn working people may heckle the Stadthalle, thanks to a time scheduled at 19 clock concert start on Monday, where the 69-year-old service, although with a three quarter of an hour late, yet still competes in the pre-primetime. With "Celtic Swing", Van Morrison conditioned on the saxophone and his band on solid red Jazz, the Hotelbarbef├╝rchtungen prove to be justified here. Everyone gets his solo, there are friendly applause.

A phase of stage fright has indeed long since overcome Van Morrison. Solidifying 3500 Before today either before or Ehrfrucht you know-it-not-even-in seat concert anyway until almost the end of the chairs remaining lovers and connoisseurs seems the master still have longing for the hotel. So hastily strung song to song and musician is summoned to the organ, the counterparty to the electric bass to musicians from the piano, giving the impression that the evening could be rather short as entertaining. Especially here ostentatious, commonly referred to as "art pure enjoyment" reception are Vollblutmusikertum kess between syncopations, triplets, trills and the next Bass Solo defiance must be remembered that Van Morrison always have sufficient two or three vocal sounds to the spectrum of human emotions by measure - and to force us to our knees.

And indeed, the voice does not stop even today just yet. In the Stadthalle unusually clear sound and fair shines Van Morrison, despite stage heat with sunglasses and hat buttoned in the tailored suit, with all moods, as well as in moments of extreme musical routine as a man with feeling. In "Days Like This" as later gods song from 1995 while also no particular emphasis is needed to make the audience cheer. With tape and a major improvement in pretty gospel male-female vocal dialogues background singer away from a not already anticipated best-of-concert the work between klaviergetragenem songwriter, trained jazz and gently groovy R & B to many a classic pass is good at least in its stylistic range staked. Where the tender is not out of the background john lee hookern the guitars with the mud from the Mississippi Delta, but also cheap rate in Konzerthaus etiquette considered gereichten Blues.

Towards gospel mass
Interesting addition to the baton Van Morrison, with his back to the agents enforced meaningful over the right fist, and that the polarity always on spirituality Northern Irishman should feel comfortable especially in generous spiritual part of the daily changing set list. After the concert with "Whenever God Shines His Light" device at the end to intimately ecstatic gospel mass.

When the at least once garagenrockistischen Them classic "Gloria" also plays in the band Rage, the master is himself but already disappeared behind the stage, never to return with exactly no addition also. 90 minutes have been defeated, the Enlightenment coincides with the hall light to the ground.
-Andreas Rauschal

Setlist (Thanks Martin)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
By His Grace
Carrying a torch
Baby Please Don't Go/ Parchman Farm/ Don't Start Cryin' Now
Moondance
Days Like This
precious time
Here Comes The Night
Magic Time
Enligthenment
Retreat and View
Open The Door (To Your Heart)
Tore Down A La Rimbaud
Wild Night
Brown Eyed Girl
Did Ya Get Healed
In The Afternoon/ Ancient Highway/ Raincheck/ Burn Baby Burn
Whenever God Shines His Light
Help Me
Gloria

Big Hand for The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Saturday, June 06, 2015

06-June-2015
Piazza Del Loggia

 Bresci, Italy

via Paolo Brillo

Setlist (Thanks Diana)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
By His Grace
Days Like This
Precious Time
Baby Please Don't Go/Don't Start Cryin' Now
Moondance
Brown Eyed Girl
Carrying A Torch
Bright Side of the Road
Sometimes We Cry
Early In The Morning/Rock Me Baby
Real Real Gone
Little Village
Magic Time
Here Comes The Night
I Can't Stop Loving You
Whenever God Shines His Light
In The Garden
Help Me
Gloria

Big Hand for The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Monday, May 25, 2015

24-May-2015
Town Hall 

Late Show
 Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

Brendan's review of the 2nd Warrenpoint gig
After opening yet again with Celtic Swing Van Morrison shifted very much into jazz mode with Centrepiece/Corinne Corrina ( featuring a really good instrumental intro and brilliant trumpet playing by Paul Moran) followed by Sack Of Woe, St.James Infirmary and Mondance.Little Village then got a rare airing and provided a welcome change of emphasis.As in the early show Van then performed his BB King tribute with Early In The Morning/Rock Me Baby to great acclaim. Think Twice Before You Go kept things lively and was followed by Jambalaya which Van introduced by saying they were going to play some rock and roll and emphasising that it wasn’t rock as rock doesn’t roll!. Things I Used To Do immediately followed and the concert was beginning to feel like an informal blues/ rock and roll session but normal business was somewhat restored with In The Midnight. Whenever God Shines His Light not only allowed Dana Masters to shine on shared vocals but also featured great guitar and bass solos from Dave Keary and Paul Moore respectively to such a degree that Van got a bit excited and started to clatter along on tambourine towards the end.Somewhat surprisingly Van once again performed an extended In The Afternoon and this time he conducted a Q and A session with what he considered a blues audience asking in turn who had heard of Big Joe Turner, TV Mama, Flip Flop and Fly etc.etc. This song was followed by Van’s stage departure only to return for Gloria.

This show was very much geared towards a blues/jazz audience and was pretty lacking in classic songs from Van’s extensive repertoire with around half of the songs performed being cover versions of other people’s work.The concert was again disappointingly very short at 1 hour 19 minutes.

-Brendan Hynes

Set List
Celtic Swing
Centrepiece/Corrine Corrina
Sack Of Woe
St.James Infirmary
Moondance
Little Village
Early In The Morning/Rock Me Baby
Think Twice Before You Go
Jambalaya
Things I Used To Do
In The Midnight
Whenever God Shines His Light
In The Afternoon
Gloria

Big Hand for The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

24-May-2015
Town Hall 

Early Show
 Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland

Brendan Sends in his thoughts on First of two gigs
After the unsurprising opening Celtic Swing, Van Morrison moved firmly into jazz territory to deliver Close Enough For Jazz and If You Only Knew before performing a rare rendition of Meaning Of Loneliness which featured nice organ from Paul Moran and guitar from Dave Keary. As a tribute to the late BB King Van then performed stirring versions of Early in The Morning (which Van recorded with BB some years back) and Rock Me Baby. Van was in great form during these numbers aided in no small measure by his excellent band who fairly motored along.An extended In The Afternoon followed and provided the high point of the performance for me with Van taking things right down before bringing the song towards it’s conclusion as he repeated the phrase Burn Baby Burn over and over to the hushed audience. I Believe To My Soul was brilliant as always and saw Paul Moran excel on trumpet. Talk Is Cheap and Sometimes We Cry were followed by a rendition of a Chuck Willis number in What Am I Living For? which was pretty ordinary. Baby Please Don’t Go/Parchman Farm/Don’t Start Crying Now were lapped up by the blues appreciators who made up the majority of the audience before Van brought things way down for a really good In The Midnight which saw Dave Keary’s high pitched vocal range put to the test again much to Van’s apparent amusement. Rapid fire renditions of Things I Used To Do and Help Me incredibly triggered Van’s departure before a quick return for Gloria.

This show was solid and enjoyable without reaching too many lofty heights. As always with these double shows in one evening (but hopefully not at the forthcoming Cyprus Avenue concerts) the show was shortened considerably clocking in at a pretty miserly I hour 18 minutes leaving the audience somewhat short changed to say the least.

-Brendan Hynes

Set List
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
If You Only Knew
Meaning Of Loneliness
Early In The Morning/Rock Me Baby
In The Afternoon
I Believe To My Soul
Talk Is Cheap
Sometimes We Cry
What Am I Living For?
Baby Please Don’t Go/Parchman Farm/Don’t Start Crying Now
In The Midnight
Things I Used To Do
Help Me
Gloria