Monday, June 20, 2016

15-June-2016
Nells Jazz And Blues

 London, England
Late Show



Setlist (Tentative - Thanks Geoff P.)
Centrepiece/Corrina Corrina
The New Symphony Sid
Goin' Home
Think Twice Before You Go
Whenever God Shines His Light
Every Time I See A River' (New Song)
*Unknown New Song
Too Late (New Song)
Carrying A Torch
Sometimes We Cry
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchman Farm/Don't Start Crying Now
In the Midnight
In The Afternoon/Ancient Highway/Burn Baby Burn/Raincheck Burn/Raincheck

Big Hand For The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Mez Clough (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)
Chris Barber (Trombone)


15-June-2016
Nells Jazz And Blues

 London, England
Early Show


Pamela K. sent in this review
The early show at Nell's was scheduled for a 7:00pm start and posters at the venue told us that it was being filmed. However, we should have guessed that the evening would not be straight-forward when the support act was cut short after just 3 tracks, as Van was going to come on 45 minutes early. The band, including guest trombone legend, Chris Barber, walked on stage and drummer, Mez Clough, started counting in the first song. Unfortunately, bassist Paul Moore, wasn't ready, which led to Paul Moran, stopping proceedings. This little hiccup appeared to set the tone for subsequent proceedings!

After this false start, Van opened on saxophone with Centrepiece / Corrina Corrina but there was clearly tension on stage. Mez looked nervous and Van appeared rather displeased. Next up - The New Symphony Sid - not one of my favourites but it had the redeeming feature of a duet with Van and Dana Masters. Van then trotted out professional but uninspired versions of Goin' Home, Think Twice before You Go and I Believe To My Soul, by which time our hearts were beginning to sink. Where was the spontaneous, passionate Van who thrives on the intimate atmosphere of a small jazz club, such as Nell's?

Things started to look slightly more promising with an upbeat version of Did Ye Get Healed?, followed by Saint James Infirmary, which allowed Van, Paul Moran and Chris Barber to showcase their brass skills. Then, suddenly, one of those inexplicable moments occurred which characterise a Van Morrison concert. Van started to chuckle mid-way through In The Midnight, Dave Keary shared the joke and the whole mood on stage lightened. Now the concert changed beyond all recognition. The audience started calling for requests but Van announced he was going to do "some new material" and gave us two songs, neither of which he introduced. The first song had a similarity to When The Leaves Come Falling Down, whilst the second was in the vein of Tore Down a la Rimbaud. No doubt, both will feature on his new album, apparently due for release in the Autumn, and these performances bode well.

Clearly, Van had heard my husband, Chris, calling out for Someone Like You earlier because he then told us that he had had a request and launched into a heart-felt version of it. Now he was visibly enjoying himself and once this song had finished, I took the opportunity to ask for Why Must I Always Explain? At first, Van looked surprised and responded with "You want that?" "Yes", I said, and so he popped his guitar over his shoulder and treated us to a superb version of this great song, even asking his roadie to re-tune his guitar halfway through whilst the solos from other band members were being played, so that he could join in again towards the end, in fine tune. Here was the inspired, passionate Van!

The audience and Van were now on a roll. Chris chanced his arm with another request - this time for "Thanks For The Information". Van launched straight in, enthusiastically, for a brilliant rendition of this classic, featuring excellent work from Paul Moran on trumpet and organ plus Dave Keary on guitar. This was followed by a sublime nine-minute version of In The Afternoon and, to use Brendan's expression, we put on our seat-belts to enjoy this journey down the Ancient Highway. Van was obviously enjoying Dave Keary's wonderful guitar solo and then Paul Moran's trumpet solo. He also relished the whoops and woos from the audience during the Don't You Make Me High section - chuckling through the lyrics. The song reached a magnificent crescendo -- one of those transcendental musical moments that only Van can create. What a delight!

Time was now against us, so we went straight into Gloria -- a fairly brief version but delivered with gusto. The band were all set for a lengthy jam, only to receive a signal from the roadie to cut it short, probably because the club had to turf everybody out in preparation for the evening show. Each band member still managed to contribute excellent solos, including Chris Barber, Mez Clough, who had recovered from his initial angst and was now clearly enjoying himself, and Dana, whose scatting has become a highlight of the jam. And so the show ended after 83 minutes to wild applause.

All in all, a somewhat tense beginning but, once Van started to relax and enjoy himself, there were many magical moments. The ability to see Van in this intimate venue is just such a wonderful experience. I would really recommend to any Van fan that they try to see him at least once in this venue and, hopefully, there will be many more chances to do so.

However, as we left the club, Vince, the owner, was getting an ear-bashing from some disgruntled members of the audience who had turned up at 7:00pm, only to find they had missed half the show! The moral of this story is to be sure to turn up early to any Van gig ... just in case!
-Pamela Kendix

Setlist
Centerpiece/Corrina Corrina
The New Symphony Sid
Goin' Home
Think Twice Before You Go
I Believe To My Soul
Did Ye Get Healed?/Yeh Yeh
Saint James Infirmary
In The Midnight
New Song 1
Every Time I See A River (New Song)
Someone Like You
Why Must I Always Explain?
Thanks For The Information
In The Afternoon/Ancient Highway/Burn Baby Burn/Raincheck
Gloria

Big Hand For The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Mez Clough (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)
Chris Barber (Trombone)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

14-June-2016
Hampton Court
East Molesey, England

via Mathew Jeffrey
Brendan Hynes sends in this review
Van Morrison made a welcome return tonight to Hampton Court Palace which has regularly inspired him to deliver outstanding performances at the venue over recent years. The show opened unsurprisingly with Celtic Swing and Close Enough For Jazz before Van announced that we were going to have some trombone tonight at which point jazz legend Chris Barber took to the stage and he was immediately involved to great effect in a cover called I'm Going Home. Magic Time which followed saw Van in great voice on a particularly strong version. When this was followed by a magical rendition of Did Ye Get Healed it was clear that Van was up for the concert tonight as he brought the music up and down and back up again to great effect. St James Infirmary got a relatively rare outing with Van prominent on saxophone. Van then raised the tempo with a powerful Wavelength which featured a great guitar solo from Dave Keary and Van playing tambourine with rare enthusiasm.Wild Night kept up the high tempo before Carrying A Torch was delivered to great acclaim.Whenever God Shines His Light featured great guitar and trombone solos and was one of the best versions I have heard. I Believe To My Soul brought us back to 'Its Too Late To Stop Now' territory and saw both Van and Dana Masters in great voice throughout.Enlightenment was notable for a nice trombone solo from Chris Barber and was followed by In The Afternoon which saw Van repeat the phrase "keep on rockin' if it feels good" over and over after he had safely negotiated the ancient highway. Baby Please Don't Go /Parchman Farm/Don't Start Crying Now featured some great improvised trombone playing by Chris Barber which enhanced delivery no end. Moondance and Brown Eyed Girl were enthusiastically received by the more boisterous audience members and were followed by a song I didn't recognise which may be titled Its Too Late. Help Me saw Van enter the finishing straight in a high powered version which featured a great trombone solo from Chris Barber and saw Paul Moran excel on organ throughout. After a quick departure Van returned one last time for Gloria to greatly please the enthusiastic audience who were now on their feet and indeed many had rushed towards the front of the stage.When Van had finally departed the stage the band cut loose with extended solos from each band member with Paul Moran on organ,Paul Moore on funky bass, Chris Barber on trombone, Dave Keary on guitar and Dana Masters on vocals all delivering their party pieces before this week's drummer Mez Clough delivered a fine drum solo to considerable acclaim from the excited audience.

While this show didn't reach the transcendental heights of previous shows at the venue it did see Van in fine voice and giving a committed performance throughout. Set time was 1h 42m.
-Brendan Hynes

Get Surrey
The king of the troubadours brought a sell-out crowd at Hampton Court Palace to its feet with a storming version of Gloria to finish a polished performance earlier this week.

Typically, rather than milking the applause, Morrison exited the stage mid-song to leave the rest of the band to finish the concert.

It was a fitting climax to a masterclass where Morrison effortlessly eased through a set of more than 20 tracks from his extensive back catalogue, with the addition of a cover of St James Infirmary, presumably added to demonstrate the talents of the octogenarian trombonist Chris Barber.

Older readers will remember Barber as a band leader, and he surprisingly played the whole show.

The rest of the band comprised drums, bass, guitar, backing singer and a keyboardist who doubled as trumpeter.

With a jazzy feel throughout, Morrison kicked off his set with the instrumental Celtic Swing, moving seamlessly into Close Enough For Jazz and then one classic track after another, including a sensational version of Moondance.

Others included Brown Eyed Girl, Carrying A Torch, Whenever God Shines His Light On Me, Baby Please Don’t Go and Magic Time.

Contrary to his reputation as a moody performer, the Blues Brother look-alike certainly appeared to enjoy himself throughout the show, while directing his ensemble with a military precision and having a stage hand on constant duty to receive instructions.

Now into his seventies, his voice is as strong as ever and it is clear that Van is still "the man".
-Chaz Brooks

Setlist (Thanks Wim)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
Going Home
Magic Time
Did Ye Get Healed?
St. James Infirmary
Wavelength
Wild Night
Carrying A Torch
Whenever God Shines His Light
I Believe To My Soul
Enlightenment
In The Afternoon/Ancient Highway/Burn Baby Burn/Raincheck
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchman Farm/Don't Start Crying Now
Moondance
Brown Eyed Girl
Too Late (New Song)
Help Me
Gloria

Big Hand For The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Mez Clough (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)
Chris Barber (Trombone)

Saturday, June 11, 2016

09-June-2016
Harrogate International Centre
Harrogate, England

Long time Van fan, James T., sent in this review:
It had been a while since I’d seen Van live. I have learnt over the 27 shows that I’ve seen since 1999, that it’s best not to have any expectations. Harrogate International Centre is by far the most infuriating venue to enter. A strange large spiral ramp led me to the bar area. I looked for the merchandise stall, nowhere to be seen. Back down the spiral staircase! I asked the front of House manager where was the stall . “The merchandise will be on sale after the show – it has been requested that we only sell after the show” – weird I thought! Was I actually in the right place, right town?

The auditorium itself is great – a plain large space with arena style raked seating, sweeping in a large semi-circle. Every seat has a great view and despite the fact that I had a “cheap” seat I was not at all disappointed. I settled down and waited for 8pm.
The band entered to a polite reception shortly followed by “Sir Van Morrison” launching into Celtic Swing. Van was blowing hard on the sax and I thought “this is it – we are in for a good one” Van leaned back, arching his back, forcing the sax to find the groove. Van was swinging the sax from side to side, he seemed quite animated, more animated that I had seen before. “Yes” I thought “we are going to get healed tonight”

Close Enough For Jazz and Centrepiece followed and it was remarkable how strong Vans voice is. It is quite phenomenal and certainly makes me feel immensely proud to be a fan. Van chose a very jazzy opening and I felt that this was not really a great start. It was very low – key and unfortunately it seemed as if it was going to be one of the nights where Van, band and audience were struggling to find the groove.

The night was not without its highlights though and Van certainly wasn’t phoning it in. He was trying in every song but something was not quite gelling. The band couldn’t be faulted, they were there for Van in every moment. A really strong group of musicians led excellently by Paul Moran. I felt sorry for Paul who seems to be getting hard time from Van at the moment. Van spoke to him several times throughout the gig and it seemed that Van was putting him through his paces. During one song Paul sat up and down 5 times to alternate between trumpet, cornet and keyboard. Dana Masters is wonderful and during her solos the audience around me gasped at the power of her singing. Dave Keary and Paul Moore on Guitar and Bass contributed many spirited solo. It was great to see Liam Bradley on drums, he’s fitted in very well.

Highlights for me were Wavelength, Magic Time, By his grace, The Beauty of days gone by, Did ye get healed? and Whenever god shines his light.

It seemed, at times, that Van was really rushing through the songs. In fact during Whenever God Shines his Light after the 1st chorus van launched straight in to the final “da dup, da dups” only to come back again to them later!
Did ye get healed was very welcome but the pinnacle had to be The Beauty of Days gone by. This was wonderful. When Van switches it’s on there is nothing better.

So overall I really enjoyed the night, the concert had its moment but it was definitely J-O-B rather than J-O-Y . A solid 7/10 in my opinion and we all know what a 10/10 is like!

I have to come back to that voice, trying hard to turn the lead into gold. Well, Van found a few nuggets in Harrogate and we have to keep remembering it’s been a very tough week. So I’m going to cut him a break and say a big thankyou to Van, the band and crew– see you further down the road!
-James Tennant

Setlist (John M.)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
Magic Time
By His Grace
Someone Like You
Baby Please Don't Go/Don't Start Crying Now
Here Comes The Night
Wavelength
Sometimes We Cry
Wild Night
Crazy Love
Whenever God
Keep It Simple
Enlightenment
Think Twice Before You Go
Moondance
Real Real Gone
The Beauty of the Days Gone By
Brown Eyed Girl
Did Ye' Get Healed
Gloria

Time ~ 1h 45m

Big Hand For The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Liam Bradley (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

07-June-2016
Donald Gordon Theatre
Cardiff, Wales

via The Guardian
Brendan sends in this review
After opening the show as has become the norm with Celtic Swing and Close Enough For Jazz, Van then transported us Higher Than The World which was really nice before a committed version of Magic Time which included a nice trumpet solo from Paul Moran which seemed to really please Van. A good version of Keep It Simple was followed by the jazzy Centrepiece which included nice trumpet and guitar solos. By His Grace was a rather unique version as Van used the instrumental break to walk over to Paul Moran on keyboards to debate the correct key for the song before emphasising his point to Paul Moore on bass and Dave Keary on guitar. Incredibly, Van then just resumed the vocals where he had left off despite his obvious displeasure and I have to say it sounded good to my ears anyway. Enlightenment, In The Midnight and Moondance followed in quick succession and at this point I felt that the concert needed a spark to really ignite it. This spark immediately arrived in the form of special guest Bryn Terfel who performed two songs with Van. Firstly, we had The Beauty of The Days Gone By which is rarely performed live but I doubt that it has ever been performed better than tonight with Bryn's powerful but velvet smooth vocals complementing Van's superbly. The version of Shenandoah which followed was simply wonderful and the brilliant exchange of vocals by Van and Bryn was further enhanced by some lovely slide guitar from Dave Keary. Sadly, Bryn's contribution ended after that and personally I would have been delighted if himself and Van had collaborated on many more numbers as it was quite a unique partnership.

Whenever God Shines His Light was notable for some nifty harmonica from Van and nice guitar and organ solos. Given that this was Van's first concert since the sad death of his mother Violet it was entirely fitting that the next song performed was the beautiful Someone Like You sung with great feeling by Van and aided in no small part by Dana Masters on shared vocals and Paul Moran with lovely trumpet and organ solos.The tempo was then raised considerably by a powerhouse version of Wild Night before both the volume and the lights were brought way down low for another fine rendition of In The Afternoon with Van bringing us down the ancient highway once more before finally providing us with his Burn Baby Burn and Raincheck references. The always welcome Wavelength which followed was simply brilliant and especially featured a great guitar solo from Dave Keary and wonderful organ throughout from Paul Moran. Brown Eyed Girl brought some order to proceedings but Carrying A Torch which followed elevated matters once more with fine vocal exchanges between Van and Dana.When Van produced his harmonica and launched into Help Me we knew the end was nigh but he did return once more for Gloria which yet again saw Dana excel and garner a fine reception for her incredible vocal contribution after Van had departed and left the band to their own devices to finish the show.

The set time was 1h 36m.
-Brendan Hynes


via The Guardian

The Guardian
To the list of pop-opera crossover odd couples – John Denver and Placido Domingo, Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé – is now added Van Morrison and Bryn Terfel. The Northern Irish singer-songwriter and the Welsh bass-baritone shared a stage on Tuesday at the Festival of Voice in Cardiff in what was advertised as a “one-time-only performance”.

Morrison is now Sir Van and, while his Welsh co-star is so far gazetteered only as a CBE, he is unofficially a king in Cardiff, and the four-level Donald Gordon Theatre at the Wales Millennium Centre had sold out at up to £85 a ticket.

Few music teachers or producers would recommend either man’s build-up for this gig. The previous day, at the east Belfast church that is mentioned in his song On Hyndford Street, Morrison had performed that number and two others at the funeral of his 94-year-old mother, whose singing talent he inherited. Terfel meanwhile had hurtled round from Llandaff Cathedral, where he had just completed a Bach, Handel and Mozart recital.

In trademark hat and shades, Van and his band began with a tour of his back-catalogue of morosely romantic and spiritual songs, including Enlightenment and By His Grace. Then, about half an hour into the gig, the burly Morrison was instantly dwarfed when Terfel, hot-tonsilled from the cathedral, walked on stage in sports jacket and jeans.

There must have been a collective hope that Wales’s blue-eyed boy would join a duet of Brown Eyed-Girl, or that the singers would do a Moondance à deux. In fact, Van and the man he introduced as his “very special guest” chose two satisfyingly more imaginative collaborations.

Taking alternative verses, and sharing the choruses, they sang Morrison’s The Beauty of the Days Gone By, a haunting reflection on the pleasure and regret of memory, and then the North American folk-song Oh, Shenandoah! The Missouri fur traders to whom the tune is attributed could never have hoped to have a richer and more spine-tingling rendition than this. With Morrison lifting his voice to its limits to meet Terfel working in the balladeer middle of his range, there was a lovely sense of two deeply committed musicians working with mutual respect. During Terfel’s solos, his co-star accompanied him on guitar or sax.

They will surely come under pressure to renege on the promise to do this only once and over a greater distance than this interlude. It would take an unexpected series of results for Wales and Northern Ireland to meet in the Euro 2016 football finals that start on Friday, but all who saw this musical international friendly will remember it as an extraordinary match.
-Mark Lawson

WalesOnLine
In 1973, Van Morrison led his illustrious eleven piece band, The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, on an extended tour of the U.S.A and Europe, a tour which climaxed in London’s celebrated Rainbow Theatre concerts and the recording of the legendary double live album Too Late to Stop Now (1974). The band’s guitarist and long-time Morrison sidekick John Platania observed that the tour ‘represented the height of Van’s confidence as a performer’. Within a year, however, the orchestra had been slimmed down and re-christened as the Caledonia Soul Express, before being wound up altogether by a fatigued and depressed Morrison determined on quitting the rock ‘n’ roll rat race. ‘There was a period where I didn’t write, I didn’t play guitar and I didn’t even listen to music’ admitted Morrison. To fill the void, he studied Jungian Psychiatry, enrolled in a course to release accumulated tension and attended Alcoholics Anonymous for a spell, before retreating to the sanctuary of a home he’d sarcastically sign-boarded as “The Van Morrison Self-Improvement Camp”.

His self-imposed exile lasted for the best part of three years, before the born-again troubadour returned to the fray with the underwhelming comeback album A Period of Transition (1977). In an interview with Rolling Stone, Morrison acknowledged that he had been holed up in a Belgian Hotel ‘completely at the end of my rope’ when he took the decision to step off the touring treadmill. All the more astonishing, then, forty years down the line that the Van Morrison Roadshow has rolled into town once again, with the septuagenarian soul man playing Cardiff for a remarkable fifth time in six years.

This time around, the unique selling point for hardcore fans is the chance to see the newly ennobled Belfast Cowboy on stage as part of the city’s inaugural Festival of Voice, sharing the limelight with international luminaries Hugh Masekela, Femi Kuti and Rufus Wainwright, as well as renowned talent from closer to home in the shape of John Cale and Van’s very own special guest for the evening Bryn Terfel.

Morrison is greeted with feverish applause, from what seems like a full house at the Wales Millennium Centre, as he joins his five piece band on stage just as they strike up the soft-hued instrumental “Celtic Swing”. There’s no doubting that this is a well-drilled combo (you simply don’t survive a year-long route march with Sir Van unless you can cut the musical mustard), and Paul Moran (keyboards), Dave Keary (guitar), Paul Moore (bass) Liam Bradley (drums) and Dana Masters (vocals) are all well attuned, by now, to Morrison’s renowned mood changes and mid-song shuffling of a set list.

The band kick into rather anodyne versions, despite Morrison’s sterling efforts on Tenor Saxophone, of “Close Enough for Jazz”, “Higher than the World” and “Magic Time” which all make for a lukewarm start to the gig, though things hot up somewhat with a carousing cover of the Harry Edison and John Hendricks’ jazz standard, “Centrepiece”, a song which Morrison recorded with his chum Georgie Fame for their 1995 collaboration How Long Has this been Going On. Serviceable renditions of “Enlightenment” and “In the Midnight” lead into a re-jigged and rejuvenated “Moondance”, which perfectly sets the scene for the introduction of Bryn Terfel. Van’s observation (which I’d like to think is without sarcasm) that ‘we’re lucky people’ is soon borne out by a brace of wonderful duets.

Morrison has recently restored the strangely overlooked “The Beauty of the Days Gone By” to his live set after a three year absence and his paean to childhood memory is duly transformed into a brooding ballad by the Welsh base-baritone. The opera singer really does appear to be enjoying himself immensely on stage, even though his attempts at making eye contact with his co-star are constantly thwarted as Morrison peers resolutely over Paul Moran’s left shoulder and into the wings. “Shenandoah”, an 18th century folk song that seems to have originated with American fur trappers along the Missouri River, evolved into a sea shanty and finally turned up on the soundtrack of a couple of Jimmy Stewart Westerns in the 60’s, is a sure-fire showstopper . It’s a song both Morrison and Terfel have already recorded (with the Mormon Tabernacle choir and The Chieftains respectively), though its tonight’s magisterial collaboration that will live long in the memory.

A sprightly “Whenever God Shines His Light”, with Dana Masters delivering a neat vocal alongside Van, and whistle-stop renditions of 24 carat Morrison classics “Wild Night, “Wavelength” and, of course, “Brown Eyed Girl” (10 million radio plays and counting) keeps the crowd at fever pitch. A stunning medley of “In the Afternoon”/ “Ancient Highway” “Joe Turner Sings”/ “Burn baby burn”/ and “Raincheck” finds Van at his “mystic” best and is followed by another finely poised Masters and Morrison duet “Carrying a Torch”.

With a host of self-penned standards to his name Morrison doesn’t have to filch material from his peers to freshen up a set, but he gets such an obvious kick out of paying homage to the legendary blues, soul and country singers of his childhood that his gigs truly come to life as he re-works their signature songs. Last year’s St David’s Hall show was constructed around intense re-imaginings of Ray Charles’ “I Believe to My Soul”, Sam Cooke’s “Bring it on Home to Me” and Bobby Bland’s 1961 hit “Turn on Your Love Light,” all songs that have been in the singer’s repertoire since his days in schoolboy Skiffle band The Sputniks. With the emphasis largely on jazz tonight, though, it’s only right at the very close of a 21 song set that we get a stonewall blues classic in the shape of a steadfast “Help Me”. It was the 609th time Morrison had performed the Sonny Boy Williamson, Ralph Bass and Willie Dixon song live, but he still sang it like he meant every word. There’s a single song encore, a tempestuous version of his garage rock classic “Gloria” that features a fine organ break from Paul Horan and a lengthy scat singing finale from the sublime Masters before Morrison takes his leave and the lights go up.

Tonight’s show had much to recommend it, not least, of course the chance to simply witness a legendary performer go about his business. The set list, while ticking most of the boxes (Van performed his three most popular songs after all, not something he’s always willing to do), wasn’t the most imaginative of presentations and was a little top heavy with jaundiced Jazz workouts, though well appreciated, overall, by an enthusiastic crowd. Disappointingly, the tributes to his late friend BB King and the Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer numbers “Miss Otis Regrets” and “Travelling Light” that have featured regularly this year were left to one side this evening.

Some Morrison gigs stay with you for ever – the incredible triple header at the Kings Hotel in Newport in 1990 being personal favourites, tonight’s workmanlike effort (those glorious duets aside) may be harder to recall as the years slip by.
-KEVIN MCGRATH

Setlist (Thanks Al B.)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
Higher Than The World
Magic Time
Keep It Simple
Centrepiece
By His Grace
Enlightenment
In The Midnight
Moondance
The Beauty of the Days Gone By w/Bryn Terfel
Shenandoah w/Bryn Terfel
Whenever God Shines His Light
Someone Like You
Wild Night
In The Afternoon/Ancient Highway/Burn Baby Burn/Raincheck
Wavelength
Brown Eyed Girl
Carrying A Torch
Help Me
Gloria

Big Hand For The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Liam Bradley (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Monday, May 30, 2016

29-May-2016
Town Hall 

Late Show
 Warrenpoint
 Northern Ireland



Brendan sent in this review
The second of Van Morrison’s shows was again opened in fine fashion by the Bluez Katz Bluez Band who were afforded a warm reception not enjoyed too regularly by support acts.
After the all too predictable Celtic Swing opener we were then treated to a really strong I Believe To My Soul which featured Dana Masters prominently on shared/backing vocals and a great trumpet solo from Paul Moran. Symphony Sid was once again reprised to be followed by Early in The Morning/Rock Me Baby which featured a great organ solo from Paul Moran, fine harmonica from Van and really good guitar throughout from Dave Keary. The rarely performed Kingdom Hall went down a treat after which Van put on his acoustic guitar for the even rarer The Beauty Of The Days Gone By. Moondance, featuring several band solos, was followed by another rendition of Travelling Light. A great version of Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child followed to great acclaim and led into Real Real Gone featuring nice vocals from Dana. A couple of excited ladies proceeded to dance in front of the stage during this song only to be ushered to the side by an over - zealous steward. Van seemed quite amused and at the commencement of Carrying A Torch which followed joked that if they wanted to dance during this song it wouldn’t be a problem. It was a great version with both Van and Dana excelling vocally. Bright Side Of The Road was very well delivered and featured Van doing his Louis Armstrong impression at some length. Cleaning Windows kept up the high tempo and it increased further with a powerful Wild Night. Whenever God Shines His Light highlighted Dana’s vocal abilities once more before Van brought the show towards finality with Help Me. After Van briefly departed he returned one more time for Gloria which saw Paul Moran go into overdrive on synth and organ and Dana deservedly bring the house down with her brilliant vocal contribution after Van had exited the stage.

This show was in my view much superior to the first one but was far from a vintage performance nevertheless.

The set time was 1h 23m.

-Brendan Hynes

Setlist (Thanks Al B.)
Celtic Swing
I Believe To My Soul
Symphony Sid
Early In The Morning
Kingdom Hall
The Beauty of the Days Gone By
Moondance
Travelling Light
Motherless Child
Real Real Gone
Carrying A Torch
Bright Side of the Road
Cleaning Windows
Wild Night
Whenever God Shines His Light
Help Me
Gloria

Big Hand For The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Mez Clough (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

29-May-2016
Town Hall 

Early Show
 Warrenpoint
 Northern Ireland


Brendan sent in this review
This was the first of Van Morrison’s two concerts at what has by now come to be his annual appearance as part of the Blues on the Bay festival. The show was once again opened by the Bluez Katz Blues Band which are very much a family affair with half of the six piece band consisting of father, son and daughter and their four song set of blues/jazz rock classics was highly entertaining with a nice brass section augmenting the overall sound to considerable effect.

Van’s set opened in very predictable fashion with Celtic Swing and Close Enough for Jazz while the jazz theme was continued with Symphony Sid which featured Dana Masters on extended vocals. Magic Time and Playhouse followed in quick succession before Van told us that these type of shows gave them the opportunity to do songs they wouldn’t normally do. What followed were covers of Miss Otis Regrets (featuring a nice trumpet solo from Paul Moran) and Travelling Light which Van told us was a Billie Holliday song with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The usual medley of Baby Please Don’t Go/Parchman Farm/Don’t Start Crying Now went down well and was followed by In the Midnight which was well delivered and included a nice organ solo by Paul Moran.Both Whenever God Shines His Light and Sometimes We Cry saw Dana feature prominently on shared vocals. Think Twice Before You Go moved at a fair pace with the band in full flow before Days Like This calmed everything down again. By His Grace featured a nice organ sound throughout before we were returned once more to the ‘hits’ territory with Brown Eyed Girl and Precious Time, neither of which did much for me personally. Wild Night was powerfully delivered after which Van entered the finishing straight with Help Me before departing the stage only to return once more for Gloria which was notable for Dana’s great vocals after Van had finally departed.

My overall feeling was that this was a very disappointing show with none of the really outstanding or spine tingling moments that one normally associates with a Van Morrison concert and a distinct absence of any hint of the celtic mysticism for which Van is so well renowned. There was quite a degree of over- reliance on the radio friendly ‘hits’ which are arguably mainly of appeal to ‘occasional’ fans of Van’s music .

The set time was 1h 20 m.

-Brendan Hynes

via Meg M.
Setlist (Thanks Al B.)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
Symphony Sid
Magic Time
Playhouse
Miss Otis Regrets
Travelling Light
Baby, Please Don't Go/Parchment Farm/Don't Start Crying Now
In The Midnight
Whenever God Shines His Light
Sometimes We Cry
Think Twice Before You Go
Days Like This
By His Grace
Brown Eyed Girl
Precious Time
Wild Night
Help Me
Gloria

Big Hand For The Band!
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Mez Clough (Drums)
Dana Masters (Vocals)




Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Box Set Coming In June
..It's Too Late to Stop Now...
Volumes II, III, IV
 

Three CDs of Unreleased Live Music From Van's Legendary 1973 Summer Tour 
DVD of BBC TV Broadcast of London Show

Pre-order from Amazon.com

Legacy Recordings Announces Release of Van Morrison's ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW...VOLUMES II, III, IV & DVD, A Monumental Collection of Previously Unavailable Live Performances from Historic 1973 Concert Tour with the 11-Piece Caledonia Soul Orchestra

3CD/1DVD Set--Newly Remixed from Original Multi-track Tapes by Guy Massey--Available Friday, June 10

Also Coming: ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW...VOLUME I, Remastered High Resolution Edition of Morrison's Groundbreaking Live Concert Masterpiece Album, Available in 2CD and 2LP Configurations

Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, in association with Exile Productions, Ltd., is pleased to announce the release of Van Morrison's ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW...VOLUMES II, III, IV & DVD on Friday, June 10.

A 3CD/1DVD collection of previously unreleased live concert recordings from Morrison's mythic 1973 tour with the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW...VOLUMES II, III, IV & DVD collates peak performances originally recorded at three venues: The Troubadour in Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Civic Center, and The Rainbow Theatre in London. The set's DVD features professionally-lensed live footage from the Rainbow Theatre, which originally aired on the BBC in the UK and is now available for the first time as a commercial home video release.

Often cited as one of the best live albums ever made, Van Morrison's original ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW... has been remastered in 24-bit high resolution sound and will be available in both 2CD and 2LP configurations, creating the first vinyl pressing of the album in more than 25 years plus availability of the album to hi-res partners (Mastered for iTunes, HD Tracks, Pono).

Morrison's highly acclaimed 1973 concert album was compiled from eight sets of live performances--recorded at The Troubadour, the Santa Monica Civic Center and The Rainbow Theatre--and was notably free of any post-performance overdubs or studios "fixes". ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW...VOLUMES II, III, IV & DVD returns to those original performances, first captured on two-inch 16-track analog tapes, and, through the mastery of noted engineer Guy Massey, puts the contemporary listener in the enviable position of being sonically present at each venue. All of the recordings on the new collection have been previously unavailable and none of them overlap with the performances on "Volume I" of ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW....

"I am getting more into performing," said Van Morrison in 1973, during his tour with his newly-formed Caledonia Soul Orchestra. "It's incredible…. All of a sudden I felt like 'you're back into performing' and it just happened like that…. A lot of times in the past I've done gigs and it was rough to get through them. But now the combination seems to be right and it's been clicking a lot."

Morrison's 1973 tour found the Irish soul singer at the peak of his powers, returning to the stage to deliver scorching definitive renditions of the signature material comprising his catalog at the time, from the R&B/rock roots of THEM to the haunting folk soul of Astral Weeks and Moondance in songs like "Gloria," "Into The Mystic," "Warm Love," "Domino" and more. Accompanied by the 11-pice Caledonia Soul Orchestra, featuring two horn players and a four-piece string section, Van Morrison set a new standard for live performance while ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW... raised the bar on what was possible on a concert recording.

Each disc on ..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW...VOLUMES II, III, IV & DVD features previously unreleased performances, newly remixed from the original multitrack recordings by Guy Massey (the acclaimed engineer behind the remasters of The Beatles and Paul McCartney). Massey's new mixes recreate the sonic atmosphere of each venue, from the standing-room-only intimacy of The Troubadour to the expansive excitement filling the 3,000-seat Rainbow Theatre.

Van Morrison
..IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW...VOLUMES II, III, IV & DVD

VOLUME II (Recorded live at The Troubadour, Los Angeles, May 23, 1973)
1. Come Running (Van Morrison)
2. These Dreams Of You (Van Morrison)
3. The Way Young Lovers Do (Van Morrison)
4. Snow In San Anselmo (Van Morrison)
5. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)
6. Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke)
7. Purple Heather (Van Morrison)
8. Hey, Good Lookin' (Hank Williams)
9. Bein' Green (Joseph G. Raposo)
10. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
11. Listen To The Lion (Van Morrison)
12. Hard Nose The Highway (Van Morrison)
13. Moondance (Van Morrison)
14. Cyprus Avenue (Van Morrison)
15. Caravan (Van Morrison)

VOLUME III (Recorded live at the Santa Monica Civic, California, June 29. 1973)
1. I've Been Working (Van Morrison)
2. There There Child (Van Morrison, John Platania)
3. No Way (Jeff Labes)
4. Since I Fell For You (Woodrow Buddy Johnson)
5. Wild Night (Van Morrison)
6. I Paid The Price (Van Morrison, John Platania)
7. Domino (Van Morrison)
8. Gloria (Van Morrison)
9. Buona Sera (Carl Sigman, Peter De Rose)
10. Moonshine Whiskey (Van Morrison)
11. Ain't Nothing You Can Do (Don D. Robey, Joseph Wade Scott)
12. Take Your Hand Out Of My Pocket (Sonny Boy Williamson)
13. Sweet Thing (Van Morrison)
14. Into The Mystic (Van Morrison)
15. I Believe To My Soul (Ray Charles)

VOLUME IV (Recorded live at The Rainbow, London, July 23 & 24, 1973)
1. Listen To The Lion (Van Morrison)
2. I Paid The Price (Van Morrison, John Platania)
3. Bein' Green (Joseph G. Raposo)
4. Since I Fell For You(Woodrow Buddy Johnson)
5. Into The Mystic (Van Morrison)
6. Everyone (Van Morrison)
7. I Believe To My Soul (Ray Charles)
8. Sweet Thing (Van Morrison)
9. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)
10. Wild Children (Van Morrison)
11. Here Comes The Night (Bert Berns)
12. Buona Sera (Carl Sigman, Peter De Rose)
13. Domino (Van Morrison)
14. Caravan (Van Morrison)
15. Cyprus Avenue (Van Morrison)

DVD (Recorded live at The Rainbow, London, July 24, 1973)
1. Here Comes The Night (Bert Berns)
2. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Willie Dixon)
3. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)
4. Moonshine Whiskey (Van Morrison)
5. Moondance (Van Morrison)
6. Help Me (Ralph Bass, Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson)
7. Domino (Van Morrison)
8. Caravan (Van Morrison)
9. Cyprus Avenue (Van Morrison)

THE CALEDONIA SOUL ORCHESTRA:
Jeff Labes – piano & organ
Dave Shaw – drums
John Platania – guitar
David Hayes – bass guitar
Jack Schroer – alto, tenor, baritone saxophones
Bill Atwood – trumpet
Nathan Rubin, Tim Kovatch & Tom Halpin – violin
Nancy Ellis – viola
Terry Adams – cello

ORIGINAL RECORDINGS PRODUCED FOR CALEDONIA PRODUCTIONS, INC.
BY VAN MORRISON AND TED TEMPLEMAN

www.vanmorrison.com
www.legacyrecordings.com

27-April-2016
Wang Theatre
Boston, USA



Long time Van fan, Dan Murray, shares his thoughts on Van's Boston gigs:


Blessed in Boston

These were Van’s first appearances in his old Boston stomping grounds since August 2009, so the pent up anticipation was keen.

The Wang Theater audience was hopped up and excited, and Van reciprocated with two beautifully paced shows that spanned all his strengths: The power and subtlety in the most enduring voice of his generation, the constantly evolving and inventive phrasing, the extended codas on the workshops, the sweet sound of surprise. The band was with him all the way in its contribution to the songs, sounding much greater than the sum of its parts.
Shana got both gigs started with 3 songs each night while the audience wandered in and settled down. She featured some of her father’s songs: Lovely versions of Angeliou and Sweet Thing. In a tribute to Prince, she offered a passionate version of Purple Rain in which she showed how far her voice has advanced in tone and expression.


The band assembled in the wings waiting for Morrison to arrive each night. On Night 2, Dana Masters was jogging in place as she worked off some nervous energy. 


The band entered the stage and Van was right behind them at the stroke of 8, possibly a minute or two early on the second night, as is his wont.


Celtic Swing, the traditional instrumental opener of late, was taken at a sprightly place and set the tone nicely for Van’s vocal entrance on Close Enough for Jazz, a smooth warmup tune. These songs have been paired for quite some time now, and there are those who are hankering for a change. But I realized in Boston how nicely they work for Van to get his bearings and get down to business.


From there, the set lists each night varied nicely.

On Night 1, we got a lovely Magic Time and In the Midnight before the first real surprise of the night.

Van’s buddy Chris Farlowe was in town, and joined Van for a rousing take on Born to Sing, much more expressive than the studio version. Farlowe, when used properly as in Boston, is an engaging and invigorating presence for Van. He knows his part well and the audience loved him. We know we can’t say the same thing about some of the hardcore fans’ attitude toward Farlowe. But in Boston it worked.


Shana then came on stage for a duet on the old chestnut That Old Black Magic, which at times seems to have run its course. Not this night. It frothed and foamed and spun and twirled and Paul Moore’s fingers were doing the tango and the jitterbug on his electric bass. 


“That was fun, that was fun,” Van said.


The lustful blues of Rock me Baby was up next, signaled by Dave Keary’s bell-like electric guitar, and Van turned this one into pure sex, cherry faced in that Hollywood bed.
“Roll-a-me, roll-a-me, roll-a-me, roll-a- me, just like a wagon wheel!” Yow.


The sets both nights featured a great mix of love songs and ballads like Someone Like You , Carrying a Torch, Into the Mystic and Enlightenment. There were also the familiar and much loved up tempo tunes such as Wavelength, Wild Night, and Brown Eyed Girl. We even got Kingdom Hall on Night 2 as a tribute to Prince.


All were expertly delivered with joy and conviction. I am not sure I have ever seen Van as energized as he was on Night 1, a little less so on Night 2 but still seriously into the music. One fan referred to Van’s body language as “startlingly animated.” He bent and swayed and reared back and sang his heart out. He made love to that golden mike stand.


The workshops on both nights were the full course. On Night 1, In the Afternoon was rich and creamy, with more sex, and lots of longing, Van ending up feeling really good rocking in that same old boat on a golden autumn day. “Feels good to me!” one audience member shouted back.


All in the Game/Burning Ground never wears out its welcome. About 12 minutes of emotional testimony on those ineffable feelings of being immersed in life and in love, ending with Van taking his loved one’s hand and going across that river of no return. No Plan B, no safety net, This is IT!


Special moments on Night 2 were a terrific blues medley with Farlowe that started with Stormy Monday and spontaneously combusted into Take Your Hand out of My Pocket, Little Red Rooster and finished up with Going Down Slow, Van pleading: “Please write my mother And tell her the shape I'm in, Tell her to pray for me, and Forgive me, and forgive me, forgive me for my sins.”


Van and Chris nailed this one. One of the most exhilarating moments of the evening.
Van also did a great duet on Rough God Goes Riding with Shana.


This provided a forum for the comedy segment of the show, with Van doing his rough god comes riding in “just like” Di Niro, Pacino, and Eastwood impersonations. 


The unexpected final name check went like this:
“OK this one is really gonna… be very difficult, but, as we’re in America we really need to know. 


“Ok, (Van extends his hand in a thumbs up and thumbs down gesture) …just like Donald Trump” (some cheers and lots of boos). “Make up your mind. If you keep going like that, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be a Clinton if you keep going like that, so. Just like Bill Clinton” (clicks his tongue a couple times). “Bill goes: A-A-A-A-A-men!”


Draw conclusions at your own risk.


Another rolling version of Afternoon had Van doing little leaps and yelps at the mike stand as he luxuriously took the song even further than Night 1. Van told the crowd that if it feels righteous, if it feels good, if it feels right, DO IT.


An authoritative version of Thanks for the Information was like hard blue crystal, Van ending with a whispered coda of : “Thanks for the information, thanks for the memories.” Over and over. Sweet sensation running across the shoulders and up the back of the neck.


There was even a new verse. It was that kind of night:
“Thanks for the information, never give a sucker an even break.
Thanks for the memories, whenever I’ve had all I can take .
Thanks for the warning -- up front, up front -- there’s a danger sign in the road.
Thanks for the meditation, just have to keep on rolling along.”
Game on Night 2 gave us a new twist, with September Song taking over the middle portion of this epic. 


“On a high and windy hill, two lovers kissed, and the world stood still. It’s a long, long way from May to September, and the days grow short, when you reach, when you reach September, and the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame, and I ain’t got time for the waiting game.”

Making it real one more time, again and again.

Both shows ended with a joyous version of Stand by Me, Farlowe assisting, before the band took the show out with an extended instrumental raveup.


Big hand for the band!

It’s easy to take Paul Moran for granted on the keys and the trumpet. His playing is so virtuosic and integrated into the music. He is spot on, always. 

Dave Keary on guitar can play gentle and rough and has the perfect tone for every solo.
The rhythm section of Bobby Ruggiero on drums and Paul Moore on bass anchor the proceedings. Bobby’s drumming is cracking and precise; Moore appears much more relaxed on the bass and was even playing strong melodic lines at times.


Dana Masters on background vocals got to shine by taking verses on some of the ballads and a very nice one on Symphony Sid. She got to scat ecstatically on Stand By Me and the audience loved it.


It was great to hang with the gang, as always, faces both new and familiar.
Boston is one boss town. Even if the lighters at the local convenience story had only two choices: Patriots or Red Sox. Not even a solid color available. A totalitarian sports town.
What a week to see a master at work and at the very top of his game, vital and engaged. It can’t always be that way, for Van or me or anybody. After all, as Van’s song says, we’re only human. How can we not be attached. 


At these shows, Morrison's commitment was total.
Even if he never did pick up that guitar.
-Dan Murray


Setlist (Thanks Mike S.)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
Symphony Sid
Magic Time
By His Grace
Carrying a Torch
Rough God Goes Riding w/Shana Morrison
Stormy Monday/Blues Medley w/Chris Farlowe
Thanks For The Information
Kingdom Hall (Prince dedication)
Wavelength
Someone Like You
Wild Night
In the Afternoon
Whenever God Shines His Light
Help Me
All In The Game/September Song/Burning Ground
Stand By Me w/Chris Farlowe

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