Royal Concert Hall
Van Morrison was knighted by Prince Charles this year. At 71, he's still a genuine one-off, a musical giant who has influenced countless lesser talents, many of whom have gone on to achieve far greater fortune and fame, with his intoxicatingly original blend of soul, jazz, spirituality and Celtic mysticism.
On stage in Nottingham, he wasn't trying to charm us. Evidently suffering from a bit of a cold, he kept attacking a large box of paper tissues and drinking glasses of water and cups of what looked like throat medicine. Smartly dressed in suit, hat and shades, he barely spoke to the sold-out audience, and gave only the briefest gruff instructions to his razor-sharp six-piece band.
But it didn't matter. Despite the sniffles, his voice soared as he tore through a setlist crammed with classics, played with astonishing delicacy, taste and - just when you didn't expect it - explosions of primal power.
Although some of the eccentricity is doubtless explained by his legendary stage fright, he still seems remarkably uncomfortable on stage. Time and again, in mid-song, he turned to his setlist or some other item on the pile of paperwork behind him, only to magically turn to the microphone and tear into the next verse at exactly the right moment.
He began with two songs from latest album Keep Me Singing, his 36th. It's a lovely record, and one which shows his total disregard for anything approaching musical fashion. The man who's performed with Bob Dylan and Dr John also had a hit single with Cliff Richard, remember, and the new album features backing vocals from Lance Ellington, who regularly sings with the band on Strictly Come Dancing.
After kicking off with latest single Too Late, he pulled out Every Time I See A River, a new song co-written with 78-year-old West End lyricist Don Black, who also wrote the words for Born Free and Diamonds Are Forever. The result is 100 percent Sir Van, though. It was great.
With a back catalogue totalling hundreds of songs, it's always a question of what he's going to leave out. But there were plenty of gems for the hardcore fan - a raging Tore Down A La Rimbaud, a masterful Beautiful Vision, a soulful Crazy Love - and plenty of hits for the rest, including beautiful versions of Someone Like You and Sometimes We Cry, and even a surprisingly powerful rendition of his Cliff co-hit Whenever God Shines His Light.
The only letdown was Have I Told You Lately, on which the melody was thrown away by the over-hasty tempo of an ill-advised new arrangement.
As he raced towards the end, we got Moondance, Brown-Eyed Girl and a spectacular No Guru, No Method, No Teacher which he was still singing as he walked off, bringing the house down.
Moments later he was back for an explosive Gloria, which brought the oldest audience I've ever seen at a concert to its feet before he raced off for the final time, unleashing his band to hammer home several minutes of instrumental virtuosity before lights-out and home. Champion.
Setlist (Thanks Pamela)
Every Time I See A River
Higher Than The World
Have I Told You Lately
Someone Like You
Carrying A Torch
Moondance/ My Funny Valentine
Baby Please Don't Go / Don't Start Cryin' Now / Gimme Some Lovin / Here Comes The Night
Whenever God Shines His Light
Tore Down a la Rimbaud
Sometimes We Cry
I Can't Stop Loving You
Full Force Gale
Brown Eyed Girl
In The Garden