Friday, September 05, 2014

Lit Up Inside
Selected Lyrics

 Van Morrison

Introduction by Eamonn Hughes
Foreword by David Meltzer, Ian Rankin


Van Morrison selects his best and most iconic lyrics, spanning 50 years of writing and representing his entire creative journey.

Van Morrison is one of a handful of truly iconic twentieth century artists. Along with Bob Dylan, he was one of the first contemporary lyricists to infuse a serious poetic sensibility into popular music. A colossal influence on a wide range of fellow musicians, he has been a singular beacon of artistic integrity, soulful conviction and musical excellence.

One of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time, Morrison has been following his muse in an uncompromising way since the early Sixties. He has explored soul, jazz, blues, rhythm & blues, rock and roll, Celtic folk, pop balladry and more, forging a distinctive amalgam that has Morrison's unvarnished passion at its core. He has referred to his music as "Caledonia soul," reflecting his deep immersion in American roots music and Ulster-Scots.

This personal selection of what Morrison himself has judged to be his most important and enduring lyrical work will stand as a landmark public statement from an otherwise intensely private artist, an intimate and very intentional view onto what Morrison himself esteems as his creative contribution.

The introduction by Eamonn Hughes, of Queen's University Belfast, gives a career-long overview of the creative influences Morrison has absorbed and channeled through the years, and the forewords provided by poet David Meltzer and novelist Ian Rankin provide an appreciation of the writer's craft demonstrated in Morrison's evocative, timeless lyrics.

A must for any fan, and a solid introduction to this singular, iconic talent.

*A UK edition of Lit Up Inside will be released simultaneously by Faber and Faber.

"Tupelo Honey has always existed and Van Morrison was merely the vessel and the earthly vehicle for it."–Bob Dylan

"I know of no music that is more lucid, feelable, hearable, seeable, touchable, no music you can experience more intensely than this. Not just moments, but extended . . . periods of experience which convey the feel of what films could be: a form or perception which no longer burls itself blindly on meanings and definitions, but allows the sensuous to take over and grow . . . where indeed something does become indescribable."–Wim Wenders, filmmaker

"No other Irish poets–writing either in verse or in music–have come within a Honda's roar of Patrick Kavanagh and Van Morrison"–Paul Durcan

Publisher City Lights Publishers
Format Hardcover
Nb of pages 230 p.
ISBN-10 0872866777
ISBN-13 9780872866775

Monday, August 25, 2014

24-August-2014
Orangefield High School

 Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast Telegraph

I have a confession to make. I'm not really sure it's a wise move to confess it in this newspaper, but here goes. I never really got Van Morrison. When I was young, I took the road signposted punk rock, garage and New York, stuff like Talking Heads and Velvet Underground plus a lot of reggae. R'n'B, Caledonian/Celtic soul and all that sort of thing was another musical highway heading in another direction.

When friends said Astral Weeks, I said White Light/White Heat in the sort of uncompromising, boneheaded arguments that the young have over music.

Coming to Northern Ireland, you have to be careful, though. Van is yours and, no matter how often he has failed to return your affection, that far-away look in your eye when his music is mentioned is a warning sign not to be flippant.

Certainly not to suggest in jest, as I did once, that if Van was playing in my back garden I'd pull the curtains and put on the snooker. People in this office have still not forgiven me for that.

But in recent times I have been fascinated by his story arc. He's given so much back to Belfast lately and gigged so often I think he might actually be due to play my back garden soon.

We'll never know why he's come back to us big-style, because he'll never tell us. But his co-operation with the new Mystic Of The East heritage trail, which takes us to The Hollow, Connswater River, Cyprus Avenue and all the places that formed him and figure in his songs is perhaps a sign that, as we get older, those of us who have spent much of our lives "getting away" at some point spiritually or physically long to return.

We begin to forgive home for the sins we attached to it, recognise that in our impetuous, grab-at-life youth we were partially to blame for our acrimonious separation and start to make our peace. And perhaps Van has now turned this life journey into one of the most artistically poignant performances we are likely to witness.

The chance to see this is why, together with hundreds of others, I am crammed into the plastic moulded chairs of our school-day nightmares as Van plays the last of his gigs at Orangefield School's assembly hall on Sunday night.

Surreal isn't really the word. The place is closing down almost before our eyes, the last pupils having left last term. The fixtures and fittings are being taken down. You half expect the doors to be removed from their hinges by the time you come to leave.

But here we are in the hall where the young Van probably sat dreaming of escape while the headmaster droned on up on the stage. Now we are in Van's place and he is up there. Except we do not take our eyes off him nor refrain from listening.

On the tiny stage he is delivering what might be one of the gigs of his life using a voice of such astonishing lustre and beauty it's like he's stolen it from a man half his age.

He doesn't really acknowledge us, but nobody expected him to. The songs, full of the loving references to this place and its surrounds, are moving even to this sceptic's ears.

Around us all is changing and soon, when the bulldozers come, this gig will join the ghosts of thousands of kids being ordered not to run in the corridors, in detentions, winning sports days, just vague outlines, hazy memories.

Sunday night's audience know how lucky they are to have such a chronicler for their small part of the world. Van's songs are timeless even as buildings are reduced to dust.

Would you still pull your curtains, my companion asks as we head out into the night? Probably not, I admit.
-Mike Gibson

Setlist (Thanks David K.)
Celtic Swing
Got To Go Back
Joyous Sound
Centrepiece
Orangefield
Magic Time
Someone Like You
Northern Muse
Whenever God
Cleaning Windows
Too Many Myths
Talk is Cheap
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchman Farm
Sometimes We Cry
Brown Eyed Girl
Precious Time
Enlightenment
Hyndford Street
Ballerina
In The Garden

Big Hand for The Band!
Chris White (Saxophone)
Alistair White (Trombone)
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Special Guest: Dana Masters (Vocals)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

23-August-2014
Orangefield High School

 Belfast, Northern Ireland


Brendan sent in his thought on the gig
This was the second night of Van Morrison’s three night stint at his old school and the only one of the three officially open to members of the general public who were not former pupils or teachers.With Van’s mother, Violet in attendance and sitting proudly up front to see her son bring it all back home this promised to be a night to remember and it certainly was that and more.

Opening as usual with the instrumental Celtic Swing, Van then drew one of the first of many rousing cheers from the audience as he referenced Orangefield during Got To Go Back. The aforementioned Orangefield song of the same name quickly followed and provided the first of many highlights on this night of nights. The song was particularly notable for the great brass arrangement and some particularly ferocious strumming of the electric guitar from Van mid way through which added to the sheer power of the delivery. Choppin Wood was delivered at a blistering pace before Van brought things to a slower tempo with the beautiful Someone Like You which featured guest backing vocalist Dana Masters singing a couple of verses with a voice as smooth as velvet. The up tempo Cleaning Windows was somewhat disjointed at first but the band pulled it back together so that it eventually sounded as one would hope and expect.A really nice Enlightenment followed with Van on harmonica before a nice surprise followed in Wonderful Remark during which the brass section really excelled. A very strong Retreat and View was followed by Moondance which was notable for a particularly nifty piece of bass playing by Paul Moore.Van then made his way to the piano and delivered a sublime Northern Muse(Solid Ground) which drew a rapturous audience reaction. Van had brought us into the sacred mystical territory that many of us love so much and he followed with a mesmeric Celtic Excavation/Into the Mystic. Van brought the band’s volume way way down as he repeated the phrases “turn around”and “hand on my shoulder”over and over to a hushed audience before bringing the song to it’s conclusion. Magic Time continued the mystical mood before a change of tempo saw Whenever God Shines His Light, Sometimes We Cry and Rough God Goes Riding (the Clint Eastwood impression must have bitten the dust tonight and did not feature) delivered in quick succession.All three songs featured Dana Masters trading vocals in fine style with Van. As the concert headed towards it’s climax Van delivered a strong That’s Life during which he started to giggle and somewhat distracted asking “where was I”which drew a response of “rolled up in a big ball”from some of the more helpful attendees. The song had a rather unorthodox conclusion with Van looking somewhat bemused by the band’s interpretation of how the ending should sound. Van then brought us on a communal journey way way back as he sang/read/chanted his way through On Hyndford Street before exiting the stage chanting and leaving the audience breathless. One sensed that this may the end but Van had other ideas and came back to finish us off with a final coup de grace which was manifested in a magnificent 13 minute In The Garden.When Van had thanked the band and left the stage we were treated to a series of virtuoso solos from the band members who were armed with the raw material of one of the most beautiful melodies ever written by Van or indeed any artist as the audience clapped along wildly. It was a fitting climax to a wonderful concert.

It was clear to the lucky 300 or so present that the young Ivan Morrison certainly learned a thing or two at Orangefield High School!
-Brendan Hynes

Setlist (Thanks Wim)
Celtic Swing
Got To Go Back
Orangefield
Choppin Wood
Someone Like You
Cleaning Windows
Enlightenment
Wonderful Remark
Retreat and View
Moondance
Northern Muse (Solid Ground)
Into The Mystic
Magic Time
Whenever God Shines His Light
Sometimes We Cry
Rough God Goes Riding
That's Life
On Hyndford Street
In The Garden

Big Hand for The Band!
Chris White (Saxophone)
Alistair White (Trombone)
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Special Guest: Dana Masters(Vocals)

22-August-2014
Orangefield High School

 Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast Telegraph

With bottles of water and fizzy pop the only refreshments on offer and a curfew of 9.30pm in place, last night at the EastSide Arts Festival was a decidedly un-rock 'n' roll affair.

But that hadn't stopped a capacity crowd from shelling out £85 a head to see local legend Van Morrison.

The last time Morrison trod the boards of Orangefield High, he would have been ‘Van the Boy', but he returned every inch the conquering hero.

After the customary Celtic Swing intro had set the mood, the first words out of the singer's mouth were the opening lines of Got To Go Back.

“When I was a young boy back in Orangefield,” crooned the portly figure in black, “I used to look out my classroom window and dream.”

Morrison's dreams have certainly come true, and if his choice of setlist is to be taken at face value, he wouldn't change a thing.

“If I had to do it all over, I'd do the same thing again,” he sang on third song Only A Dream.

As for his erstwhile classmates and teachers, several hundred of them had crammed into the school's assembly hall.

The school’s closure is a shame on many levels, not least because the acoustics in the hall were better than those in many purpose-built music venues.

Every note Morrison and the band played was crystal clear, and the main man's vocals have rarely sounded better.

Needless to say, he was hardly Mr Chatty, but he did seem in good form, whether announcing a “comedy section” (“Billy Connolly said I was very, very, very, very funny”) or delivering an impromptu Clint Eastwood impression during Rough God Goes Riding.

Elsewhere, Morrison delighted with a string of hits including Moondance, Whenever God Shines His Light, Days Like This and Brown Eyed Girl.

The highlight of the evening was arguably the 1999 track Precious Time.

The sentiment of the lyrics (“It doesn't matter to which God you pray/Precious time is slipping away”) took on a deeper resonance given the occasion.

Now in his late sixties, it's clear Morrison has fallen in love with his home country all over again. The star has played everywhere from the Harp Bar to Dunluce Castle over the past few years, and he's booked for two nights at the Europa Hotel in October. But for sheer nostalgia and cultural significance, nothing is likely to top last night's school reunion at Orangefield.
-Andrew Johnston

Setlist (Thanks Wim)
Celtic Swing
Got To Go Back
Only A Dream
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchman Farm
Back On Top
Someone Like You
Symphony Sid
Moondance/My Funny Valentine
Who Can I Turn To?
Open The Door (To Your Heart)
Keep It Simple
Days Like This
Whenever God Shines His Light
Real Real Gone/You Send Me
Pecious Time
I Can't Stop Loving You
Rough God Goes Riding
Orangefield
Brown Eyed Girl
Help Me
Ballerina

Big Hand for The Band!
Chris White (Saxophone)
Alistair White (Trombone)
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Special Guest: Dana Masters(Vocals)

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

03-August-2014
Cambridge Folk Festival

 Cambridge, England



Brendan sent in this review
Not being a fan of open air festival concerts largely attended by inebriated talkative audiences,I travelled to Cambridge with no great expectations that this would be any different and it wasn't really despite Van Morrison's best efforts.Starting with Celtic Swing,Van then performed a really nice Little Village before a strong Whenever God Shines His Light brought the crowd to life in a big way.The first real high point followed with Someone Like You being delivered beautifully for the second time in a week after so many years exclusion from set lists.Unfortunately it's delivery also coincided with an outbreak of loud talking and laughing from a particular group of typical festival attendees who were very annoyed at being asked to keep quiet.I really wish these people would stay out at the bar or better still stay at home altogether and let the music lovers enjoy the show in peace!Next up was the highlight of the show for me with a fantastic rendition of Queen of the Slipstream with Van's vocals being complemented beautifully by Shana Morrison's singing.Van brought the band and indeed the audience into overdrive with a thunderous Baby Please Don't Go/Parchment Farm which nearly brought the tent down.Van then informed us that because it was a folk festival he thought he had better play a folk song so he play Dead or Alive which didn't do much much for me I have to say.Normal business was quickly resumed when Enlightenment followed with nice harmonica from Van and a solid version of Rough God Goes Riding but without the infamous Clint Eastwood impression.This left me wondering if Van may be working on some new impressions which he may unleash on us shortly,particularly now that he has discovered that Billy Connolly thinks he is very funny.
At this point the concert went off in a different direction and in footballing parlance it was the classic concert of two halves.We were now transported very much into festival set territory with Playhouse,Days Like This,Moondance,Precious Time(which went down a storm prompting Van to shout "One more time"before leading another chorus)and Real Real Gone merging with You Send Me being delivered in quick succession.I Can't Stop Loving You brought some respite although Shana's vocal contribution midway through was almost totally drowned out by the noisy chattering masses before Van returned to the microphone with a thunderous vocal performance to counteract the audience noise.The inevitable Brown Eyed Girl(ouch!)followed with the singalong crowd in their element.The concert was nearing it's conclusion now and after Help Me was delivered Van thanked the band and left the stage before quickly returning to deliver Gloria.It looked like a fairly predictable ending but there was a surprise in store when Van left the stage as the band cut loose on a 5 minute James Brown style funk routine which was quite magnificent and breathed new life into the standard set closer.
As festival shows go this was one of the better ones but the behaviour of the audiences at such shows continues to be a source of huge annoyance which detracts from the enjoyment for real music lovers and leads artists like Van into tailoring their sets accordingly.
-Brendan Hynes

Setlist
Celtic Swing
Little Village
Whenever God Shines His Light
Someone Like You
Queen of the Slipstream
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchment Farm
Dead or Alive
Enlightenment
Rough God Goes Riding
Playhouse
Days Like This
Moondance
Precious Time
Real Real Gone/You Send Me
I Can't Stop Loving You
Brown Eyed Girl
Help Me
Gloria



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

28-July-2014
Slieve Donard hotel & Spa

 Newcastle, Northern Ireland


Brenden sent in this review
This was the second night of Van’s now annual stint at Slieve Donard Resort and the fans travelled in large numbers from such far flung places as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a particularly strong presence from the USA. The level of dedication fromthese fans is highly commendable and it is great to see the level of enjoyment they getfrom seeing Van play live so far from their homelands. Van opened with pretty routine versions of Celtic Swing, Close Enough for Jazz and Back on Top which were enjoyable but no more than that. What happened next was far from routine though with a real rare nugget delivered in Someone Like You whichwas quite beautiful with Shana Morrison spectacularly complementing Van’s vocals. There was much debate afterwards among fans as to the last time Van played this song and I cannot recall hearing it played at any concerts I have attended for at least 20 years. The tempo was then raised as Van powered through Choppin Wood before delivering a sublime Enlightenment.The new arrangement of Baby Please Don’t Go merged with Parchment Farm followed and this was pretty powerful and really worked well. Another surprise followed with the legendary Taj Mahal joining Van for Alabamy Bound and It Takes a Worried Man. As per usual with such collaborations, Van was inhis element for these numbers and played guitar on both. We were then transported into mystical territory with Higher than the World followed by Have I Told you Lately with Van on piano and Shana really shining on what was effectively a duet with Van. The seldom played Cleaning Windows followed which was great to hear again although the arrangement was not quite spot on. A strong Whenever God Shines His Light was followed by pretty nondescript versions of Brown Eyed Girl and Moondance. Van then exercised his vocal chords to great effect on That’s Life before re-entering mystical territory for a magical but somewhat brief version of In the Garden with Van thanking the band and leaving the stage with the No Guru No Method No Teacher chant as the audience cheered wildly. Finally, Van returned one more time to deliver an extended version of Ballerina during which he joked with pianist Paul Moran about legendary film star Mae West and her infamous “come up and see me see me sometime" line before finally leaving the stage allowing the band to exercise their considerable music prowess for a rousing finale much to the delight of the appreciative audience.
-Brendan Hynes


Setlist
Celtic swing
Close Enough for Jazz
Back on Top
Someone Like You
Choppin Wood
Enlightenment
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchment Farm
Alabamy Bound with Taj Mahal
Takes a Worried Man with Taj Mahal
Higher Than the World
Have I Told You Lately
Cleaning Windows
Whenever God Shines His Light
Brown Eyed Girl
Moondance
That's Life
In the Garden
Ballerina

27-July-2014
Slieve Donard hotel & Spa

 Newcastle, Northern Ireland


Los Angeles Times

Van Morrison takes his music home with concert near Belfast

me 400,000 Garth Brooks fans may still be licking their wounds over his aborted concerts in Ireland, which were originally scheduled for this past weekend. But Irish musician Van Morrison gave about 400 of his most devoted followers something worth writing home about Sunday with a rare small-venue show virtually in his own back yard.

At one point, the celebrated singer, composer and lyricist grabbed, of all things, a ukulele, pulled a stool up in front of a microphone stand and sat his compact, stocky frame down, announcing to the audience at the Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in Newcastle (not far from his hometown of Belfast), “It’s comedy time again.”

It was a rare ... moment of onstage levity, the kind of revealing drop of his guard that few outside an inner circle of close associates ever get to witness.
-
“This is called 'sit-down comedy' -- it was invented by Billy Connolly,” the 68-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer said, a broad grin appearing briefly on his ruddy, round face. “Just so you know I’m legitimate, Billy Connolly says I’m very funny. I’m not going to argue with that.”

It was a rare -- for Morrison especially -- moment of onstage levity, the kind of revealing drop of his guard that few outside an inner circle of close associates ever get to witness.

This was why those looking on had forked over close to $400 a ticket to see Morrison in such an intimate setting. About a quarter of the fans crossed the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S., while another sizable portion came from across Europe for the chance to see the artist sometimes referred to as the Belfast Cowboy virtually in his own back yard, said Howard Hastings, managing director of Hastings Hotels.

Hastings owns the resort and spa where Morrison performed in the first of two nights in the hotel’s swanky ballroom, which was outfitted for the shows with three dozen white linen-draped tables for 10. It's an elegant room that Hastings said normally hosts local tribute bands and other performers who entertain the seaside hotel’s guests.

But Morrison in recent years has adopted it as his home field performance space of choice, using it to prepare for other tour dates or just to comfortably play for local fans. “He likes it because it feels like the blues clubs he started out in,” Hastings said.

Morrison has long been one of pop music’s most cherished figures, an artist prized for decades by fans, critics and his fellow Rock Hall of Famers including -- but hardly limited to -- Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and U2.

Even then, you knew he's no copyist. There's a lot of people he likes, but there's nobody like him.
- Taj Mahal, musician

But he’s also long been one of pop’s most mercurial and, at times, hermetic figures, one who rarely grants interviews and during his concerts rarely chats with audiences, opting to let his music say whatever he is in the mood to express on any given night.

Dressed in a black fedora, shades and a dark gray suit, Morrison was accompanied on Sunday by his musician daughter Shana, who opened the evening with a three-song set of American country-inspired songs, and an accomplished six-piece band.

Like many of the musicians and writers who influenced him, Morrison has been deeply inspired by where he grew up, and over the decades has sung about the cobblestone streets, the undulating hills and the mystic mists of Ireland.

But like so many other European musicians, he’s also been powerfully drawn to American music and culture, which was reflected Sunday in a rendition of “Rough God Goes Riding,” a song about the loss of heroes. Morrison name-checked a string of Old West outlaws that extended from Jesse James and Billy the Kid through Clint Eastwood, which drew a laugh from fans.

Those fans, Hastings noted, are largely the kind who can spot a nugget such as “Green Mansions” when Morrison reaches deep into his vast songbook, or recognize the first time in years that he’s picked up a guitar to play instead of his more typical blues harmonica or alto sax.

As much as these lighter moments allowed Morrison to figuratively let down his hair, it was the songs in which he invoked the transcendent spirituality at the core of much of his music that was the big payoff.

It was anything but a perfunctory greatest-hits set, with Morrison offering up only a few of his cornerstone numbers near the end of the show. Instead, he opted for gems such as “Queen of the Slipstream,” “So Quiet in Here,” the instrumental “Celtic Swing” and “Whenever God Shines His Light.”

During “In the Garden,” he voiced lyrics that can stand alone as poetry on a par with countrymen such as William Butler Yeats, against a soulful arrangement that equaled the best of one of Morrison's heroes, Ray Charles:

The olden summer breeze was blowing against your face, alright
The light of God was shining on your countenance divine
And you were a violet color as you sat beside your father
And your mother in the garden

The song shifted into a mantra on the phrase “no guru, no method, no teacher,” one of several moments Morrison allowed the music to transport him, and his audience, to another place. At 68, his vocal tone and phrasing is as good or better than ever, and he drew a standing ovation in the 100-plus-year-old hotel.

“I first heard him in the ‘60s, at a show with Aretha Franklin and Dr. John, and I thought then, ‘Who IS this guy?’ ” said 72-year-old blues-folk great Taj Mahal, another Morrison fan who caught Sunday’s show after recently wrapping up his own European tour in Paris. “Even then, you knew he’s no copyist. There’s a lot of people he likes, but there’s nobody like him.”

Morrison historically has danced only to the tunes he calls, but he indulged at least one request Sunday: Hastings noted during his introduction of Morrison that one couple in the house were celebrating their golden wedding anniversary.

The wife’s name? Gloria.

Morrison closed the show with a roof-raising performance of his career-establishing 1964 hit with Them. Chalk up another win for the hometown fans.
-Randy Lewis

Setlist
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
Back on Top
So Quiet in Here
Rough God Goes Riding
Queen of the Slipstream
Keep it Simple
Too Many Myths
Keep Mediocrity at Bay
Sometimes We Cry
Who Can I Turn To
In the Garden
Into the Mystic
Whenever God Shines His Light
Help Me
Ballerina
Gloria

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

22-July-2014
Festival Theatre

 Edinburgh, Scotland

The Herald

SARTORIALLY, Van Morrison seems to be modelling himself on Al Capone these days. Squeezed into a black suit, his face obscured by shades and a fedora, the marquee name at this year's Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival looked like a man wanted by the FBI.

Musically, however, there was no identity crisis. Although nowadays its idiosyncrasies can grate as well as astound, Morrison's voice remains an hugely powerful and versatile instrument, and after hitting his stride with a glorious Queen of the Slipstream there was simply no stopping him.

Aided by a superb six-piece band augmented with Morrison's daughter Shana on backing vocals, even relative obscurities such as the bad-mood blues of Too Many Myths sounded fierce and fresh.

In fact, the notoriously taciturn 68-year-old seemed perilously close to enjoying himself, bantering about Billy Connolly and offering a bizarre impression of Clint Eastwood during a rousing Rough God Goes Riding. As he became lost in the music he jerked his right arm up and down, like a man ringing an invisible bell.

Moondance was long, liquid and mostly instrumental, Morrison setting up some lovely interplay between his sax and Paul Moran's muted trumpet.

He jazzed up Brown Eyed Girl and tore through the old Them hit Baby Please Don't Go with such ferocity the decades simply melted away.

No matter what it said on the stage backdrop, eventually all genre distinctions dissolved.

To finish his two-hour set Morrison conjured up extended versions of In the Garden, Ballerina and Into the Mystic which were simply breath-taking, the final triumph of an artist still finding new ways to transport and be transported.
-Graeme Thomson

Setlist Thanks Mike S.
Celtic Swing
Close Enough for Jazz
Back on Top
So Quiet in Here
Queen of the Slipstream
Keep it Simple
Choppin Wood 
Who Can I Turn To
Philosophers Stone
Too Many Myths
Talk is Cheap
Rough God Goes Riding
Moondance
Brown Eyed Girl
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchment Farm
In the Garden
Ballerina
Into the Mystic

Big Hand for The Band!
Chris White (Saxophone)
Alistair White (Trombone)
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Special Guest: Shana Morrison (Vocals)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

17-July-2014
Stuttgart Jazz Festival

 Stuttgart, Germany


TAZ

Many years ago, Van Morrison was badly defamed by an English newspaper. A reporter had dared to give him the attribute "Rock Star". This could not be allowed to sit on Morrison. In an open letter he distanced himself vehemently from such defamation: "For the benefit of the unenlightened it is not my nature to be a rock star. What I am is a singer who does blues, soul, jazz, etc. etc. etc. "And who did not understand, was "taught again” on his reord “What's Wrong with this Picture”: “I'm singing jazz, blues and funk / Baby, that's not rock 'n' roll."

On a bright glowing summer evening at the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart, the visitors of the Jazzopen could see and hear for themselves that Van Morrison's wonderfully weightless music finds its sources rather in the back catalog of Blue Note or in the Mississippi delta than in the classic rock genre. In the first, glorious swinging instrumental "Celtic Swing" each of the six musicians introduced himself with a solo, and repeatedly Morrison himself was playing the saxophone while the beautifully meandering melodies continued.

What Morrison in a mafia-like outfit - black suit, black hat, dark sunglasses – did with his voice, can only be described in the words of Peter Handke: "He has a wonderful feeling," Handke said about Van Morrison, “and then the "what" "and the “how” will become one.": an immense longing, something unutterable transcendent. The "how", the gift to lend words through a fantastic sense for rhythm, modulation, articulation, the quality of an epiphany. Van Morrison is 68 years old and his lyrical, sometimes breathy sometimes shouting voice seems to still have gained force in recent years.

With so much genius there is of course always also something to complain about. Almost every article about Van Morrison concerts includes a small reference: How sullen, moody, rude the little old man behaves on stage! How he throws nasty looks on his fellow musicians and has no eyes and words at all for the audience. It’s true, he did not care a lot about the audience at the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart, although he probably once mumbled something like "Thank you". But who cares? Who says, someone who makes gorgeous music and is blessed by God with a heart-warming voice, should be everybody’s darling.



However, you seemed to have caught quite a good day on the only concert in Germany: Van Morrison had obvious pleasure, the set was perfectly arranged, all the songs grooved, as if the Schlossplatz were a small jazz or blues cellar. The harmonica shouted, the bass strolled, the Hammond organ roared. In short: the musicians played to the point.

Of course, there was no encore. Morrison offered for one and a half hour songs from all phases: "Back on Top”, "Days Like This", "The Philosopher's Stone", "Brown Eyed Girl," "Baby Please Don’t Go" and "Gloria" from Them to "Moondance" and "Whenever God Shines his Light", at times a veritable hit with Cliff Richard, this time presented as a duet with daughter Shana, who somehow fell off as a background singer. Not quite the daddy.
The fact that Morrison quite often conjures up the Lord connects him with the great Mavis Staples, who with her 75 years gave off more energy than the blazing Stuttgart evening sun: drums, guitar, bass, and three very fine accompanying singers - and songs from a time when the Staple Singers marched with Martin Luther King towards a better future: "I'm a living witness," the gospel-Goddess said and intoned Pops Staples' "Freedom Highway". Rough, soulful, enthusiastic. You cannot spend a Thursday evening more beautiful and uplifting.

Setlist
Celtic Swing
Open The Door (To Your Heart)
Back On Top
So Quiet In Here
Queen of The Slipstream
Days Like This
Choppin' Wood
Rough God Goes Riding
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchman Farm
John Henry
Philosopher's Stone
Lonesome Road
Whenever God Shines His Light
Enlightenment
Moondance
Brown Eyed Girl
In the Garden
Help Me
Gloria

Big Hand for The Band!
Chris White (Saxophone)
Alistair White (Trombone)
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Special Gueust: Shana Morrison (Vocals)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

15-July-2014
Stravinski Auditorium

 Montreux, Switzerland


Blues Reissue

Van Morrison at the Montreux Jazz Festival

For over 50 years Van Morrison is now on stage. During this time he has managed to hold despite its polarizing way his audience at bar: Van Morrison released in 2012 with his latest album, "Born to Sing: No Plan B" be a total of 53 work as a solo artist. He remained always faithful to his music, new paths were rarely committed by him. Still, you never know when a concert by Van Morrison what the today 68-year-old musician holds everything and what mood he goes on stage.

In Montreux "Van the Man" is slow in coming. So part of the prelude to the evening concert of his band and singer Shana Morrison, his daughter from his first marriage. This shows the number Julie London "Cry Me A River" which vocal qualities are present in the band.

After three songs then enters the master with his saxophone under great applause the stage. Shana Morrison takes a set further back into place, and leaves her father into the spotlight.

Rare Van Morrison sings about political issues. The Northern Irishman has never considered himself a great protest singer, let alone he ever wanted to stretch his finger warningly. However, in the Auditorium Stravinski sings the 1945 in Belfast, Northern Ireland-born musician in the song "Open The Door (To Your Heart)" from the new album at the beginning about money, finance and capitalism. Free quotes from the song: "Money does not satisfy you, it is only there to pay your bills."

One is amazed not bad, after having taken a closer look at the stage: The American funk musician and saxophonist Maceo Parker is spontaneously alongside the band members Alistair (trombone, euphonium) and Chris White (sax, clarinet and flute). As this apparently short-term commitment came about, probably few know. For the fans it does not matter, because Parker plays alongside the brothers White a few gifted solos such as in Medley, "It's All In The Game / You Know What They're Writing About / No Plan B".

"In the Garden" from the year 1986, and the acoustically held "Ballerina" from the "Astral Weeks" album of 1968 leaves the fans in the packed auditorium, Stravinski then completely immerse yourself in the world of Van Morrison: And that is not only tormented and angry ("Rough God Goes Riding"), but also dreamy, beautiful sounding and soothing. And because Van Morrison in addition to the instrumental interludes also has this incomparable, demanding voice, this concert is able to touch. Even as the Sonny Boy Williamson Cover "Help Me" then "Van the Man" and his daughter goodbye quietly from the stage.
-Patrice Althaus

Setlist
Celtic Swing
Open The Door (To Your Hear)
Back On Top
So Quiet In Here
Queen Of The Slipstream
What Would I Do
Satisfied
Keep It Simple
Little Village
Who Can I Turn To
Rough Goes Gold Rising
Higher Than The World
Moondance
It's All In The Game/No Plan B/Burning Ground
In The Garden
Ballerina
Help Me

Big Hand for The Band!
Chris White (Saxophone)
Alistair White (Trombone)
Dave Keary (Guitar)
Paul Moore (Bass)
Paul Moran (Keyboards)
Bobby Ruggiero (Drums)
Special Guest: Shana Morrison (Vocals)
Special Guest: Maceo Parker (Saxaphone)