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

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

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)

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


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)
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)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wang Theatre
Boston, USA

Long time Van fan writes:
Powerful performance tonight in Boston from Van and band. Supreme confidence from Morrison, whose body language was riveting in its energy. Swaying back and forth, side to side, rearing back and wailing. Nothing was held back by anybody. Balanced set list with everything performed impeccably with a very deep groove. Audience reaction was a state of constant euphoria. The workshops ornate and brilliant. A well-earned "A" all the way. Healing power.
-Dan M.

Irish troubadour Van Morrison, now in his sixth decade as a performer, may be 70 years old, but performed the first of two sold out shows at the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston, MA on April 26, 2016, as if time has not passed him by the at all.

Looking very dapper in his now trademark hat, Morrison leaned more toward a jazz-ish feel at times during the night. Starting with the tour standard instrumental opener (which Morrison played saxophone on), "Celtic Swing, followed by "Close Enough for Jazz, it was clear this was going to be an eclectic Morrison event.

With a jukebox of hits in his repertoire, Morrison does not need to delve into other material, but he did a smooth take on Johnny Mercer's "That Old Black Magic" and gave a nod to the late B.B. King with a killer "Rock Me Baby".

The adoring crowd was well rewarded with a raucous "Wild Night," which led into a slight turn to his gospel side, when Morrison pulled out his late 80's track “Whenever God Shines His Light,” which was originally a duet with Cliff Richard, but was smoothly executed with tour vocalist Dana Masters.

For all his seven decades on earth, Morrison's voice has not appeared to decrease at all and sounded as robust as ever. Breaking into his most famous track "Brown Eyed Girl," which went into full swing when the crowd sang along ardently to the “Sha la la la” refrain, which led into a stellar version of his iconic "Into The Mystic."

The show ending cover of Ben E. King's “Stand By Me” was an alluring choice for the concerts coda. Obviously “Moondance” or “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” would have made for a better closer for the Morrison faithful, but his passionate “Stand By Me” did provide a compelling end to the show.

With all the recent passing of so many classic rockers lately, it was great to see an icon in the genre as Morrison still as virile and on the top of his game.
-John Reed

Setlist (Thanks Mike S.)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
Magic Time
By His Grace
In the Midnight
Born to Sing w/Chris Farlowe
Old Black Magic w/ Shana Morrison
Rock Me Baby
Someone Like You
Sometimes we Cry
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchman Farm/Don't Start Crying Now
In the Afternoon/Ancient Highway/Burn Baby Burn/Raincheck
Wild Night
Whenever God Shines His Light
It's all In The Game/Burning Ground
Brown Eyed Girl
Into the Mystic
Stand by Me w/Chris Farlowe

Monday, April 25, 2016

Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Alpharetta, USA

Atlanta Journal Constitution
There isn’t much filler at a Van Morrison concert – and that’s a good thing, since he’s only onstage for 90 minutes.

But, as evidenced at his sold-out Sunday night appearance at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Alpharetta, the forthright musical treasure knows how to stuff plenty of emotion into a tight, compact show.

At exactly 8 p.m., the recently knighted Morrison strode onto the stage with his saxophone, snapped his fingers and led his four-piece band into the instrumental “Celtic Swing.”

In characteristic Morrison-wear – brown fedora, tinted glasses, dark suit sitting atop a paisley shirt and ascot tie – the 70-year-old singer-musician looked and sounded hearty.

With his left hand on a gold, corded microphone and his right clasping the stand, Morrison leaned back to blast a note in “By His Grace” as keyboardist Paul Moran sprinkled rustic organ throughout the song.

Without ever pausing for a break – though the un-vain Irishman did turn his back to the crowd to blow his nose a few times during the show – Morrison, his band and potent backup singer unleashed a fulfilling sample of a 50-year career, pushing the tempo during “Wavelength,” throwing his right hand down with the beat throughout “Sometimes We Cry” and breaking out a tambourine for added texture on “Real Real Gone.”

No one expects talking during a Van Morrison concert – from the stage, that is – and the famously business-like singer didn’t surprise and suddenly break into a soliloquy. But he absolutely threw himself into the show, cupping the mic during a stomping “Baby, Please Don’t Go” to create a megaphone effect (that equates to playful for Morrison) and, after mumbling something indecipherable, breaking into “Georgia on My Mind.” It sounded exactly as you would expect the Hoagy Carmichael classic to sound under Morrison’s guidance – rich, tight and soulful, filled with scats and asides as Morrison dug into the lyrics.

Dancing bass anchored “Wild Night” and the combination of brass from Morrison and Moran ushered in the creeping, insinuating “Moondance,” during which every member of the glistening band took a brief solo spin.

A swinging take on “Brown-Eyed Girl” prompted the expected singalong (“shalala,” anyone?) and “Whenever God Shines His Light” – a 1989 duet with Cliff Richard – injected a spurt of gospel into the concert.

After performing “In the Garden,” a lovely song driven by a honeyed piano melody, Morrison strolled off the stage, still singing, but quickly returned to romp with his band on John Lee Hooker’s “Think Twice Before You Go.”

As the familiar strains of Morrison’s Them gem from 1964, the eternal barroom rocker “Gloria,” filled the amphitheater – the same venue he played during his last Atlanta visit in 2010 – guitarist Dave Keary led a monster jam that continued for about 10 minutes after Morrison again left the stage.

With such a lengthy coda, fans might have expected Morrison to return. But the enigmatic singer had probably departed the premises in a private car by the time the last note rang, maintaining his mysterious air a little longer.
-Melissa Ruggieri

Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
By His Grace
Someone Like You
Sometimes We Cry
Real Real Gone/You Send Me
Baby Please Don't Go
Georgia On My Mind
Wild Night
Days Like This
Precious Time
I Can't Stop Loving You
Brown Eyed Girl
Crazy Love
Whenever God Shines His Light
In The Garden
Jackie Wilson Said
Think Twice Before You Go

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

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gentilly Stage

 New Orleans, USA

It was about halfway through the closing show at the New Orleans Jazz Fest Gentilly Stage on Saturday (April 23). Master musician and songwriter Van Morrison asked his guitarist to "give me a G." He modulated his voice to match the chord then launched into a jaunty version of "Jambalaya." Who knows, the Hank Williams tune may be a regular part of Morrison's repertoire, but the Bayou State crowd accepted it as a tailor-made gift, cheering and bobbing to the first few bars.

The ability of Morrison and his impeccable five-piece ensemble to incorporate a loping, country classic seamlessly into the jazzy, R&B flow of their set is a tribute to the team's flexibility. Flexibility is key, because, stylistically speaking, there are several Van Morrison's to accommodate. There's the pop radio Van Morrison of "Brown Eyed Girl," the Christian mystic Van Morrison, the romantic balladeer, the Ray Charles devotee, and the sultry jazz instrumentalist. All of whom shared the stage Saturday.

It would be hard to praise the 70-year-old's vocal skills enough. When Morrison sings, and particularly when he scats, his voice is as saxophone-like as his saxophone. Instead of tiring as the concert progressed, he always seemed to be able to reach down for yet more power and emotional depth in his delivery. He handled "Baby Please Don't Go," "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," "Wild Night," and "Days Like This," with muscular, mature authority. There was no mistaking that this show was crafted for adults.

Even "Gloria," Morrison's 1964 love anthem that has become the bouncy go-to crowd-pleaser of every bar band in the land, had a more serious, serrated tone in Saturday's performance that breathed life back into the old warhorse.

It was unfortunate that when the band deliberately dropped the volume on the jam that followed "Moondance," to achieve a sort of musical whispering, sound bleed from another stage -- or stages -- ruined the effect.

Despite the gorgeous weather, the notoriously deadpan Morrison appeared, as is his custom, dressed for summer in San Francisco, with a suit jacket, felt fedora, and ascot. He never frowned, nor did he crack a smile. Except, perhaps, once. As the perfectionistic Northern Irish knight began singing the comically bawdy lyrics to "Don't You Feel My Leg," he may have, just may have, guffawed with laughter.

As the last notes of the closing jam faded away, an audience member quietly opined: "Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous."

Agreed, agreed, agreed.
-Doug MacCash

Van Morrison Delights at Jazz Fest

Alternative rock megastars Pearl Jam weren’t enough to keep the crowds away from Van Morrison’s competing set at the Gentilly Stage on Saturday evening. Despite new rules regarding chairs and blankets, finding a solid vantage point for the singer-songwriter’s packed show was a battle for anyone that didn’t mark their territory early in the day.

The Northern Irish troubadour stepped up to his golden microphone–sax in hand–before a dense crowd of onlookers eager to revel in his classics. Almost instantly, the band jumped into a pair of appropriately jazzed up numbers in “Celtic Swing” and “Close Enough for Jazz.”

The songs kicked off a career-spanning set that was a bit heavy on covers, and a bit light on tunes from his masterful late-60s LPs Astral Weeks and Moondance. Out of the two records, only the latter’s titular track found it was into Morrison’s 90-minute performance, and even it was peppered with parts of the Rodgers and Hart jazz standard “My Funny Valentine.”

While Morrison has always incorporated elements of jazz into his material, yesterday’s show saw a few of his pop classics take a turn in that direction, as hits like “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Wild Night” were delivered with arrangements that differed from the original offerings. The songs were given new life by an impressive, yet restrained, backing band that kept the flashiness at bay until the evening’s closing “Gloria” demanded a round of extended soloing.

Though he never veered into Prince tribute territory (that job was saved for the sky writer above, who spelled out “Prince,” “1999” and the symbol that was once the artist’s name with his plane), Morrison did dive into a number of covers that he has been performing for years, including Ray Charles’ “I Believe to My Soul” and John Lee Hooker’s “Think Twice Before You Go.” His rendition of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya,” in particular, was met with cheers from an audience that probably identifies with the lyrics more than most.

At 70 years of age, Morrison appeared to have little trouble belting out varied material. His range may not be what it once was, but his vocal style lent itself well to the choice covers and updated arrangements of his originals, which were executed to perfection by his band. Even though he left a few notable tunes on the table (this writer was itching for “And It Stoned Me” and “Into the Mystic”), it looked like most of his fans barely noticed. Smiles have a way sticking around for a while, when you’ve just sung along to “Brown Eyed Girl” with Van Morrison.
-Sam D'Arcangelo

Setlist (Thanks Steve L.)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
I Believe To My Soul
By His Grace
Carrying A Torch
Brown Eyed Girl
Baby Please Don't Go/Parchment Farm/Don't Stop Crying Now
In The Afternoon/Ancient Highway/No Plan B/Raincheck
Motherless child
Wild Night
Sometimes We cry
Precious Time
Moondance/My Funny Valentine
Days Like This
Whenever God Shines His Light
Think Twice Before You Go
Help me

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

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Van's Upcoming Concert Schedule

Warren Point, Northern Ireland
Warren Point Town Hall Early Show
Warren Point Town Hall Late Show

Dresden, Germany
Freilichtbühne Großer Garten JUNGE GARDE

Erfurt, Germany

Cardiff, Wales
Gordon Theatre

Harrogate, England
Harrogate International Centre

Surrey, England
Hampton Court

London, England
Nell's Jazz and Blues Early
Nell's Jazz and Blues Late

Newcastle, Northern Ireland
Slieve Donard Hotel

Newcastle, Northern Ireland
Slieve Donard Hotel

Lucca, Italy
Lucca Summer Festival

Stuttgart, Germany
Jazz Open

Ostersund, Sweden

Bergen, Norway
Plenen Ampitheatre

Glasgow, Scotland
Kelvingrove Bandstand

Glastonbury, England
Glastonbury Abbey

Lokerse Feesten, Belgium
Lokerse Feesten

Trondheim, Norway
Sverresborg Arena

Newcastle, Northern Ireland
Slieve Donard Hotel

Newcastle, Northern Ireland
Slieve Donard Hotel

Belfast, Northern Ireland
Culloden Estate & Spa

Belfast, Northern Ireland
Culloden Estate & Spa

Forest Hills, USA
Forest Hills Stadium

Hollywood, USA
Hollywood Bowl

Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Bowl

San Francisco, USA
Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Falconer Center

 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Setlist (Thanks Per H.)
Celtic Swing
Close Enough For Jazz
By His Grace
Magic Time
Days Like This
Carrying A Torch
Precious Time
Baby Please Don't Go/Rock Island Line/Parchman Farm/Don't Start Crying Now
In the Afternoon
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
Wild Night
Whenever God Shines His Light
Real Real Gone
Brown Eyed Girl
Help Me
In the Garden
Jackie Wilson Said

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

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Congratulations, Sir Van

Van & Shana Morrison at Buckingham Palace, England 04-February-2016

Belfast Telegraph
Sir Van Morrison described himself as just a "blue-eyed soul singer" from Belfast as he was knighted for a musical career that has enthralled audiences and delighted critics.

Over more than 50 years the singer has gone from teenage stardom to innovator and is now a respected veteran, whose classic album Astral Weeks regularly makes the list of top 100 albums of all time.

The artist, whose full name is George Ivan Morrison, was introduced as Sir Ivan Morrison as he stepped forward to be dubbed a knight by the Prince of Wales in Buckingham Palace's ballroom.

Afterwards he said about becoming a Sir: "It's amazing, it's very exhilarating, the whole thing.

"For 53 years I've been in the business - that's not bad for a blue-eyed soul singer from east Belfast."

The 70-year-old performer has blended his influences - R&B, blues, jazz, and country - into a unique mix that reflects his upbringing in Northern Ireland.

Sir Van's best known songs range from the 1960s tracks Baby, Please Don't Go and Gloria, with the band Them, to solo efforts like Moondance, Sweet Thing and Have I Told You Lately.

He has been a prolific recording artist throughout his career and released his latest studio album Duets last year, singing with a range of stars from Joss Stone to the late Bobby Womack.

Morrison's knighthood is for services to the music industry and tourism in his native Northern Ireland.

Sir Van said he still remained committed to performing for an audience: "I enjoy that the most - playing a small club - that's really what I do.

"The bigger places you have to do for financial survival reasons, let me put it that way, but the bigger places enable me to play small clubs occasionally."

He added: "Sales of CDs and stuff like that are very unreliable, it has really gone down a lot, I'm lucky I can still do live gigs and still pull crowds and be able to do that.

"All these years of work have paid off and I'm still able to do that now.

The musician had a brief chat with Charles, who quizzed him about his plans for the future.

Sir Van said: "He was just saying, was I still writing? And he said: 'You're not going to retire any time soon?' And I said: 'No, I'm not, I'm going to keep it going while I can'."

Asked if fans could still call him Van The Man now that he has a knighthood, the singer laughed and said "Well, take your pick".

Morrison grew up in Belfast, where his father, a shipyard worker, was said to have had one of the best record collections in the city.

He absorbed his father's love of music with the influence of acts such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters and Mahalia Jackson still apparent in his songs today.

Just into his teens, a 13-year-old Morrison was singing and playing the saxophone and guitar in bands before serving his musical apprenticeship playing places like Germany.

He said: "Germany was real hard gigging because we did seven sets a night and nine on weekends - and no days off - but that was really the training ground."

The musician enjoyed his first taste of success in 1964 as the frontman for r'n'b band Them.

They charted with a string of bluesy hits including Here Comes The Night and Baby Please Don't Go, but are best remembered for their garage band staple Gloria which has been covered countless times by acts including The Doors, AC/DC and Patti Smith.

Relentless line-up changes took the wind out of their sails and Morrison quit the band, ending up in New York, where he recorded a handful of throwaway tracks and the song that would become one of his biggest hits - Brown Eyed Girl.

But he was not interested in chart success and instead teamed up with a bunch of veteran jazz musicians to make what many people regard as his finest record.

Astral Weeks, which regularly features in critics' lists of all-time great albums, was recorded in three days and set the template for the rest of his career with its mix of poetic lyrics, often inspired by his native country, jazz improvisation, Celtic folk and soulful vocals.

Critical and commercial acclaim followed with records including Moondance, Tupelo Honey and St Dominic's Preview, while his live act made him an in-demand performer around the world.

He was also in demand from other acts that wanted to have his name - and voice - connected to them, making records with Irish folk veterans The Chieftains and Georgie Fame.

There was also an unlikely hit duet with Cliff Richard - Whenever God Shines His Light - which reflected his own Christian faith.

Asked to pick his favourite album out of the many he has recorded, the musician did not highlight Moondance or Astral Weeks but the 1980 record Common One.

He said: "It's a mixture of different components - a bit of funk, blues, gospel - it's quite a fusion, and plus I seemed to tap into something, and that particular band seemed to have a rapport."

Sir Van also spoke about the cultural change in his hometown of Belfast since the Troubles ended: "I think it's going through a renaissance period but you have to kind of 'take up your bed and walk' sort of thing too.

"So people are realising they need to be more proactive and get things going."

Sir Van described his experience at the Palace as "old-world charm".

He was joined for the ceremony by his daughter, Shana Morrison, also a musician, who has performed with her father, and the pair posed for pictures before leaving.