Wednesday, October 29, 2014

28-October-2014
Royal Albert Hall

 London, England


Setlist
Celtic Swing
Lost John
Talk is Cheap
If You Only Knew
The New Symphony Sid (w/Georgie Fame)
Think Twice Before You Go
Sometimes We Cry
Baby Please Don’t Go
Rough God Goes Riding
Back On Top
Queen of the Slipstream
Enlightenment
Whenever God Shines His Light
I Can’t Stop Loving You
Real Real Gone
All in the Game
Boogie Chillen’
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)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Monday, October 27, 2014

26-October-2014
Europa Hotel

 Belfast, Northern Ireland

via Pablo G.

Setlist
Celtic Swing
New Symphony Sid
Baby Please Don't Go
Rough God Goes Riding
Queen of the Slipstream
Sometimes We Cry
Think Twice Before You Go
Days Like This
Whenever God Shines His Light
I Can Tell (You Don't Love Me)
If You Only Knew
That's Life
Philosopher's Stone
It's All In The Game
Glad Tidings
Boogie Chillun
In the Garden
On Hyndford Street

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

25-October-2014
Europa Hotel

 Belfast, Northern Ireland


MLK in IRE Blog

There is something innately special about the thought of seeing a favorite artist or band play their hometown. Dylan in Minnesota. Bruce in Jersey. Wilco in Chicago. To see these guys perform where it all began, before all the hype and celebrity nearly guarantees a unique and powerful performance unlike any other.

Van Morrison, having long been revered amongst the extended Kane and Fitzpatrick family, would easily fit in this camp. I have fond memories of listening to “Wild Night” on repeat while drinking Tahitian Treat by the case load and battling my brothers in NHL ’95 over and over again at my dad’s house nearly 20 years ago. He has since stayed on my short list of favorites through the years; with a more recent highlight being able to witness, along with 100,000+ of our closest friends, Morrison deliver a blistering set to close out the 2010 New Orleans Jazz Fest.

So last week when I discovered Van was playing an intimate show in his hometown of Belfast, it was a no brainer: I was hopping a bus and heading north. What made this gig even more compelling was the venue of choice, the historic Europa Hotel. Known as the most bombed hotel in the world after suffering nearly 30 attacks during The Troubles, it has persevered through the years and is now a main tourist destination and top hotel for Belfast City. President and First Lady Clinton stayed here in 1995 and 1998 while working on the peace process in Northern Ireland. NOTE: I unsuccessfully tried to book into the Clinton Suite for my stay on Saturday night, although the fine folks at the front desk did put me just down the hall on the 10th floor.

After a five-hour journey with connecting busses from Galway to Dublin and Dublin to Belfast, I arrived at the Europa Hotel Saturday evening just in time for the pre show ballroom dinner. Yes, when you book a ticket to see Van Morrison in a 300-person room in the most famous hotel in his hometown, you get a full course meal and all you can drink wine before the show. Who says Van is a total curmudgeon?

At my table were a great group from Belfast who had all seen similar shows from Van at least four or five times previously. They were pleasantly surprised to hear my story of why an American living in the West of Ireland decided to travel north for the night to see the show (when it was established that no one at the table was familiar with Pearl Jam or Wilco I decided to hold off on describing any of my other previous rock n roll pilgrimages) and remarked how they were fascinated by the amount of people they have met who travel from all over the world for a chance to see the legend play his hometown.

Moments after the final plate was cleared the band took the stage, launching into the instrumental “Celtic Swing,” with Van leading the way with his signature sax.

What struck me most about Morrison last night was his effortless skill as a bandleader. Directing his seven-piece group with both a casual persona as well as a striking professionalism of someone who has been at the top of his game for over five decades. He truly appeared to be enjoying himself on stage too, remarking halfway through his set, “Hey I’ve finally got a pulse tonight!”

Whether it was because it was a hometown show or just a lucky Saturday night, the crowd was treated to two hours of amazing music from one of the greatest musicians the world has ever known. With a songbook as rich as his to pull from, there was no sign of the massive chart topping hits that are played at karaoke bars every night the world over, and I don’t think the crowd would’ve had it any other way. If you told me some 20 years ago that one day I’d witness Van The Man perform in such an intimate and historic venue right in his own backyard, the word “surreal” would immediately come to mind. Last night confirmed it, a night I will not soon forget.

Until next time.

-MLK

Setlist
Celtic Swing
You Make Me Feel So Free
Lost John
Someone Like You
Magic Time
Talk is Cheap
Think Twice Before You Gp
Blues Medley
Baby Please Don't Go
Enlightenment
I Cant Stop Loving You
Whenever God Shines His Light
Back on Top
Days Like This
Rough God Goes Riding
Georgia
Glad Tidings
Boogie Chillun
In the Garden
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)
Dana Masters (Vocals)

Friday, September 26, 2014

25-September-2014
University Concert Hall

 Limerick, Ireland

Via Salvatore Conte
Brendan sent in this review
It was over 10 years since Van Morrison last played Limerick but sadly this was not quite the triumphant return I had hoped for. Given that this concert was part of the Limerick Jazz Festival it wasn’t too surprising that many of the numbers were of the jazzier variety but add in the fact that Van decided to play just about every one of the crowd pleaser ‘greatest hit’songs in his catalogue and you ended up with a pretty disappointing show.

The show opened as usual with Celtic Swing which was followed by a quite jazzy arrangement of the seldom played You Make Me Feel So Free with backing vocalist Dana Masters making a significant contribution. Lost John from the Skiffle Sessions followed and quite honestly I would have been quite happy if John had stayed lost. The sublime Someone Like You followed and again featured Dana Masters prominently as she swapped verses with Van. A jazz infused Only a Dream featured the brass section prominently in a nice arrangement. The wonderful Queen of the Slipstream followed and this was one of the few real highlights of the concert. Baby Please Don’t Go/Parchman Farm really brought the crowd to life although I felt the delivery lacked some of the power of previous renditions. A pleasant Magic Time was followed by the old standard Who Can I Turn To which, while emphasising Van’s continued vocal prowess, did not do much for me on a personal level. At this stage Van went firmly into coasting crowd pleasing mode with Moondance, Enlightenment (a temporary respite), Days Like This, Whenever God Shines His Light and Precious Time following in quick succession. It was back to the blues then for Help Me after which Van’s sole interaction with the audience followed as he acknowledged Sonny Boy Williamson before introducing the John Lee Hooker song Think Twice Before You Go which seemed to catch some of the band by surprise. I thought this version was really good and Van and the band fairly motored throughout it’s delivery. 

It was back to jazz then with New Symphony Sid which featured Dana Masters prominently again. Two rarities followed in renditions of Glad Tidings (the crowd got quite involved in hand clapping at appropriate stages during this on the promptings of band members) and Joyous Sound. Finally the concert was brought to it’s conclusion with an extended version of Brown Eyed Girl as the band played on long after Van had exited the stage and no encore to follow. It was the last way I would want a Van Morrison concert to end but it was consistent with the nature of the show that had been delivered on the night. When measured against the quality of many of the shows this year(particularly the magnificent Hampton Court and second night at Orangefield) this concert pales into insignificance with a total absence of the extended transcendental moments where Van really immerses himself in the songs and brings proceedings to a level that inspires his musicians and audience alike.

-Brendan Hynes

Setlist (Thanks Hilary)
Celtic Swing
You Make Me Feel So Free
Lost John
Someone Like You
Only A Dream
Queen Of The Slipstream
Baby Please Don't Go
Magic Time
Who Can I Turn To
Moondance
Enlightenment
Days Like This
Whenever God Shines His Light
Precious Time
Help Me
Think Twice Before You Go
New Symphony Sid
Glad Tidings
Joyous Sound
Brown Eyed Girl

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

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

Available Mid-October. Sign up for alert about the book’s release at City Light's link below.

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