Culloden Estate & Spa
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Brendan sent in his thoughts on gig:
This was the fourth installment of these special shows highlighting Van Morrison’s lyrics and followed a similar pattern to the previous shows with Van first being interviewed by writer Ian Rankin before readings of some of Van’s song lyrics were delivered by luminaries from the world of acting and poetry in the form of Kim Catrall, Scarlett Sabet and Paul Muldoon.
The interview was a bit of a duel between Ian and Van with the latter not allowing himself to be led in particular directions by the line of questioning. Parts of the interview were quite hilarious (sometimes unintentionally) with Van at one stage questioning whether something he said was funny as the audience were laughing merrily. At one point Ian provided a quotation purported to have come from Van to the effect that it is not so much the words that are important as the conviction behind them when they were written. Van asked him who wrote that to which Ian replied “you did”. Van was quite amused at this revelation and said he didn’t recall doing so before going on to joke that it sounded like something he might have stolen from the writings of Mark Twain! At another stage Van asked whether this was comedy and were Ian and himself a double act. When pressed as to whether he could see himself as a comedian and doing a ‘stand up’ routine Van replied that he could see himself doing a 30 minute routine if someone wrote some better jokes for him!
The first readings were done by Kim Catrall and featured Someone Like You and a rare outing for Meaning of Loneliness from the ‘What’s Wrong with This Picture’ album which was delivered particularly well and even featured some singing at the end by Kim. Van provided acoustic guitar backing for both readings and there appeared to be huge mutual respect between both artists. Scarlett Sabet enthralled us with On Hyndford Street and The Way Young Lovers Do before Paul Muldoon finished this segment of the show with Cleaning Windows and Madame George to great acclaim.
After a short break the music part of the show started quite suddenly with a vibrant Tore Down A La Rimbaud as audience members rushed in all directions to reclaim their seats. The magnificent Foreign Window followed and was brilliantly delivered and ecstatically received before a relatively rare rendition of Little Village kept things moving nicely. At this point Van introduced a song off the new album called Out In The Cold Again which was not out of place alongside the established material and it saw Van bringing the sound way down low to a whisper. Three of the next four songs (the exception being Fame) were also off the new album namely Going Down to Bangor(a fairly routine rhythm and blues number), Memory Lane which was quite nice and Too Late which is the current single from the album. I felt the performance fell quite flat at that point and given the brevity of the performance the showcasing of so many new songs was somewhat inopportune. Personally, I would happily have swapped a couple of them to hear songs such as Madame George and Into The Mystic which were such spectacular highlights of the London and Dublin versions of the show. We were not to be left disappointed, however, as Van concluded the set with an extended and mesmeric In The Afternoon before departing into the night.
Tore Down A la Rimbaud
Out In The Cold Again
Going Down To Bangor
In The Afternoon