This blog is not primarily a music blog, but music is a huge part of my life as it is so many others….and it IS summer, so I wont worry about how many music related posts I’ve done recently.
last night Van Morrison came to the Fox Theater as part of a 6 date North American jaunt. Van’s father, a working class music collector and appreciator, lived and worked in Detroit and collected some of the music here that would end up sparking what they sparked in his son.
I’ve never seen him before though I have always wanted to. Some of Van’s music has sat with me for many years. I’ve had relationships the soundtracks of which were Van Morrison songs. Intimacy and Morrison’s music are entwined to me.
Van has made well over thirty albums and some of them are, well, not quite great though often with a great song or two. His new one follows the same pattern so I didn’t know what to expect from the show. I needn’t have worried.
I have also heard horror stories about some of his live shows that make the Dylan stories seem quaint. There is also a certain Georgie-Fame-inspired sound of his that I am not particularly fond of. When I heard he was playing with a nine piece band I thought there might be a bank of horns or something. Not so. The sound was rich not lush.
Van Morrison played an amazing show. The set seemed to be one long piece of music. My highlight was “And the Healing Has Begun” from 1979’s Into the Music, but truth be told the entire 90 minutes was strong. During Burning Ground Van was moved to punch the air singing “and with the Joot, we’ll take the motherfucker to the burning ground.” Now I have no idea what he’s talking about but it seemed entirely appropriate at the time. St. Dominic’s Preview was lilting and hymn-like, slower and more contemplative than I’ve heard it. Moving.
He even laughed and joked on occasion as his muse led him to add lyrics from one song into another the music and hugely emotional crowd response pushing him in all kinds of directions. And before you knew it he had walked off the stage even before the Gloria was half over. The band just cooked through it to the end. Van had nothing more to say, he had said so much.
Tupelo Honey/Why Must I Always Explain?
St. Dominick’s Preview
Keep It Simple
Behind the Ritual
In the Afternoon/Ancient Highway/Raincheck
The Burning Ground
And the Healing Has Begun
As we were heading back to the car on a beautiful summer evening we happened to be by the back door just when Van was coing out to get into his car ten feet or so away. The dozen or so of us just clapped for him and he waved back. Perfect end.