The Star (South Yorkshire) -Jo Davison
If you walked into a painter's studio to watch him work, would you expect him to regale you with witty repartee with every brush stroke? Or would you be content to watch in silence as he focussed on finishing his latest masterpiece?
There should have been an Artist At Work sign on Van Morrison's stage last night.For that is what the audience were witnessing. An artist, not a performer, in the process of creation. For an hour and a half – exactly the amount of time we had been promised – Van and his superb band did what they do. The music. No chit-chat, no jokes.
Morrison barely spoke a word. But my, how he sang them. In a voice that is so incredible and so seemingly effortless, it sickened you with jealousy. At times, the music washed over us like the best hot bath; warm, gorgeous, relaxing. Others, you couldn't keep your feet still. He brought his unique style to a myriad of musical genres – from steel guitar-led country to blues and intimate jazz.
There was a fabulously jazzed up version of Have I told You Lately, a countryfied Bright Side Of The Road , a reworked When I'm Cleaning Windows that fazed into Be Bop A Lula and a version of I Can't Stop Loving You that brought a tear to my eye. A smattering of the biggest of his hits came at the end. But to my mind, they didn't seem to be where his heart was.
The spirit-lifting Brown-Eyed Girl and the rousing, rocky Gloria were his finales. Of sorts. Basically, at the end he simply wandered on and off stage a couple of times while his band played on. He came back to sing, and then he didn't; he was gone.
The entire 90 minutes was, to my untrained ear, perfect in both note and timing. And though the guy in the hat was the artist in charge, the masterpiece was a team effort.
So what if he didn't say goodbye.
First concert this year..so I was really looking forward to this concert...as always the concert started 8.00pm sharp with Van walking in with the Band, the first opening song I cannot recall the name (sorry!)look at Simon's wavelength...the next number up was Magic Time was sung beautifully by Van...with a great ending on the sax... this was followed by the greatest hits...Playhouse, HITYL, Stop Drinking, Stranded...Cleaning Windows....where The Crawford Bell Singers missed the cue from Van twice...I was at the front and could hardly hear them singing.
This is the part when Van picked up his guitar and started playing The Beauty of The Days Gone By ...truly wonderful...I hung on to every word wishing this song would never end.
Van sung an excellent I Can't Stop Loving You...and played the piano for a short while,another personal favorite was In The Midnight again sung with perfection...I think at this point the next song up was The Afternoon...so looking forward to hearing this again...started well... the audience was silent so no distractions... Van took it to the first line of My Name is Raincheck, when someone in the audience started slow hand clapping.....maybe because of this Van picked up his sax and played the song out missing out on any Mystic Church or Don't You Get Me High....well Van not this time! thank God we where treated to A1 version of St James ...Van was well into this song swaying from side to side.
Towards the end of the concert I was hoping for And Healing Has Begun but instead Van played a short but good version of Help Me...I'm just loving this intro...okay the last remaining minutes and Van gave us the bulk standard Gloria and then Brown Eyed Girl.
The concert was really good the Band played very well and Van was well into the the music and clearly enjoying the moment....not much conversation between Van and the audience....a few thank-you's and no more, let's hope the Blackpool concert will take us down to the Mystic Church.