Having said that Van, Neil Young and Dylan are my favourite three (besides the one “who was born to run”), please do not criticise me, I am not neutral, I like Van “in any case”
Why I went to this show for the ninth time) Weren’t the others shows enough? This old and rude man again? In fact, this is how I started my show “training” two months ago: I WILL NOT go, too expensive, nothing very new, already seen.. etc etc
I never been at ARCIMBOLDI before and the fact of seeing another show from very distance as it was in Orfeo, Milan and Sala Verdi Milan in the past wasn’t too good for me…then a friend of mine reassure me about the nice acoustic and view even fro the low price seats….
So I found the cheapest ticket (28 euro plus pre-sales taxes) with “reduced view” which isn’t true, it was a nice second gallery, just sat down comfortably and no problems at all
So i went, guess this maybe one of the last time for many years or worse, maybe he wil retire sooner or later, who knows…I went almost sceptical and “on duty” but I left the Theatre satisfied, for a show which was typical and unusual at the same time
Perfect acoustics, and stainless voice in great shape, Van evens slimmer than in the past, … I found him in superlative attitude, better than other times in terms of physical status, the voice really is the best voice of rock soul pop, this I have to say, it is acknowledged one thousand miles away, close your eyes and is the voice of 10, 20, 30 years ago (not 40 as it is somehow slightly different in the first LP’s, of course
But it is always the same, no "hello Italy," no audience to get involved or to smile at, and no concessions to time, inevitable 90 minutes and sometimes less of (good to excellent) music, but almost passed as "let’s do it, good but fast and then..let’s go back to the hotel” (here’s a bad translation of a slang Italian phrase from the roman area)
After revisited a couple of classics in a way that has not impressed me (a quick fast HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY and a goof BRIGHT SIDE OF THE ROAD with a “real” banjo), the show took off in the second half with I CAN’T STOP LOVIN YOU by Ray Charles, somehow old fashion, but then a super super super St.JAMES INFIRMARY who worths the ticket, and the second part of high level, having said that start found me somehow disappointed because it was cold, nice swing (club style) but without a soul (even TUPELO HONEY was not the Tupelo that can be done by this man)
Then it came some of those pieces such as REAL GONE > SEND ME that are more “suffered” and personal, where the mix of folk, blues, soul and Van himself becomes the perfect mixture, maybe always the same (and well know by those who buy every new album… often very similar but not all, admit it)
I was surprised to read the content of the various press release for the two Italian dates, which announced a "Special evening with Van Morrison” as a complete review of repertoire from “Brown Eyed Girl” to whathever hits… This is not a proper way as might be deceiving for newbees looking for such a evening and I do not think that it can be announced if we consider we are talking about a tour to support the new album, which appeared during the show with the title track and ther pieces (I haven’t bought the album yet, same goes for the previous one, sorry)
It 'also true that show setlists of the Red Irish are never a “photocopy” and some nice surprise taken from the more of 40 album is often given, but I believe that the impact of the various tours and concerts in so many years is more linked to the artistic moment and to the band members line-up with respect of the “sound” we may get in a single show
Yesterday, the band was excellent as always Van’s band are, but maybe his artistic choice, even with 10 musicians (then 11 by half onwards with a guest guitarist which I missed the name) the played well but maybe it is not the kind of band we loved and wanted
Two percussion, bass, violin, two guitars (one lap steel and banjo etc played by a very nice women) plus guests on guitar, keyboards that did not make any regret on Georgie Fame, two female chorists plus a male playing also trumpet and guitar… a sound similar to the PLAY WITH THE DEVIL period, much of “strings” but very few “horn blows” . at some stage even 4 guitars and no horns… I recall different sounds effects from his bands
The punch in the stomach that sax, trumpet and trombone can give to you, and that is strictly related to the best live sound we know ... was not there, you felt the lack of that (when Van took the sax and let the trumpet go accompaning, here it was, isn’t it?)
No "intro" played by the band with Van entrance to follow ...., he just entered immediately just like to say "ok, let’s do it quick” ... no band members introduction (this was made in the past, at least, and should be due, they worked hard and deserved it) and an advanced show start from 21.00 to 20.00 for Friday, which perhaps led someone to arrive later as they weren’t aware, and actually came in after 20.00
Theatre fairly full, Ivan & Co. seems to be ready to catch a flight or a bus and had… hurry. This is the feeling that you may get, (even if it was predictable), no encores at all even for the same old GLORIA (the same went on Thursday, after a 15 minutes clapping from the audience, no encores at all)
In short, left the theatre at 21.40… still a Saturday night to go, let’s go seeing some political speech on the TV (to be noted for foreigners: Friday was the last available date for TV radio politic campaign debats before elections this weekend)
The impression is, as usual, positive, a great artist, who plays many instruments from ukulele to guitar to sax and piano, harmonious personal style with a soul voice, full command of the band (sometimes even “scaring” some of the band members) in short a great musician .. who play live at his best but seems not to interact with the audience, so nothing surprising if we know him, in spite of some who were complaining after the show…I would say to them “after 40 years you have not yet understood how it is supposed to be?”
To be suggested proposed to high-schools and colleges students in need for a rehabilitation program aimed to detoxify from some today’s audio shit (at least once), and also for anyone who has some musical taste, and to be recommended for those who do not know him or haven’t seen him live, but at more reasonable prices such as the ones of the third gallery (I will not give more than 30-40 euro for future shows)
A 20.000 liras (some 5 pounds today ) were enough not too long ago (March 1997 St .Patrick) for two beautiful evenings in a row at Palalido, Milan, sticked to the first row, same excellent “same great soul music” but at least very close to the stage (just to be able to see his face clearly telling to the band "hurry up, we should cut here”, with an eye to a digital clock on his left, believe me!) but happier and lifted up, because at such ticket price this is the best bargain ever, a real bargain…. will it happen again?
Il Giornale -Antonio Lodetti
The voice is threatening and scrosciante as the rain that its Ireland strikes, powerful like whisky torbato and the dark beer that has ingurgitato to rivers. The old lion Van Morrison is a phenomenon that with the years (has 62) does not lose a thread of harmonic flexibility and sweeps up with its interpretativa fury for two evenings (thursday and friday) the public of the Arcimboldi of Milan. It is a phenomenon because in 43 42 years album has recorded many of which is enters to you in the history of the rock; it is a phenomenon because the new Keep It Simple has entered directly to the tenth place of the hit of Billboard; it is a phenomenon because from the alive one it stimulates the fan with a inimitabile cocktail of r' n' b, soul, blues, jazz, improvisation and liquids it falls to me country to high emotional rate. The sound takes to you and it transports to you and you get lost in a warm and explosive sound, from the suadenti melodie and the incredible ritmico cut. It will be enough to cite four gems: the cupezza bluesy of Bright Side of the Road, the crossing country-soul-gospel of Song of Home, the melanconica spiritualità of Tupelo Honey, the rilettura - with a vocal one improvised from brivido and a sontuoso agreement - dedicated to master Ray Charles. All the brani would go cited (changed ladder every evening), from the glorious Moondance (the fascination of ago originate them to impallidire that one of Bublé) to recent the Keep It Simple and Entrainment, for the evocativo spirit, the involvement, the concrete but controlled emotion. It, hidden behind hat and glances at them dark, stocky and infagottato in a sgualcito dress, he puts to us all which has: it tears tormented sillabe from the sax, sprizza joy and pain from the harmonica, ago to vibrate with heat the acoustic guitar, modulates agreements on the mandolino, playing with the times discs of a valve and those fast ones, with the ballad intimiste that open to penetrating accents and unexpected accelerations, to the ridden fantasiose sonorous that are the meter of its artistic maturity. Rinnegati in 60 years ' beat and the canzonettistica dimension, Morrison has left for a fascinating search - begun with the delights of Astral Weeks - of which fortunately the end is not looked at. A plauso to its splendid partner, from Tony Fitzgibbon to violino to Paul Moran to the keyboards, from John Platania to the guitar to the best Sarah versatile Jory to the banjo, the pedal steel and the acoustic guitar.