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VAN MORRISON - LIVE - THE PERFORMANCES



2009-02-28

last public update: Thursday, 02-Apr-2020 13:34:46 CEST
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Setlist
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Review(s)
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Van Morrison On The Astral Plane - by Eric Holland (WFUV)
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Posted March 1, 2009 by Eric Holland

Van Morrison played two sensationsal sets at the Wamu Theater last night in the second of two nights at the 5600 person capacity MSG venue.
Van put together a crowd pleasing song list for the first set that many fans have been waiting his whole career to hear.
It could only be characterized as a ‘greatest hits’ set and which varied from the ones he played in November at the Hollywood Bowl.
He was in great voice and played sax, guitar, and harp on top of leading a 14 piece band (2 cellos, 2 violins, gtr, bass, sax, trumpet, pedal steel, 3 backup singers, drums, and keyboards,flute) with hand gestures and occasional verbal commands.
The Astral Weeks set was glorious.
He changed the order of songs slightly by moving Slim Slow Slider towards the beginning and ending with Madame George which was indicative of his attitude toward the material.
It’s his so he enhanced and accentuated what he felt like while bringing the seminal album to life.
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Saturday Night At The Garden - George
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How I wish to have filmed. Marvelous stage and lighting with musicians spread left to right, Platania and the singers silhouetted with the rest subtly accented in greens against the light red backdrop....The sign said Van he was filming ("you give your consent to be photographed, etc.") so here's hoping some of these NY performances show up on the DVD, perhaps as extras?

Not only does it look great, Van is into it tonight. Great thing about the first set: almost completely different from last night.
Gotta love that. Though there' are dozens on stage, nobody is getting in the way. Healing Has Begun, for example, devolves down to just Van on guitar, while everyone watches. People moan about these tix prices (rightly so) but there are a lot of musicians up there to take care of. And I'm glad there not swapping out like Hollywood. It works.

Astral Weeks set is off the hook, if a little truncated in spots. AW itself is much shorter than the record - still good - and then Beside You is incredible. I wouldn't think it could approach the original but it does. Sweet Thing is stellar, but although as Mr Murray says the audience is respectful and quiet for the most part, in this one Van gets a quiet groove going only to cut it off when the audience starts cheering...When we come to Ballerina, I of course think of the monster version on Montreaux `80. Someone asked about the Grateful Dead: that's the Grateful Dead right there. And yet this version is different...better...more driving. Instead of Platania's lyrical runs and Jeff Labes' trilling, we get stunning acoustic guitars, then fiddle, then sax. A tour-de-force. Madame George makes for a great closer (good call, Art), upbeat and strong. Listen to the Lion is interesting in that Van has MORE guitar problems, a strap breaks or something so he just picks up the electric and strums on, not missing a beat.
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Van the Man: Comfortably Numb at the WaMu Theater - springstun
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Van Morrison did a stunning cover of (believe it or not) Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". I shit you not. His whole show was fantastic with a first set that was worth the full price of admission ($90-Balcony), yet didn't reek of greatest hits due to exciting arrangements.
A second set consisted of his whole album "Astral Weeks". I was a little nervous going in as I've seen him twice before,once (great) at the Music Inn in Lenox,MA in the 70's and once (really bad) at Wallingford,CT. And before Wallingford I had told my wife how great he was the first time which was long before we had even met. Our waitress said she had heard he was moody the night before and the first set had sufferred. I'm glad we picked the Saturday show as he was lights out. Probably 13-14 musicians on stage at once. Strings, horns, flute, pedal-steel, back-up singers, you-name-it. Jazz-Blues-Rock: he's so hard to define or pigeonhole. Ended the show with a bluesy harp intro into G-L-O-R-I-A that was reminiscent of RTB on the Magic tour. A great night.He redeemd himself for Wallingford. Teresa even said as we left. "That's the show we thought we'd see in CT. Thanks.

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