on 04MAR2009 from avalondan2003
.another killer astral weeks set tonight, this time at the Beacon of hope on
broadway at 74th.
van was anchored in his own special place and time, rock solid at the microphone with waves of energy flowing from the stage and then back again into the singer's implosive core. Somtimes you'd think van has a little artistic nuclear reactor racing in that heart of his, His art was in full flight, transforming the personal into a universal emotional motherlode that the audience savored.
Slim slow slider was memory made flesh. As JG said afterward: "I'm speechless. I just don't know what to say."
Slim slow was overflowing with drive and passion, Morrison going back in time to when the "doctor gave me railway carriage charms."
Van was channelling something indescribable tonight during the astral weeks suite. The band knew it; the audience knew it. rain-a-bow rain-a-bow rain-a-bow ribbons in her hair.
The opening set was a warmup for the main event, but it contained some nice treats.
Another sweet Northern Muse; a stronger Spirit; Wild Night; Moondance; a soulful Jackie Wilson; All in the Game; And the healing has begun, with Van moaning and singing into the harmonica microphone; have I told you lately, the slow lover man version; queen of the slipstream was ecstatic; comfortably numb; and it stoned me; i can't stop loving you.
the muse settled in for good during beside you, and Morrison's voice opened up like a flower for the remainder of the evening.
the performance concluded with a ripping mystic eyes into a pulverizing gloria.
no listen to the lion tonight. the lion had already roared.
on 04MAR2009 from Anthony
The first half of this show found Van a little fussy, changing arrangements mid-song (!) and apparently catching the band by surprise throughout. He didn't play as much harmonica as last Friday, and seemed to be constantly taking sips from several cups behind him. I wonder if the 2+ hour shows have been a little strain on his voice? But except for a few gravel-voiced tones in one song from the Astral Weeks set, I could hear no difference. The vocals were excellent all night. And his fussy behavior was gone during the Astral Weeks set. I do not mean, in any way, that the first set wasn't less than excellent... just that Van seemed to be experimenting and fussing.
There were a few other subtle differences from the Friday WaMu show: Guitarist Jay Berliner skipped the first half last night, there was a steel guitar added to the instrumental mix, and the bass player used an electric bass during the first set before returning to stand-up in the second set.
Friday, Astral Weeks was in the same order as the album. Not so last night.
Wild Night - During this song, he skipped singing some of the lyrics and substituted dah-dah-dah in their place. It was pretty funny.
And It Stoned Me
I Can't Stop Loving You - He let the back-up singers handle the last third of the song while he chimed in vocally from time-to-time... and they can sing!
Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)
It's All In The Game > You Know What They're Writing About
Queen of the Slipstream
Moondance - Started with a long sax solo by Van let the back-ups handle the last third (as above) and the bass player got a solo.
Have I Told You Lately?
And The Healing Has Begun
Slim Slow Slider - This was stretched out a bit during this concert, to amazing effect. The band rattled on, the arrangement got looser and more primitive, the bass player alternated between plucking the strings and simply banging on his stand-up, Van was clawing at his guitar, the energy built and built, until Van cut them all back to a quiet shuffle as he brought the song to a close. Stunning performance.
Sweet Thing - Much like the previous song, this too was stretched out in a similar manner, though not as manic sounding.
Young Lovers Do
Common One - Also stretched out more than Friday, with the usual fun of the call-and-response challenge between Van & the sax player but as the song progressed, Van started a separate alternating call-and-response with the back-up singers... so he would sing one line for the sax player, who repeated it, and then the next line for the singers, then the sax player, etc. Van was playful and playing around.
Mystic Eyes > Gloria
Instead of a "real" encore, they just kind of kept playing. Van very briefly exited the stage between Common One & Mystic Eyes > Gloria, but it was for less than 30 seconds.
The Astral Weeks set has obviously grown and evolved since Friday. Friday night sounded a little sharper and spikier, like a brittle music box and last night it was warmer, but both versions were mesmerizing and inspiring. I would love to be at the concerts in the UK in a couple of months to see how the second half of the show keeps evolving, but... no such luck.
Van is better than ever.