Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Cyprus Avenue Concerts - August 31, 2015

Last year's Van Morrison concerts on Cyprus Avenue, Belfast were brilliant.  The official hour long video of the first concert is evidence of Van's talent and ability to impact an audience. The two shows on August 31, 2015 were part of his 70th birthday celebrations.  You've got to go over to youtube now and see for yourself.  Below are some of the comments in response to the hour long video of the first concert.    

Pamela Mac Neil  -   Yes, I've heard stories where the audience got really angry, because he would walk off the stage early or yell at the audience. At one time, you never knew what you were going to get when you went to a Van Morrison concert.  I think he quit drinking awhile back though. It's sort of a testament, in a strange way, to his talent, that he can act like that and people still turn out in droves to hear him. He seems to be more at peace these days.

ClusterVisionMach2   -  I saw him live in Germany several times ... never drunk  always on point ... if Van is drunk he is better a musician than the hordes of post modern digitals copy & pasting loops of original music.

Janis Linder   -   Yes Van is a sure genius and I also believe he gets better with age. Awesome musician and songwriter. Also had the 2nd best Hammond B3 player at all times. We all know Dickey Sims was the world's greatest on B3. Van always used the 2nd greatest whoever that may be. 

ClusterVisionMach2   -   Lucky Belfast, lucky Ireland to have such a son:  a great poet, composer, singer and musician, touching human hearts worldwide.

Veronica Mcsherry   -   Love you Van Morrison. Met you once in a second hand record shop in Nottinghill and you ran out of the shop before I could say hello.

Benjamin Failor   -   He'll probably erase your comment. I asked him on his Facebook page about some of his references to Alice Bailey. The next day it was gone.

Harry Lime   -   The New Caledonia Soul Orchestra (sic) was his best band.  

riviera833   -   Obligatory self-satisfied TV Chef in the front row. WHY?

ZaheedaNaheedya   -   Oh, goodness... That was utterly soothing and calming and luxurious. Lovely.

John Reilly   -   The man is unique, a singular voice. I was weeping tears of joy & wonder during the celebratory, gospel-tinged finale.

Lee Morton   -  Had the privilege of seeing "Van The Man" make his d├ębut at the Maritime hotel back  in the 60s when  he fronted Them. Great groups and great times back then. Cheap scrumpy  and Mundy's  wine at The Spanish Rooms.

Callum Tulley   -   I need say nothing of Van, everyone knows what a world class talent he is, he's in a league of his own, and has been for decades now. But what about his drummer here? His touch and his timing is majestic, makes it look easy. Even by Van's standards this is outstanding.

James Nicholl   -   he is great guy as well as superb drummer. We saw at Nells in Fulham ( London). After, he was looking for taxi. We gave lift to their hotel. Great end to a magic evening.

Craig Ashby   -   Saw him in York with our kid a few years ago. We'd travelled nine hours to see him play 45mins - t-shirt man said he cut it short 'cus he had a plane to catch (damn you Ryanair!). Left feeling short changed, but in complete admiration for the man's unstinting conviction to his art form, even when that means putting his travel plans before the fans. 

Darcy McFarlane   -   I love the 52:57 moment where two generation see Van in two different ways. The mother sees him as nostalgia living that moment and the daughter is mesmerized by poetry shes never heard.

Perkyporkpie   -   Bloody Van Morrison has done it again-made me burst into tears for no apparent reason. Let's be honest he's just magnificent but the crying has to stop!

Lauretta Wesson   -   I have been a fan and listening to Van Morrison since Roosevelt high school in Fresno I graduated in 1964. 

Katy D   -   SO good to see he's lost weight and it shows in his better performances. Singing and breathing better. He looks good, sounds great. Stellar guitar, they're all cream of the crop.
Daithi o beag   -   Yeah 'burnin ground' is the highlight for me.   Deep
Roel Lassche   -   It's great, i understand his memories on this one,one of the best recordings Irish,poets and alcohol: great this,saw him 4 times in my life,need to so him once again i think..
voice with soul deep art.  Sing on, VM!  We need you now more than ever.

Christine Wrench   -   Turned down the opportunity in Paris in 1983 to meet Van after spending about hour or so drinking with Pee Wee Ellis and Tom Donlinger following a concert. 30 years on I still shake my head in stunned amazementbb lang8 months ago
Van The Man....in a class All the to Himself...does it All.. All he's go to do is feel it...and that's it he will take you on his journey! Rock,Soul, Blues,R&B, all done with his magic....

MusicDude868   -   Never seen a clip of him playing saxophone before...HE IS AMAZING!!! They don't call him Van the Man for nothing. Awesome!!!

Phillip McConnochie   -   Most underrated musician ever. People say 'Van Morrison? oh yeah i love brown eyed girl'  so frustrating to me that this is his main recognized song, he has 200 better one's. I will say even though I think van's the best musician ever, I dont like jazz never have, i dislike moondance and a few others. I like Cleaning Windows. I think it's more swing and dance Celtic rather  than jazz.

Chris Paws   -   The second half of this gig really gets to me. Transcendental. Too good. 

kwilliams1958   -   I feel for those who have never heard Van the Irish Soulman! Purist of talent and deepest of soul...

Joy Rothke   -   Life without Van? Inconceivable!

51tomtomtom   -   always in new arrangements ! Never twice the same stuff, that's what is all about ! Sometimes they're better than the original , sometimes not, but.......where is the beginning , where is the end.....? It's surely not the wind blowing there which made it very "airy".

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

The Vanatic Quiz

I finished Vanatic by Pat Corley a few days ago. As a Van fan I loved it. It's a charming little book that has a freshness to it that books heavily edited and polished by professionals don't.  I would love to think of Van somehow obtaining a copy and having a read.  Maybe then he'd begin to understand the incredible influence he's had on thousands of people.  Here's a quiz I devised from the book.    

  1. After Pat arrived in Belfast for the 70th birthday celebrations, which couple did he meet first when he left the hotel for a walk?
   a) Othmar + Daria     b) Simon + Sandra Gee        c) Stuart + Michelle
2. What Van concert was closest to Pat’s Westbury house?
      a)   Glastonbury Abbey   b) Colston Hall, Bristol     c) Marston House, Frome

  3. Which band did Pat describe as “they must be the best Van tribute band in the world”?
      a)   The Belfast Cowboys      b) Celtic Soul           c) The Vancoovers

  4. In what year did Pat send Van a birthday card?
      a)       1985                           b) 1995                  c) 2005
5. Who is Pat’s least favourite guest vocalist?
      a)       Shana Morrison            b) Georgie Fame      c) Chris Farlowe

  6. Where and when did Pat get Van’s autograph?
      a)       Brighton, 2014         b) Glastonbury, 1982    c) Belfast, 2015

  7. According to Pat, what’s the greatest song on Philosopher’s Stone                 (1998)?
      a)       Ordinary People       b) Wonderful Remark     c) For Mr Thomas

 8. What magazine did Bill Nighy once subscribe to?
     a)       Wavelength            b) OK                            c) This England

  9. Who wrote the spoken word intro to In the Days Before Rock and Roll?
     a)       George Ivan Morrison    b) Seamus Heaney     c) Paul Durkin

10. What’s the final word in Vanatic?
     a)      end         b) God            c) now


1. b     2.  c     3.  b     4.  b     5. c     6. a     7.  b     8.  a     9.  c     10.  c

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Warm Love - July 10, 1974

Aquarium Drunkard is an eclectic music blog out of Los Angeles with a lot of contributing writers.  Here’s most of a post from “b Kramer”.  You might like to check out on YouTube the song clip he’s describing.    

Van Morrison   -   Warm Love (Musikladen)   -   July 10, 1974

(The summer of 1974 found Van Morrison in flux. Between the largesse of The Caledonia Soul Orchestra and what would become a three year hiatus (with a quick stop in San Francisco for The Last Waltz), Van was, by some accounts, a mess. More moody than mood-altering, his songs were sadder – the punctuation and preciseness of what had culminated in It’s Too Late To Stop Now, gone. A recent divorce, a creative impasse.)

Van Morrison only toured in a four-piece configuration once. You can’t even really call it a tour. You can’t even technically say it was the same band on the two-to-three nights that Van was on sax, Jerome Rimson on bass, Pete Wingfield on keys and either Dallas Taylor or Peter Van Hooke on drums.

The band, if you can call it that, was put together by the promoter of the 1974 Montreaux Jazz Festival (at which the first of the nights was recorded for Live at Montreaux) when Morrison showed up with only his girlfriend and manager in tow. But sometimes necessity truly is the mother of invention, as it worked. And well. The stripped down quartet tackled a mix songs to be released that fall on Veedon Fleece, along with other material only found on Morrison bootlegs.

Making an appearance a few weeks later on the German television program Musikladen, Morrison is distracted, the band is tight, and the arrangements and interplay are airy, funky and different. Aside from a forgettable version of Into The Mystic, they play only one other known quantity – Warm Love. Hooke’s drums are marching, his eyes transfixed on Van’s notorious jerks and snaps. Wingfield is out-there, right down to his Hard Nose the Highway inspired-or-inspiring shirt; he’s playing funk, he’s playing blues, ripping up and down the blacks and whites. Rimson is steady, in lock with Hooke, and with Wingfield creates a beautiful vocal harmony, particularly in the last minute of the track.

And then there is Van on sax. Morrison never looked at home on a guitar; saxophone was his original instrument. At Musikladen the instrument lays across his chest, more scarf than horn. Like an afterthought, he begins to play an ungodly deep bellow, pressed to his lips almost comically. He puts so much into each sequence, dipping back when in need of breath like a quill into ink, producing an even deeper, unholy blow. For a minute he stabs, bouncing in and out of the rhythm, a truly revelatory performance. And then, with preciseness, he re-joins the band for a single line in unison, bringing it all back on home.

Reader Comments

Irv Thornberry   -   So great. I’m also a huge fan of the version of Bulbs from the same show. Nice to know a bit more about his band for those shows too.

Alex   -   Transition may have caused unease, but I can still remember the feeling of abject disappointment, maybe even panic, that set in when Wavelength was released. Strange how either or both recordings have weathered the times.  Back then we just thought they sucked. That is all. Both got filed at the back of the rotation (if that) for those nights when you were hopelessly drunk or whacked and every other record in the pile had been played to DEATH!

Van was all done, right? Just like everyone else who had been through the music biz grinder, the road, the shitty managers, the wrong-foot wives, and of course all that heroin, cocaine, and hard hard liquor…the Stones, Clapton, The Band…they were all done, with good/bad reason.

I was overjoyed when he found his way back, however or whatever it took. That live recording in San Francisco made me feel a whole lot better about almost everything. Is it possible for one artist to have such mojo? Such incredible influence? It would appear so, as the years have revealed. (Thank-you Georgie Fame.).

Simply put, and out of relevance to everything else in this piece, I have NEVER forgotten the way I felt the first time I heard On Hynford Street from Hymns To the Silence… frack!!! Van was still the man.