Tuesday, 6 September 2016

More Fan Stories

Fans After a Susan Boyle Concert

Brett   -   In 1965 I had been playing drums for about four years already. I was ten and was in my first band with my older brother and other older boys. I felt elevated to a higher status being in that band ("The Kings," later renamed "Page Five"), as all of the other members were 14 or 15. We played the "hits" of the day and, of course, one of the big ones was Gloria. My brother had a copy, it's flip side was, I believe, Baby Please Don't Go

We played many of the other standards for young Rock bands, and my focus as a drummer was on a kind of Mersey Beat. This had a strong back beat (a strong emphasis on 2 and 4 of a 4/4 beat pattern, or even all four beats given supreme emphasis, at times with a double back beat on 2 accented by two eighth note taps), Ringo would be the drumming example most people can relate that to, although there were many more. The rhythm of Gloria had just a flavor of that Mersey Beat emphasis but with more Rhythm and Blues thrown in; and, along with a lot of the Animals' tunes, it gave me a starting point for influences that combined American Roots music with British Mod sounds.

I didn't know anything about Van Morrison at the time, but that soon changed as he was soon to present and represent something no other musician would or could. His music was and is at once a sound so strongly influenced by African-American roots music/Spirituals, Romantic poetry and Irish Laments, yet those influences were and are internalised the way great artists do and not merely homages or impersonations that can be discerned directly.

Morrison could have gone the way of so many promising musicians and sold out after his Brown Eyed Girl, but he kept moving away from that limelight in favour of seeking a path guided by something else. I would compare him to Dylan in that way, a true artist, less inclined to compromise a vision and more inclined to follow his own muse. I still play Crazy Love and Into the Mystic in my repertoire when I perform my acoustic act (I play guitar now, all of these 45 years later).

Picmandan   -   Went to a concert of his, got to sit real close, maybe 10-15 rows back from the stage. He was in the middle of singing Send in the Clowns, when my girl and I decided he should sing one of his own hits instead. We tried screaming randomly a few times, till I got the bright idea that if we worked together, and shot for a silent or quiet moment in the song, we might be able to get something out over the din. So the music goes bump bah, dah, dah.... and we screamed DOMINOOOOO!!!!! It went out clear as a bell. He heard it. He definitely heard. It apparently pissed him off to no end. He incorporated Domino in the lyrics to what he was singing. "Mother F-n Domino! F Domino this! F Domino that. Mother F-n Domino!". He never sang Domino that night.

Drunk For Days   -   In 2007 I went and saw Van the Man in Vancouver, BC Canada. I was so incredibly pumped. In 2006 he was supposed to open for The Rolling Stones, but had to cancel. So this was a while coming. My friends and I snapped up tickets and were ecstatic as my friend's birthday fell on the night of the show, February 26th. The tickets weren't cheap, and we were just out of high school and very broke. But it'd be worth it. We thought. Van couldn't  give a shit. He ignored the crowd by turning away, checked his watch constantly, sang a verse of a tune, and his band would finish it. Also, every player in his band would play a solo, every song it seemed. We were not happy. And a lot of the crowd around us wasn't either.

Which is too bad, because I still love his music. It's just annoying whenever he gets played, if any of the four of us are together, we more than likely have another discussion on that faithful night.

Andrew Fargo   -   I worked with a guy who was the retired tour manager for The Band in Upstate New York for a year right out of college. The guy had tons of stories about The Band, but also had some good ones about Van. Even back in the day he went through a phase where he was "only playing the saxophone, wouldn't really sing, and played the entire show with his back to the audience." I think that was in the 80's or early 90's before he was as old as he currently is.

Brendan McCusker   -   I first saw Van Morrison at Birmingham’s Rainbow Suite Club in 1965. I was a precocious underage youngster. Van Morrison had already had two huge pop hits with Baby Please Don’t Go and Here Comes the Night with his Belfast band Them

Even then, Van Morrison was a maverick. During the set he wandered offstage, leaving the audience perplexed. A few minutes later he strolled back on, astonishing the young crowd by swigging from a bottle of Guinness and smoking a cigarette. Unprofessional? Perhaps. A bad example? Maybe. Cool and unforgettable? Definitely.  

Papa Was a Trollinstone   -   I was able to see Van perform the full Astral Weeks album at the Albert Hall a few years ago. The only downside was how much he rushed Sweet Thing, a favourite of ours (wife and I). An incredible show though, even if he insisted on wearing leather trousers. An interesting aside: a vinyl copy of Astral Weeks sits among my collection. Yet neither my wife nor I remember how it got there - we both insist we didn't buy it. Angels planted a copy of AW in our record collection.

RyanWalsh   -   One night, Wassel visited Morrison at the King Edward Hotel, where Morrison and Janet were staying. They were already anxious: Morrison’s papers were not wholly in order, and he was worried he’d be deported. Also, Morrison was severely intoxicated. Wassel asked about a radio he had given Morrison, which now appeared to be broken. Morrison’s temper flared up, worsened by the booze, and Wassel put an end to his incomprehensible Gaelic swearing by smashing Morrison’s Martin acoustic guitar over his head. All of this may have had something to do with why, in early 1968, Morrison and Janet hastily married and moved to Cambridge.

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