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VAN MORRISON, Liverpool Empire, 3 September 2011
is certainly not one of the happiest performers around. Given what I've
heard about his showmanship, I fully expected him to come on stage,
insult the audience, and then sit with his back to us and play a set of
songs off that dreaded 'new album' for 10 minutes and then walk off.
But no, except for the odd pointing at his fellow band members Van the
Man, was actually on relatively good form for his Empire gig on Saturday
Granted, he hardly spoke, but at least he knew what everyone had come
for and didn't disappoint, playing some of the more famous of his songs
from his 40-odd year career.
'Here Comes the Night', one of his earliest hits with Them, opened up
the action, with its anthemic, Rolling Stones-esque chorus. So far, so
good - and he hadn't walked off in a huff yet.
The band were stunning, a wonderful seven piece ensemble with piano,
guitar, double bass, drums and brass section, as well as Morrison
himself chipping in on sax and mouth organ.
The mood was laid back, and nearly every song took on a loungey, jazzy
tone, including the wonderful 'Crazy Love', which moved along slowly,
gently. Similarly, 'Into The Mystic' washed over the 1,300-strong
crowd like an incoming tide.
who has only heard a small selection of Van's music I was impressed, and
what a sax player too!
All in all a good time was had by all...including, I suspect, Van the Man.
photos by Steve Goudie
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