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VAN MORRISON Album by Album Discussion: Part 2 (Wavelength 1978 - Enlightenment 1990)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Clarkophile, Nov 26, 2007.

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  1. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    The mercurial Mr. Morrison's love-hate attitude towards touring during this 1983/1984 period, from the Heylin book:

     
  2. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    I've probably spent more time wondering what's wrong with this album than such things merit. I know I didn't listen to it much at all for quite awhile, because I never got past the cheese medley it begins with, which is almost an insult to the great "Into The Mystic," followed by background singers turning the refrain of ISOTH into such a lame cliche that I can't help but see cartoon black chicks every time I hear it.

    I finally learned to skip the first few cuts, move straight to "Haunts of Ancient Peace," and listen to it as an EP. But it still didn't do that much for me, with the exception of a fine turn on "John Donne" and a semi-spirited "Cleaning Windows." It was a mystery, but I think I may have just figured it out. I think it's the band. They're tight as a nut, totally professional, and phoning it in. Many of the songs on this album sound more spontaneous and spirited on their studio recordings than they do in this live set.

    That ain't right.

    Still, there is some very strong material here and some great vocal performances by Van. Given a couple of rockers and a strong mystic workout (perhaps William's "Summertime in England") around the best stuff here, to lift this set out of its sedation, and it could be a pretty good live album. But I really dislike this band, or at least this performance. When I listen to this record, it's too easy for me to imagine Van in the foreground, straining to lift the whole thing up while the band lays back, reads their parts off of lead sheets, and occasionally yawns.

    Tim
     
  3. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Not a bad live album, but not a great one. I wish the setlist wasn't so heavily tilted toward Beautiful Vision :sigh:. Sound is ok on the unremastered Mercury cd I have, although I think Van's voice is a bit too high in the mix. It's nice to have a solid live performance of "Haunts Of Ancient Peace" and I really enjoy "Rave On John Donne", but I don't find myself listening to this one a whole lot. . .

    BTW, I just found myself a sealed copy of ISOTH on vinyl for cheap. I don't even have a turntable at the moment, but I felt the need. . .
     
  4. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    alas, Summertime in England is not from this performance.

    Still, I'd be curious to know the complete setlist of this show. does anyone know this?
     
  5. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    It matters not a lick to me. I love live recordings and quite a few of my favorites are compiled from multiple shows. In fact, isn't It's Too Late To Stop Now from a couple of shows? On different sides of the pond? It is one of the best. Right up there with Waiting For Columbus and that single disc compilation of King Crimson's The Great Deceiver that I can never seem to finish. :)

    Tim
     
  6. jostber

    jostber Forum Resident

    Location:
    Skien, Norway
    I think it's a good album with a great "Rave On". A bit slick in the opening, but catching up as the songs progresses. A nicely designed cover too.
     
  7. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    yes you are right, but then it wouldnt be "the opera house"...which i feel was half the reason to release this show, so he could use that in the title, makes it grander somehow and I'm sure thats partly the reason this show was used. Sound more interesting than cleveland arena....hahaha...no offence to Cleveland.

    still it will be interesting to see how they flesh this title out when its re-released with a bonus track or two...with 25ish minutes of free space, they probably could give us most of this concert.

    does anyone know the shows full set list? there used to be a great Van Morrison set list website, but I can no longer find it. Maybe Van had that one removed for copyright infrigement as well...:tsk:
     
  8. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    I think it's probably only a matter of time before this very thread is given a cease and desist order from Van's people.:laugh:
     
  9. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    oh man, you can almost believe if for nothing else we're "reproducing the artwork" and bits of lyrics....whenever I see something like that Van websites blog about getting that letter from Vans people, just sours me on the artist in such a big way. Fans are spreading the Van love and they are screaming cease and desist. It certainly doesnt give me a sense of wonder, thats for sure...and thats whats up next and with the lack of comments on the opera show we may be ready for that one soon....
     
  10. elborak

    elborak Forum Resident

  11. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    :confused: not even a page of thoughts on this one yet after a day. our lightest turn out to date.

    Curious if many posters in this thread dont have this one?

    How long do we want to stick with this one?

    i'm only in a hurry cause soon, for me, the music gets real good again....:D
     
  12. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Sorry, I missed this earlier.

    Live in Belfast stands among my favorite Van releases. It's a great snapshot catching Van in a wonderful space.


    Some random thoughts:

    "Rave On John Donne" here is one of Van's finest moments.

    Mark Isham's trumpet solo on "She Gives Me Religion" gives me goosebumps.

    If for nothing else, get this album for those two songs.

    "Northern Muse" and "Vanlose Stairway" blow away the studio versions from Beautiful Vision.

    I almost always skip the first couple songs, but the album gets cookin' with "She Gives Me Religion" and doesn't let up.

    I'd love an expanded version of the whole show, or other songs from the same period. Doubt it would ever happen though.

    4.5 stars out of 5.
     
  13. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Another petty, vindictive and heavy-handed slapdown, I wonder?
    Not a good day to be a fan of Van's.
     
  14. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Stephen Thomas Erlewine's lukewarm, if somewhat patronizing, review of the Belfast Opera House album:

     
  15. Baron Von Talbot

    Baron Von Talbot Well-Known Member

    this mixed appreciation of this album proves again one thing : The way a song made the most impression on you will forever be your favourite. It may not be to others, but that's art and music is such a wonderful magic medium that works in mysterious ways - as a memory book, a pastime paradise, an intellectual hobby or just a collectors game. But i digress.
    I heard the lame version of Cleaning Windows from Beautiful Vision yesterday and wondered what's wrong with that song. I can imagine many people might like that complete different slower arrangement with the acoustic guitar taking the lead; but to me it sounds 'wrong'. I want it the way i know it since 20 years and that is the version from Live At The Opera House, Belfast. This is actually a Best Of from all the stuff i passed on and the way he caters that here is tasty to me - good enough to eat as they say...
     
  16. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Senior Member

    Location:
    NYC USA
    I'll weigh in briefly. I like this album and find it to be very pleasing and sonically lively with a deep acoustic. When Van says "This is hip" he is right. It is not a scorching soul record but it is a solid performance in a good acoustic. This album could benefit from an expanded version. Rave On is truly the highpoint.

    First cover in quite a long time that was a tasteful design.

    Sending lawyers after your fans however, is NOT HIP. There is a kind of insanity at work here. The vanmorrison.net is a scholarly intensive detailed site. If it is dismantled a lot of great information will be lost. I have a bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing.
     
  17. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid

    it's killing my enthusiasm for this thread, not to mention it was a handy place to refer to when working on posts for this very thread....
     
  18. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Too bad about vanmorrison.net. It was one of the first online places I ever visited. Hopefully it's just a temporary downtime.

    Reminds me of what happened to the "K-tel Chick" - she maintained what had to be the world's most foremost authority on K-tel. She ran it at her own expense, by the fans, for the fans. Then one day "the suits" served her with a licencing contract or something like that and that was the end of that.
     
  19. tcj

    tcj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix
    It would also have served as a great place for VM newbies like me. I don't get this kind of thinking. How does this serve them? I've just discovered his music and I can't find much about him out there - now I see why. I try to not let things like this be a turn off because I know some of these artists are weirdos but I have to admit that it is a bit stomach-turning to see. Do they think that the mystery is going to drive people to buy more of their music? I mean, I probably will, but I doubt everyday people will.
     
  20. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Too right. I went to that site almost every day. My respect for V-the-M just went down a couple of notches.

    I've been stalling about expressing my thoughts about the live album because I don't want to be influenced by this.
     
  21. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    Van is a crank. He is the old man on his porch screaming "get offa my lawn" at the neighborhood kids. He's not a not a nice person. So it doesn't surprise me that he would hire lawyers to jealously guard his privacy, property and image, even to the detriment of the latter. It doesn't surprise me that he would let it get out of hand. What surprises me, and continues to do so, is how so much joyful, spiritual, uplifting, life-affirming music can come out of someone who is clearly so personally dark.

    I had to separate Van from his art a long time ago. I little pissing and moaning on the internet is not going to dampen my enthusiasm for the music or this thread. YMMV.

    Tim
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Too Long in Exile Thread Starter

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    You're right, of course, about separating "Van the Goof" from "Van the Man," but I still reserve the right to withhold my take on this album until such time as I feel confident I can trust my own judgement. Because right now I'm on the edge, Tim. Maybe I should listen to "Scandinavia" or something to calm myself down.
    Wait a minute, that song is part of what got me mad in the first place!:laugh:
     
  23. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Agree 100%, very well stated. I was quite surprised when I read my first Van bio to learn that the guy who wrote and sang such passionate songs like "Into the Mystic", "Tupelo Honey", "You're My Woman", "Ballerina", "And The Healing Has Begun", etc... was a grumpy old man, even when he was 25. I know one can't always trust biographers, but every book I've read on the man has a common theme running through it.

    Like most of my favorite artists, I don't let their personalities get in the way of the music. Maybe if I worked in the industry, or had a personal run-in with the man, I'd feel differently. As it is, I just enjoy the music and the effect it has on me.


    Regarding the website, I'm not entirely convicned Van is even aware of the (presumably) extreme actions being taken on his behalf in regards to that site. I hope they are up and running again soon. So much effort and love has gone into that site, they deserve much better. I guess we need to stay tuned.
     
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  24. tfarney

    tfarney Active Member

    Location:
    Charlotte,NC
    And I think that's probably a wise move, Tom. Just thought I'd throw a little perspective in there and see if saying "Van is not a nice man" would get me a letter from the lawyers. Hope it does. I've got a million lawyer jokes stored up and nowhere to use them...

    Tim
     
  25. jostber

    jostber Forum Resident

    Location:
    Skien, Norway
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