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Van Morrison - Album by Album discussion - PART THREE

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by DJ WILBUR, Feb 29, 2008.

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  1. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Chicago Tribune review

    Morrison takes the money but doesn't repay it
    By Bob Gendron | Special to the Chicago Tribune

    July 10, 2008
    All that was missing from the Rosemont Theatre at Tuesday's inconsistent Van Morrison show was an actual commandment stating, "Thou shall not have much fun." Strict and stuffy, the atmosphere had more in common with a confidential business meeting than a concert. Fans were told they couldn't go outside to smoke. No alcohol was served. Cell-phone photography was prohibited.

    In addition to those rules, the 62-year-old bandleader revisited several of his cranky onstage customs. Morrison treated the audience as if he had a plane to catch. A backing nonet dared not step out of turn lest it receive his wrathful glare. And the vocalist seldom broke from a stone-faced expression that suggested, for him, performing is on a par with doing barnyard chores.

    While he had a few prime moments, Morrison primarily coasted through a relaxed 100-minute set heavy on mellow fare and light on enthusiasm. Openers "Wild Night" and "Tupelo Honey" sounded empty, so drained that they initially gave rise to the thought of an equipment malfunction. Yet it soon became clear nothing was awry; Morrison simply had no intention of properly amplifying the band or pushing his voice. A shame, as his range remains largely intact, capable of soaring during crescendos and altering timbres to suit the mood of a lyric.

    When Morrison exerted effort, be it at the microphone or on saxophone or harmonica, the songs purred. The nightclub soul of "In the Midnight," bluesy snarl of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Help Me," and poignancy of the Celtic-flavored "Ballerina"—for which the multi-instrumentalist riffed on a single word to accent phrases—all shined and testified to his legendary status.

    Alas, such instances were teasers. And knowing what Morrison was capable of achieving made the event doubly frustrating. Save for the scatted "Behind the Ritual," a handful of tunes from the singer's recent "Keep It Simple" album came across with less thought than he likely puts into ordering dinner. "In the Afternoon" could've passed for an easy-listening lullaby on smooth-jazz station WNUA.

    Ironically, the sentiments expressed on a watered-down cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" summed up his disposition. Those who paid up to $300 a ticket—or $3 per minute—deserved better.
     
  2. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Yikes. That's some cold $hit.
     
  3. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    oh yeah, that smooth jazz crack is my fave.....yannification of another wording....

    well the ordering dinner quip is another fave....
     
  4. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    So, I guess maybe somewhere between that evisceration and my gushing review lies the truth? All I can say is I thoroughly enjoyed it.
     
  5. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    oh this critic sounds like he had an axe to grind. I've seen Van enough, and i'm sure this show was fine as well....he is what he is, either you "get it" or you don't.

    I'm sure you're right on the money. he plays for fans, not critics...."...a handful of tunes from the singer's recent "Keep It Simple" album came across with less thought than he likely puts into ordering dinner. ....".....:laugh:

    $uch a slam...
     
  6. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    See, I felt Van was really trying to get these new songs across. As I think I said in my review, the Keep It Simple material was very well received. There was enthusiasm there, not just polite applause, especially for 'Lover Come Back.'

    It's a wicked slam for sure, a smackdown if there ever was one, but it strikes me as overkill.
     
  7. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    hence why its an axe to grind, he's not a Van fan...an average concert goer attending a Van show is usually not impressed, hence the small rooms and high ticket prices, he wants to play for real fans and not the bores who want a greatest hits Mach Shau madonnadanceathon spectacular spectacular....
     
  8. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    Van's got a bunch of video's now streaming on his website....


    http://www.vanmorrison.co.uk/?m=Content&Content(record_id)=bcdf0ba5fecbc0ef8494bf0c7a15c7dc

    the first clip is Summertime in England from The Beacon Theatre, VHS/DVD that I raved about time and again in this thread....so now you can all check out what the deal is with that.

    most of the video's are from 2008....so we can also see what Tom was fussing about....

    enjoy and discuss...havent had any Vanologue in a while....
     
  9. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
  10. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    duh, no, laserdisc...sorry...
     
  11. adm62

    adm62 Senior Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
  12. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

    well since Van scrubbed all the vid's off youtube, you take what you can get and he's got basically a nice "live album" of video's on his website now...and the price is right....

    maybe this needs its own thread????
     
  13. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Wow, VanTube.:laugh:
     
  14. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
  15. DJ WILBUR

    DJ WILBUR The Cappuccino Kid Thread Starter

  16. John Rhett Thomas

    John Rhett Thomas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Macon, GA, USA
    Anybody have any clue what's up with the latest batch of Van Morrison remasters? They were due on 9/30 and never came out. No word on Van Morrison's website nor has there been any chatter about them that I've come across.
     
  17. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
  18. LeeS

    LeeS Martini Time

    Location:
    Atlanta
    Maybe they are showing me some mercy with all those Blue Note SACDs around the corner. :laugh:
     
  19. dee

    dee Forum Resident

    Location:
    ft. lauderdale, fl
    Listening to Avalon Sunset at work this afternoon on the ipod. Always have enjoyed it. There's a sincerity, and maybe a humility, in it, that I find very appealing. There's something very present and real and personal in the performance of some of these songs, such as that I hear in I'm Tired Joey Boy, etc. It sounds to me like Van Morrison with very little pretense, but with conviction, and a relaxed confidence, even though some of the material may be as much or more concerned with a specific religious pov as it is of a more generic spiritual nature, or not. Songs like Orangefield seem to me to fuse the idea of church, state, nature, and man, all in one. One of the most satisfying elements to me is hearing Van Morrison sounding so natural and engaging (Even with earbuds and an ipod, heehee). This was an essentially fertlle period of time for him, and during this time, three of my personal favorites of his were recorded: No Guru, Poetic Champions, and Avalon Sunset.
     
  20. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Non-essential

    Location:
    OH
    Well it took me two years, but I finally heard "Keep it Simple".

    I'll admit that after the first few songs I was ready to shut it off, but by the end of the album I was ready to play it again. And again.

    I can do without the first four songs, but starting with "Lover Come Back", I found myself really enjoying a "new" Van Morrison album for the first time in almost 20 years (Enlightenment).

    I especially love the last song- "Behind the Ritual". It's become one of my favorite Van songs ever. It's builds and builds and hypnotizes for over 7 minutes. It goes to show it's not what Van sings, but how he sings it.

    For example, this verse:

    "blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah...."

    No, it's not quite "and the love that loves the love that loves the love that loves to love the love that loves the love to love the love that loves to love..." but I can dig it :thumbsup:

    Keep it simple indeed!
     
  21. albert_m

    albert_m Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atl., Ga, USA
    Love that song too. I like the humor of the "blahs" after repeated "drinking of wine" The album is a little long, but has some catchy moments.
     
  22. Clarkophile

    Clarkophile Through the Morning, Through the Night

    Location:
    St. Thomas, ON
    Thanks to you, I am inspired to pull it out again. 'Lover Come Back' was a highlight when I saw him play on the KIS tour.
     
  23. jostber

    jostber Forum Resident

    Location:
    Skien, Norway
    Plus one from me for "Lover Come Back" and "Behind The Ritual". Those are really great Van songs.
     
  24. I'd agree with you. While I wouldn't rank it with Van's best albums the latter songs put this in at least the second tier for me.
     
  25. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    Location:
    North of Seattle
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