Van Morrison

The Dome was almost full but not quite sold out, perhaps due to Morrison’s hit-and-miss reputation and the expensive tickets. Van was thankfully in a good mood however, starting off with some soulful saxophone playing in the midst of a nine-piece band. The setlist was fairly esoteric and hit-lite, with a lounge jazz and soft blues feel. At times, the template blues numbers were a little samey, or even bland, but when Morrison went into ballad mode he really hit his stride.

Third song ‘So Quiet In Here’ was a highlight, a strong song with pleasantly shuffling drums, a sweet rolling melody and a prominent Astral Weeks type bass line. Van’s distinctive voice also shone most brightly on the ballads since they showcased his rich, smooth signature style. He couldn’t soar quite as highly as he used to, but there were still some glorious flashes of Morrison’s beautiful belting.

Blues singer Chris Farlowe joined Morrison for a few songs, including an uplifting cover of ‘Stand By Me’, an interesting jazzy arrangement of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, and a rollicking rendition of ‘Gloria’. Overall it was a solid performance from a great musician, never truly lifting off into the spectacular but still an enjoyable, occasionally moving show.

Concert Hall, Brighton Dome, 17 February 2014
Rating: ★★★★☆
Joe Fuller

One Response

  1. Roger Adams says:

    Lovely show – terrific band. Van in good humour with his “old china” (plate = mate) Chris Farlowe sharing on 5 (?) blues numbers and being dubbed “a.k.a. Little Joe Cook” after a nice rendition of Stormy Monday Blues. Nice touch Van. Possibly too much 50’s/60’s blues – I would have preferred some more stretched out numbers in the vein of “Queen of the Slipstream” which was tender and building at the same time. Songs like “Back on Top”, “Days Like This” and “Sometimes We’ll Cry” are great fillers but the show needed a little more substance to make it unforgettable. That voice though – that really IS unforgettable.

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