Van Morrison is about as cantankerous of an artist as there is. Said Ted Templemen – his longtime record producer – in 1981, “I’d never work with Van Morrison again as long as I live, even if he offered me $3 million in cash.” His performances can be anything from uninspired and lethargic to positively transcendent. I was fortunate enough to witness one of the latter at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre back in 2001. When he’s in the mood to blow, few others can touch the passion and energy “Van The Man” pours into his singing.
This show comes from San Francisco’s then-premiere venue, Winterland Arena, in February 1974. Van starts off in a contemplative manner with beautiful acoustic versions of ‘Ballerina’ from Astral Weeks, ‘Streets Of Arklow’ from his then-new Veedon Fleece and perhaps the single best version of Bob Dylan’s Just Like A Woman, including Dylan’s own.
Breezy versions of ‘These Dreams Of You’ and ‘Moondance’ turn up before the second piece-de-resistance of the evening, Morrison’s own ‘Listen To The Lion.’ His meditative crooning and the trancelike improv of his backing band make this a standout performance.
The intensity of the second half of the show doesn’t quite reach the first 10 or so songs, but it’s a commendable and fun romp through some of his best known hits.
Click the link above or below to download this folder from Dropbox. Unzip > Import to iTunes > Enjoy!