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Van Update

ETA:  Here is the NY Times review of Van’s NYC show.  Just an observation….this review was all over the place.  I couldn’t get a handle on if he loved it or hated it.  Perhaps he just didn’t understand it.

Shrew has reported in.  Because of the wunderbar technology of the iPhone, I relentlessly bugged her by emailing, “Are you there yet?”,  just about every 15 minutes.  She let me know when she got on the train and again when they got to their seats.

Pretty good seats

…she sent back.  Evidence of said “pretty good seats”…

van

Who’s the ghoul in the forefront?

Anyway, while I was enthralled in watching my kid’s soccer tournament on the interwebs, an email alert pops up with the following message…

Voice is perfect!
No set list but he did 
And it stoned me
Caravan
At James infirmary (ripped it up too)
Gloria
Comfortably numb
And a town called paradise
Break
Fabulous weird little dude
And, about an hour later, this follow-up….
The Astral Weeks portion of the show was like good perfume. Heady, intoxicating and elusive, leaving you wanting more.  
More tomorrow 
Absolutely love the description.  Saturday morning she sent me this final recollection of Sweet Thing….
Infront of a backdrop pinpoint lights, Van Morrison began to strum the hypnotic melody.  Morrison is like a musical instrument of the muses and gods letting each note radiate outward from all of his being.  He is at the same time; lost in the music allowing the audiance in on his deeply personal dance with each measure and very present, conducting his orchestra with minimal twitches and hand gestures.  Each wave of music that emminated from Morrison on Sweet Thing, seemed to spread to each member of the band. The measures building to a soul filling swell seemed to swirl all around us.  The sound was deeply familiar and yet spontanious.  At one point I was transported to a younger self.  I had the impression of a warm summer night watching the song unfold under the cover of stars.

Satisfying.
I want more.

Ah yes.  As it should be.
While Shrew attended the Friday night concert, Little Deb took in the Saturday night gig.  Here is her “review”:
First, I have to admit that I was not a huge Van Morrison fan. No dislike, just uneducated. I love the Moondance album and have always loved his voice, I just never actively pursued his other music. I was even a little leary because I enjoy concerts the most when I know a lot of the songs being performed. Before a few days ago, I had never ever listened to Astral Weeks. So shoot me okay.  I remedied that by an itunes emergency download and played the album a a bunch before the concert. Beautiful music, but I still wasn’t sure how the concert would go for me. I even told the hubby that we couldn’t eat too big of a dinner or have too many glasses of wine because I wanted to stay awake. Little did I know.

I’ve been to a lot of concerts over the years and have been wowed and disappointed. Without sounding over the top here, I’ll try to explain the experience. As I said above, Van Morrison defines the term “a voice is an instrument”. Truly a genius at his craft. He changes up the songs to fit the moment.  He directs the band with hand signals and called out instructions and it all flows so damn smoothly that it’s almost unreal. It was 2 1/2 hours of musical bliss. It didn’t matter that I did not know all the songs. At the risk of sounding corny and cliched(sp), I would have been happy if he sang and the band played the damn phone book. First time I’ve ever said that.

The band was amazing – really amazing. I want to marry the violin/fiddle player. At times he played a violin virtuoso, other times some of the best country fiddle. At one point – and I wish I could remember the damn song – Van and the trumpet (I think) player did this echo thing. Van would speak/sing the words, with the other guy following one step behind. The only way to describe it simply would be sort of like “row, row, row your boat”. It was awesome. Maybe some of the educated Van fans can help me out on what the song was.

After the first set, we were told there would be a 5 minute intermission. WTF? 5 minutes. I’m wondering if that was his idea. The funny part of this was that there was the usual women’s room line 5 miles long. I had to go, so was set to miss the first few numbers of the next set. There was a woman attendant in the ladies room Demanding that the women move. “Come on ladies, just pee and get the hell out of there. Mr. Morrison’s gonna be singing soon. Move it, move it, move it.” She marched those women through there like a drill sargeant. I want to hire this woman to be at every concert I attend from here on. It worked. I was back in my seat as the beginning chords of the first song were played. Really, this woman needs to be knighted or something.

The second set was Astral Weeks in it’s entirety. Not one minute of the concert was anything less than pure musical magic. The audience sat quietly and LISTENED instead of jumping around, singing along and carrying on. That was so damn refreshing. I go to concerts to listen. Dance around and sing along at home when you won’t ruin anyone else’s experience. Really, you could hear a pin drop during the entire performance. PERFECT. And people remained seated and just gave standing O’s at the end of songs. It was almost like the audience was in awe and since I was, I bet they were too.

On a side note, a few strange things. Shrew, was this your experience?  When we got there we were informed by event employees that they had just stopped serving alcohol by request. What? Not a big deal, but strange. This was not a rowdy crowd. As we walked through to get to our seat, all the bars were putting the bottles and glasses away. So they were already set up to serve drinks and all of a sudden shut down. Then the 5 minutes only intermission thing. Perhaps a crotchety Van request at the last minute? “These people came hear to hear me sing and play and I want them in their damn seats and not wandering around getting drinks and going to the bathroom”. During the entire performance, I did not see one person get up to go to the bathroom. Really.

So, on to the songs. I did not take a pen and paper to write down the set lists. Too much work to interrupt my enjoyment. The ones I remember are Domino, And It Stoned Me, Brown Eyed Girl, Gloria, Listen to the Lion and a truly amazing rendition of Floyd’s Comfortably Numb. Seriously – Comfortably Numb. It started with a female back-up singer and was hauntingly beautiful. I think I like it better than Floyd. He also did a song that I know was a Ray Charles country song. I know he’s recorded I Can’t Stop Loving You, but it wasn’t that one. I still can’t believe that I can’t remember what it was.  Again, shrew – any help here since I know what a big twang fan you are.

I’m still scouring the internet for a concert review or a set list. The second set was Astral Weeks and some other stuff too. I think I remember almost all of the songs, just not what order. The Healing Game was in there too. And we were also graced with two encores.

Let’s just say that I was utterly and completely WOWED.

As a side note. I’ve been doing a lot of research today of Van’s stuff (which you true fans already know).  The man has covered the entire music spectrum. Which got me to thinking. I’ve read and heard other artists say that their album “will have a Van Morrison feel”. Not knocking any other artists here, but that would be totally impossible. Which Van Morrison? There is no Van mold as far as I can tell.

And MM, he did a beautiful rendition of Sweet Thing just for you.

Yea, I guess I’m a fan now.

Awesome.  Thank you both for the great descriptions and sharing your Van encounters.  You both got to experience one of the truly original masters of modern music.  So wonderful that he’s still making music that he shares with fans old and new.

P.S.  Little Deb, could the song have been What Am I Living For?

  Chuck Willis

 
 

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You, Van?

van20morrison

Van the Man.

It’s been a while.  Have you missed me?  Are you cross with me?  I never meant to neglect you.  After all, you are so very important to my musical life.  I know I talked about  Into the Mystic and The Movie Hits months and months ago, but I haven’t told you lately that I love you.  Well, I do.

Tonight, in Madison Square Garden, a Music Maven proxy will be front and center to hear you deliver the sweet nectar of Astral Weeks.  While I will be thousands of miles away watching soccer on the Internet, please know that I will be there in spirit.  And, I promise to give you more of the attention you deserve.

Your Sweet Thing,

MM

  Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

 
10 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Concerts, Uncategorized, van morrison

 

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Is YouTube Down the Tube?

 

In the on-going battle between media moguls Viacom and YouTube/Google, Viacom has had to take the defensive and quell fears of invasion of privacy of hordes of internet video purusers of the wildly popular YouTube.  It seems that as part of the $1 BILLION dollar copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Viacom against YouTube and its parent, Google, a judge ruled that YouTube must turn over it’s vast database of videos and the usage data along with it.  This data would include user names, IP addresses and profile information that users have included such as hometowns and even names. 

Privacy advocates went ballistic, accusing Viacom of trying to acquire the names of YouTube uploaders and viewers in an attempt to pursue, in the vein of the RIAA’s prosecution of those downloading illegal music.  Viacom suddenly was thrust into a PR nightmare and had to substantially back-pedal and qualify that they only wanted the usage data to either prove or disprove that the majority of YouTube’s content is user established and proprietary to uploaders, rather than copyrighted programming.  As such, YouTube agreed in principle to provide the data “masked” through other naming or numbering to hide the actual user names and information from Viacom.  This may or may not appease the ACLU-types, as masking doesn’t necessarily protect users if they can be tied via a usage pattern to other databases that could provide user data.

It is interesting to me that Viacom had no real issue with YouTube until Google and their deep pockets made the scene.  Perhaps Viacom sees this suit is an easier money maker than, say, providing quality programming that would attract more and better advertisers. 

No, Viacom has chosen to pursue a company that has repeatedly shown that it proactively tries to prohibit copyrighted material from its servers and has always complied with taking down material upon request.  That complies full with the DMCA — the law by which this case is governed.  Confused?  Perhaps this video can shed some light.

In the meantime, there is speculation that Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart will actually be called as witnesses in the case.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps it will be to lament how their pockets are being picked by wanton pirates who are uploading their shows, as well as nefarious viewers who are illegally watching their shows through YouTube instead of on The Comedy Channel, where advertisers pay hordes of money to Colbert and Stewart, by way of Viacom, for viewers to tune in there.

Here is a NEWSFLASH.  Viacom, along with many other media companies have MISSED THE BOAT.  Again.  Instead of joining forces with YouTube to further distribute their programming and broaden their audiences, they are once again, shooting themselves in the foot by trying to cripple or destroy one of the outlets that are actually helping them to sustain viewers.

Go through this with me.  Let’s use The Daily Show for an example.  Now, certainly, there are people who watch The Daily Show every day.  They consider Jon Stewart a god and tune in every day at x:30 to soak up his sardonic witticism and sarcastic political diatribes.  Let’s say that he gets a 10 share or 10% of American TVs were tuned in (a generous number, here).  That leaves 90% of us who are not watching him or maybe not watching anything, for that matter.

Common sense tells us that unless they happen to miss an episode, the loyal 10% are not relying on YouTube to provide their Jon Stewart fix.  So, YouTube is really a big, ole billboard for The Daily Show in that people like me may tune in to a YouTube video linked onto a blog that I read or that someone emails me.  Then, perhaps, Mr. Stewart intrigues or entertains me enough to take a real interest in what he has to say.  Well, I will want to hear him say it at x:30 on the days that he’s on and if I can’t make it, I can always set my DVR to record it.  Regardless, I am going to the source to get my content.

Let’s face it, old movies and TV shows don’t make YouTube until they’ve already been played on TV.  How does this affect my viewership of something like The Daily Show on The Comedy Channel?  They aren’t running every show in re-runs for me to catch up.  Some networks like NBC do provide episodes of their TV programs to watch via their websites, so I can understand their beef.  But, again, isn’t YouTube simply providing trailers for people to find these shows?  Very rarely are you going to find ALL of the episodes of a particular TV program on YouTube.  But, a snippet of one might just cause you to seek out the TV program (on its network), if you are appropriately stimulated to do so.

I also find it interesting that The Daily Show can be found on the front page of Hulu.com, so evidently they are not above having viewers watch their show on a competing network’s vehicle.  (Hulu is owned by NBC/Universal.)  While I understand that they are getting paid, why not try to strike a similar deal with YouTube.  YouTube actually approached Viacom about cutting a deal that would allow them to broadcast Viacom shows and in return, YouTube would build filters (similar to their porn filters) that would block material from Viacom projects from being uploaded without consent.  Viacom views this as strong-arming and has declined.  It just appears a bit hypocritical to me that Viacom agrees to sell its programming to Hulu (a competitor) and won’t work out a deal with YouTube and Google.  Sadly, what they miss is that if they did, they would be viewed as pioneers of progress and amply rewarded by increased viewership. 

While the revenue stream for musicians and writers is more convoluted, they are missing the same boat by not embracing the awareness-building outlet of YouTube to gain exposure for their music.  Some artists “get it” and that’s why you’re starting to see YouTube channels like Radiohead, AliciaKeys, mayermusic, and AmosLeePodcast.  These guys understand that YouTube is a vehicle for distribution.  To engage the viewer/listener.  To evoke enough of an interest to have that viewer buy tracks, seek out concert tickets, and become A FAN.  Once you’ve got fans, then the word of mouth of people like you and me become more precious than diamonds and gold.  The label is not getting the arist the kind of exposure YouTube and other non-traditional on-line outlets, like blogs, are providing.  Again, why not embrace the change instead of trying to eradicate it.  In the annals of history, there is no-one who has ever stopped progress through limiting technology.  Why try something that has been proven to fail every time?

YouTube may have a bit of a rock road to travel, however because of Google’s deep pockets they are here to stay.  IMO.  If not, I’m going to be really pissed.

Here’s some Tubeliciousness that I came across today.  Imagine being deprived of these?

  Astral Weeks, Van Morrison

  Street Corner Preacher, Amos Lee

  It Take Two to Tango, Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles

  Slip Slidin’ Away, Paul Simon (live @ Abbey Road)

 

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Days Like This…

Mamma said…

So did Van the Man.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 9, 2007 in that's life, van morrison

 

What Fall feels like….

Tupelo Honey, Van the Man

Ok, so Mobile, AL days are still 85 degrees, but the nights — oh, the glorious nights — are in the low 60s. The humidity has dried up and there’s a slight breeze. A few trees have started to take on yellowish and red tints and of course, college football is in full swing.

Fall is my absolute favorite season, no matter where I’m living. When I was in Louisiana growing up, Fall meant the build up and excitement of my birthday and back to school with friends, football games, victory dances and lazy Sundays at the park with music blaring from our parked cars.

When I moved to Baton Rouge, Fall was the bustling weekends of housework and handy work with the doors and windows open letting the fall air waft through. Again, music from the stereo providing the comforting accompaniment while we went about changing diapers and making our home improvements.

In Memphis, Fall took on a whole new meaning. A real season….with glorious colors and much more subtle temperatures. Early soccer games and late afternoon bar-b-ques with music piped outside to enjoy a tranquil evening and dinner with friends on the patio.

Through each Fall, Tupelo Honey has been there — encapsulating what Fall feels like for me. This rich song has the lyrics and the melody that garner the exact feelings of the season. But then, that’s what music does, right? Creates a memory. Invokes a memory. Pays tribute to a memory.

You can take all the tea in China
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail it right around the seven oceans
Drop it smack dab in the middle of the deep blue sea
Because she’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
She’s an angel of the first degree
She’s as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like the honey, baby, from the bee
She’s my baby, you know she’s alright…..

 
8 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2007 in memories, that's life, van morrison

 

Into the Mystic

Because I feel like it….and it’s in my Top 10 all-time favorites.

Van the Man, from Moondance

Van Morrison Live

Not the easiest song to cover, but this is the best one I’ve heard.

Jakob Dylan and the Wallflowers

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it
I don’t have to fear it

And I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will flow into the mystic

When that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home
And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it
I don’t have to fear it

And I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will flow into the mystic
Come on girl…

Too late to stop now…

 
20 Comments

Posted by on September 24, 2007 in van morrison

 

Jackie Wilson Said…..Movin’ On

I had been planning to give a review of Van Morrison’s new compilation, The Movie Hits, when my good friend, NOLAGirl suggested that I give a listen to Elliott Yamin’s new self-titled CD. So, I’ve decided to do both. The Elliott Yamin review is first, followed by Van the Man. Likely the ONLY time that’ll ever happen.

Elliott Yamin - Elliott Yamin

elliott-album-cover.jpg

First, let me say that Elliott’s style has never been something I liked or gravitated to, however I did like a few of his performances on American Idol, particularly A Song for You (included on this CD, as well). However, like many R&B singers he “over runs” the song with vibratos and whatever you call the running up and down the scale. I know folks will say that that’s the way R&B is supposed to be and maybe so, but it’s just not my cup o’ tea. I prefer to just hear the voice without all the gyrations of notes up and down. It’s not that hard to listen to, just not something that compels me to “power listen”, i.e., obcessively play in the house, car, and at work until I know the CD forward and backward.

There’s something about Elliott that’s bothering me. While I’m all about “making the most of what you’ve got”, his transformation from a year ago is a little eerie. A bit plastic. And these don’t even show the “Extreme Makeover” of his teeth. While he looks great, he just doesn’t look like Elliott anymore….at least to me.

normal_t24pselliottyamin1.jpgpselliottyamin9.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CD, however, does sound like Elliott. I like a few of the tracks alot, a few ok, and a few — not so much. Here are the ones that I like:

Movin’ On is the first release and I like the beat.

Find A Way Good beat with a “Stevie Wonder feel” and a bit of a protest.

Free Great “groove” song…message here?

A Song for You The Donny Hathaway anthem that Elliott, so richly did on “the show”. I love this song, in general. Elliott’s phrasing is a little rigid but, all in all, it’s good.

The other songs are similiar sounding to these and are “just aw-ite” for me. The Bonus Track of Whiter Shade of Pale is really unnecessary and awkward on this CD. A few of the songs are self-described, like Train Wreck and Alright, except that it’s not. (Think Theme from Shaft.)

Lastly, here’s Elliott’s first video and new single release, Wait for You. OK.

I think this the CD, overall, is a quality release. After all of the hand-wringing by his fans, his patience and taking time with this release pays off. I’ve not purchased an “idol” release outside of Taylor Hicks and if it not for this review, I likely wouldn’t have purchased the CD, but may have bought one or two tracks. However, he should do very well in his “genre”.

OVERALL RATING: B-

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Van Morrison – The Movie Hits

200px-morrison_movies.jpg

In February, Van released 19 tracks from “The Movies”….his songs used in movies. I have to admit, seems as though I hear Van’s music everywhere, but especially in the movies. In the following track listing, you can see the numerous movies that has included a Van song. I’m sure that not all are mentioned, as the first I ever heard of Van Morrison was from the song Into the Mystic in a movie called “Immediate Family” starring James Woods, Glenn Close, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Kevin Dillon. The story is about a childless couple trying to adopt a baby from a teenage couple, but I digress. In the middle of the movie, I heard Into the Mystic and watched until the end and the credits so that I could see who it was. Then, I went out (yes, to the Mall) and purchased Moondance and my music life hasn’t been the same since.

On this CD, Into the Mystic is listed as part of the “Patch Adams” Soundtrack, but I know better (as usual). Here is the entire Track Listing and the corresponding movie that it was a part of:

  1. “Gloria” (performed by Them) (from The Outsiders)
  2. “Baby, Please Don’t Go” (performed by Them) (from Wild at Heart)
  3. “Jackie Wilson Said” (from Pope of Greenwich Village)
  4. “Domino (Live) (from Clean & Sober)
  5. “Moondance (Live) (from An American Werewolf in London) (previously unreleased version)
  6. “Queen of the Slipstream” (from Extreme Close-Up)
  7. “Wild Night” (from Thelma & Louise)
  8. “Caravan” (Live with The Band – from The Last Waltz, 1976)
  9. “Wonderful Remark” (from The King of Comedy)
  10. “Brown Eyed Girl” (from Born on the 4th of July) (previously unreleased version)
  11. “Days Like This” (from As Good as It Gets)
  12. “Into the Mystic” (Live) (from Patch Adams)
  13. “Hungry for Your Love” (from An Officer and a Gentleman)
  14. “Someone Like You” (from French Kiss)
  15. “Bright Side of the Road” (from Fever Pitch)
  16. “Have I Told You Lately” (from One Fine Day)
  17. “Real, Real Gone” (from Donovan Quick)
  18. “Irish Heartbeat” (with the Chieftains) (from The Matchmaker)
  19. “Comfortably Numb” (Live with Roger Waters, The Band & The Rundfunk Orchestra & Choir – from The Wall Concert in Berlin, 1990) (from The Departed)

Here is Caravan with The Band from “The Last Waltz”. Superb.

Probably my most favorite song on this CD is Jackie Wilson Said

Here’s a live performance, for good measure….

Fun, musical and ALL Van.

Of course, included are some of the Van “staples” that we’ve come to know and love. In addition to Gloria (G-L-O-R-I-A):

Moondance

Brown-Eyed Girl

Domino

These songs spark the memories of summer bar-b-ques, the beach, and cold “hot” nights dancing one song after another at the local watering hole when I was a younger. These are all still part of my life….so much so that one of my “babies” is named Domino. (He digs Van, as well.)

domino.jpg

In the movie, “The Matchmaker”, with Janenne Garafolo, Van’s Irish Heartbeat is featured. Great acoustical tune with Irish flutes. LURVE this tune.

Irish Heartbeat

A few other favorites…..

Days Like This

Brightside of the Road Whimisical, wonderful tune from the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore flick, “Fever Pitch”…..nice. Great little bit of harp.

A personal favorite from “One Fine Day” with George Clooney (mmmmm…..) and Michelle Pfeiffer. I love this movie and the ending with Have I Told You Lately is perfect.

Have I Told You Lately

Lastly, to bring it full circle, here’s the YouTube and the CD live recording of Into the Mystic.

Into the Mystic

In case you haven’t guessed, I am a HUGE Van Fan. I’m biased, so sue me…..

OVERALL RATING: A+

Note: Temporary Music Files deleted.

 
20 Comments

Posted by on April 1, 2007 in Reviews, van morrison

 
 
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