It's nearly impossible to believe Van Morrison is already 70, especially after witnessing his amazing show at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. He was on his A game, and rewarded his fans with a special night to remember.
Morrison is an extraordinary singer, and approaches his performances much like a jazz vocalist. Even though he's likely sung “And the Healing Has Begun” more times than he can count, he performed it this night – to a much more upbeat rhythm than the original – greeting each and every note is if this was their first introduction to each other. Morrison is also underrated as a musician because when he accompanied himself during “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child,” or blew harmonica for a few blues pieces, or especially when he played saxophone during the night's jazzier moments, he sounded great.
Although many of the set lists for more recent appearances included only a smattering of big hits, Morrison sang quite a few memorable oldies, including “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Wild Life”, much to the appreciation of many of the dancing (mostly) baby boomers in the audience.
Van the man, who was dressed in a dapper hat and suit combination while also wearing cool, showbiz shades, looked to be having a good time. Throughout the show, Morrison exchanged witty banter with his keyboardist/musical director Paul Moran that was nearly impossible to understand (he is, after all, an old Irishman). Still, it was heartening to see he was in a good mood.
Getting back to the whole age thing. There are performers half Morrison's age not giving a quarter of the effort Van applies to his concerts. He could very easily just go through the motions. Sing the hits. Do the songs that novice music fans expect, collect his money and go home. But that's just not Morrison. Each song – neigh, each lyric – is like a new opportunity to dig, and dig deeply, for each and every ounce of inspiration. He's on an a never ending artistic journey, and we're just along for the ride.
Except for bringing on his daughter Shana to sing along on a few songs, Morrison had no special guests. He did, however, have a flexible and talented band that could switch from swinging jazz, to blues, to rock like these were/are the natural motions of a working band.
After the recent passing of David Bowie, this concert gave attendees the chance to embrace and appreciate one of music's true living legends. Bowie, like Morrison, never stopped creating -- even up to his death at 69. Therefore, if you have the chance to experience Morrison live, by no means pass up such a gifted opportunity.