Low and slow

Van Morrison at the Wang Theatre, March 14, 2008
By BRETT MILANO  |  March 17, 2008
Morrison[1]inside
Van Morrison

Van Morrison has joined the ranks of ridiculously expensive artists: tickets for last Friday’s Wang Theatre show — one of only four on his current US tour — topped out at $300, about twice last year’s cost of Springsteen, Dylan, or Neil Young. You could argue that he’s worth it, but only when he chooses to deliver — for that price you’d expect him to reach deep into his soul, or at least his catalogue.

This, however, was a low-heat night, one with a lot of pleasing moments — the man is still one of the great popular singers — but without those transcendent peaks that mark a prime Morrison evening. He was inscrutable as ever, his face nearly invisible behind fedora and shades, not saying a word between songs, in a show that began precisely at 7:30 and was over precisely 90 minutes later. And the lack of affect extended to the music: the 12-piece band included some familiar faces (Moondance-era guitarist John Platania is back), but it often seemed the tempos and segues were being rushed to get it all done on time, and Morrison seldom explored a song long enough to take it into the mystic.

The crowd was with him nonetheless, applauding the first notes of fan favorites “Vanlose Stairway” and “In the Afternoon” (but responding less to “Moondance,” the main set’s only full-fledged hit). Instead of digging up catalogue surprises, he devoted the second half to performing the forthcoming Keep It Simple in its entirety — a move he never made with his best albums. Keep It Simple isn’t a bad one, but the slow tempos and world-weary mood suit late-night contemplation rather than a full live airing. The jaunty “Soul” stood out, even if its lyrics are just a mini-lecture on the meaning of soul. On a better night, that’s something he wouldn’t need to explain.

  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Music Reviews,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY BRETT MILANO
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   REVIEW: DON'T STOP BELIEVIN': EVERYMAN'S JOURNEY  |  March 04, 2013
    There's no sex or drugs, just a lot of professionalism.
  •   WALTER SICKERT LEADS A BAND OF MUSICAL MISFITS  |  February 05, 2011
    When Walter Sickert and his Army of Broken Toys played an official First Night show at the Hynes Auditorium on New Year's Eve, they ran overtime and the soundman pulled the plug — which isn't quite the smartest way of shutting down an acoustic band.
  •   GUIDED BY VOICES RETURN WITH SELF-INFLICTED NOSTALGIA  |  November 07, 2010
    When Guided by Voices announced their reunion tour this year, it marked a milestone of sorts for the Dayton band. This is arguably the first conventional career move they've ever made.
  •   DANDO AND HATFIELD REKINDLE A MUSICAL COURTSHIP  |  November 01, 2010
    Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield were never a serious couple, and they never played music together for very long.
  •   REVIEW: ROCK OF AGES  |  October 12, 2010
    At the start of the hair-metal musical Rock of Ages (at the Colonial Theatre through October 17), narrator Lonny (Patrick Lewallen) promises a night of sexy decadence and general kick-assery.

 See all articles by: BRETT MILANO