Van Morrison belied his sometimes-grumpy reputation as a performer by opening tonight’s set with a bopping Accentuate The Positive, the title track of his latest long player and twelfth album in a highly productive decade. He wonderfully took this song’s message to heart as he led his well-drilled group of superb musicians through a setlist mostly cultivated from a 1950s/early 60s jukebox of hits and much-loved songs.

Words & Picture: Paul Davies 


Transforming tonight’s memorable tunes from their original musical forms into R’n’B grooves, with no little swing, each musician was delegated solo spots in which they thrillingly enhanced their professional reputations, which is no mean feat amid a suffers no fools bandleader. And what a bandleader Van Morrison is.


Leading from the front, with ‘that voice’ in fine form, Van blew a sweet sax, mouthed a mighty harmonica, strummed a rhythmic guitar and seemed as content with his onstage world as I’ve seen him. Even thanking the audience on a few occasions. He further addressed his congregation of musical followers by also introducing his incredible band. Moreover, what Morrison achieved is to make these standards sound like they’re all his own.

They have a rhythmic tempo and groove that is a Morrison trademark. Penultimate track, Green Rocky Road, magically voyaged into the spiritual ambience which he excels at. It’s a pity that there weren’t more similar opportunities. Nevertheless, Morrison was on imperious form in a set including a bone rattling Shakin’ All Over, Bye Bye Johnny, The Everly Brothers’ Problems and When Will I Be Loved, Little Richard’s Lucille and Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill. Finishing up on Big Joe Turner’s Flip, Flop, Fly, Van Morrison departed the stage to hearty applause as the band played on…