Van Morrison The Sage Gateshead 11 Feb 2012

Van Morrison The Sage Gateshead 11 Feb 2012
“No cameras. If anyone takes a photograph he says he will walk straight off stage” the lady at the door told me as I entered the concert last night. Welcome to a gig by the enigma that is Van Morrison. I was seated in a box to the left of the stage, just a few feet away from where the great man would stand. The gig had been sold out for weeks; Van’s legend is as strong as ever, and he is filling halls out again, as it should be. Spot on at 8pm as advertised the band took the stage, followed by Van who walked on from stage left playing a saxophone. They were straight into Brown Eyed Girl; a version with a jazzier feel than the original. Morrison was singing well and you don’t get much tighter than this band. So far so good, I thought. I’ve enjoyed the last couple of Van gigs that I’ve seen, and expected this to be similar. But it was so much better. Last night, I could sense that Van was getting more into the performance as the night went on. Maybe it was because I was close to the stage and could clearly see the expression on Van’s face, but I think it was more than that. I swear I saw him smile a few times, and by the last few songs he was singing with a commitment and passion that I haven’t seen for many years. Between songs he was having some little chats with members of band, particularly the bass player; obviously giving them some instructions as to the next song and the arrangement. I’d love to be able to hear what he was saying. Van himself played sax and harp on several numbers and on Haunts Of Ancient Peace he sat and played at a keyboard, something I can’t recall seeing recently. He even introduced one of the songs and asked us to thank the band several times. The band, by the way, are excellent; switching from jazz to blues to soul, with some great solos, whether it be by the sax player, guitarist or the pianist. By the last song, the old Them classic, Gloria, they were really rocking, and Van was belting out the lyrics. He just gets better. Setlist: Brown Eyed Girl; Higher Than The World; Not Feeling It Anymore/Hurting Game; These Dreams Of You; Enlightenment; All In The Game/No Plan B/No Safety Net; Real Real Gone/You Send Me; Crazy love; Moondance; Into The Mystic; Precious Time; Haunts Of Ancient Peace; In The Garden/Holy Guardian Angel; Fair Play; Ballerina; Help Me; Gloria. I told a guy at work, who used to go and see Van a lot, that I was going to the gig. He told me that he had been disappointed by Van’s performances in the past, and wouldn’t go again. He missed a treat. Wish I had tickets for York tonight, but I checked and its sold out, which is as it should be. Come back soon Van.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Peter on February 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I was at the concert as well. Fully agree with your assessment. Van was in great form as was the band. Seldom saw a band so tight and dedicated. And indeed switching form one genre to another effortlessly. Was glad to be there and can’ t wait for Van to come to Amsterdam!! Would love if he made a live album of these concerts.

    Cheers,

    Peter

    Reply

  2. I heard what the lady said and saw you go to your box as we were behind you at the door to Hall one – I agree with all you said and for me Ballerina stole the already fantastic show…

    Reply

  3. Posted by Keith on February 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Great show. Help please. In one song the phrase ‘no teacher no guru no method’ was sung which I assume is from the album of the same name. I do not have this but can anyone tell me the song title.

    Reply

  4. Posted by CleaningWindows on February 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    The song from “No Guru, No Method, No Teacher” was called “In The Garden”. Great show, I agree!

    Reply

  5. Posted by Ben on February 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Hi Keith
    Track number 5 ‘In The Garden’. Great album!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Sue Osben on February 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    In The Garden

    Reply

  7. Posted by Sheila on February 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Which track did I enjoy the most????? It was a tremendous show but it was ‘Haunts of Ancient Peace’ that sent a shiver down the back of the neck for me. Please keep keepin’ on Van, you’re the best.

    Reply

  8. Posted by John Nichol on February 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Loved the show.
    As good as 1973 in a different way. The energy of youth now replaced by the maturity of experience.
    Disappointed that the band were not name checked.
    Anyone with any info?

    Reply

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