Van Morrison Myerson Symphony Center December 29, 2007
Better than: Pretending you have Celtic roots getting drunk at O’Malley’s.
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Saturday night, in the stuffy and polite confines of the Myerson Symphony Center, Van Morrison finally let loose. After a disinterested performance of “Moondance,” the legendary singer consumed just enough wine to start feeling the grooves put forth by his top-notch backing band. Spirited takes on “Stranded” and “Magic Time” were punctuated with Van’s trademark grunts and hollers and a clearly audible “motherfucker.” Later on, Van decried various “assholes” that didn’t understand “that I don’t fade away unless I choose.” One wonders if such vernacular has ever been heard at this particular venue. The crowd certainly didn’t mind even though the standing ovation at the conclusion of “Moondance” was appallingly misplaced. Ironically, the best moments of the evening were covers. Two songs commonly associated with Ray Charles, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Georgia on my Mind,” were tributes not so much to Charles, but to soul music in general. Unlike Dylan, at 62, Morrison’s voice is still a marvel. During an upbeat version of the slightly schlocky “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” Van’s animated stage presence belied his fedora, ill-fitting suit and dark glasses. Even though he turned his back to the audience, Morrison was having a good time, and as always, on his own terms. -- Darryl Smyers