Into the Facebook Mystic with Van Morrison



I am a spy in the house of facebook, a natural voyeur, and so I gorged on the “10 Bands I Have Seen (one of them is a lie)” chain letter meme sharing explosion.  Gawd do I love the Kerouacian goofy foolish human parade that marches through my news feed. A feeding frenzy for me.  I mean that in a good way. Hell yes I care what concerts my friends have caught in the act. I want to get to know my friends.  And please friends, don’t be apologetic or too cool for school and shoot out a snappy snarky disclaimer before you list your fav bands. And for fuck sake don’t make fun of the good people that do. Especially the next day.

Why didn’t I expose myself and put forth my list? I’m crazy about live music and am totally OC in regard to lists.  Give me a 10 page bibliography and I have fun for hours.  Why no top ten list minus one from me?  Because like one of my 10 favorite literary characters Chance the Gardener said in Being There: “I like to watch.”

OK. I’ll have a go at it. Might as well.  Since everyone’s doing it. Right out of the archives.

 

From an email to my friend Rick, Subject line: Van Morrison, Re: Guinness Fleadh (festival of Irish music), Chicago Motor Speedway, Cicero, Illinois, June 12, 1999.

Van Morrison followed his band onto the Main Stage at the Guinness party looking like a well fed Amish farmer dressed up in his Sunday best, black suit and shirt, brimmed hat, jazzy tea shades hiding his eyes.

They jumped right in with Moondance, then Cleaning Windows. Van didn’t move much, feet planted during tunes, head bobbing a bit, downcast, jerking back and sky gazing when he’s not singing and the band is laying down a deep groove or soloing. He did not talk between tunes just like Miles, but I could hear him off mic calling the next song. He did chant/mumble out the player’s name after a solo usually twice, three times but I couldn’t make out the names.

Van has still got the chops, strong, wailing. Most of his inspired improvising was on the new stuff: Going Down Geneva, Precious Time, Back on Top. He ain’t no Oldies cat. He did a little bit of that moaning thing that I like on Vanlose Stairway. Also on County Down which got the Irish crowd up and wild. He stretched out with a whole lotta soul on In The Afternoon which weaved in and out comedic with James Brown’s Get Up, I Feel Like A Sex Machine.

Van played harp on most tunes. He had the standard soulman set-up with bass, drums, guitar, organ, piano, sax and trumpet.

After he did a longish version of Help Me, the Man finally spoke: “We gotta bring somebody out to help with this last one.” Out came Elvis Costello for Jackie Wilson Said and they really tore it up, taking turns singing, killer harmonies and Van ACTUALLY SMILED. He might even have been LAUGHING. And for a super treat Van picked up a guitar and kicked off Gloria with Elvis C. helping out singing the refrain. G-L-O-R-I-A.

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About Mark James Andrews


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Mark James Andrews is finding optimism in uncertainty. He has work forthcoming in Chiron Review, Third Wednesday and a couple other hot spots.
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