Van Morrison performing his In Concert Tour at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Monday 28th October 2019

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

If it was a smile that you were after or even a few words of acknowledgement, then the packed crowd at the Royal Concert Hall were bitterly disappointed last night as the legendary Sir Van Morrison made shrift work of delivering a set that lasted an hour and thirty minutes.

Famously grumpy, Morrison is not above walking off stage in the middle of a performance if he doesn’t feel that the crowd are with him.  But this crowd were immediately on their feet to show their appreciation for the 74 year old who has recorded forty one studio albums, the last being, Three Chords And The Truth which hit the shops just last week.

So with no time for pleasantries, the Belfast Cowboy adopted his familiar pose at the front of the stage, standing bolt upright, and with his very tight six piece band, he began the proceedings with the title track of his latest offering.

Following up with a soaring St Dominic’s Preview and a bluesy rock and roll version of Baby Please Don’t Go, he began to rattle through a set list which was open to change as the evening progressed. With the band huddled together on stage so that they could easily see Morrison’s hand gestures and glances that indicated sometimes whimsical changes to the music, as he conducted them through the set list changes, they delivered Bo Diddley’s Ride On Josephine and Lester Young’s Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid.

Having over the course of his career dipped his toes into several genres of music including, folk, pop, soul and blues, he brilliantly performed the likes of Blue Money, Foreign Window and Ballerina.  Not forgetting that he also plays the saxophone, guitar and harmonica, Morrison is the consummate performer.

A brilliant version of Ancient Highway was mashed up with Joe Turner Sings, Don’t You Make Me High and Shake Rattle And Roll which had the crowd on their feet.  He even did his version of Whenever God Shines A Light, the hit he sang with Cliff Richard which nobody last night saw coming.

Obviously his re-arranged version of Have I Told You Lately went down a storm, but if the crowd were waiting for either Moondance or Brown Eyed Girl, they may have been slightly disappointed as inevitably when you have the catalogue of music that Morrison has, then not all of the fans favourites can make the set list.

Finishing his main set with his version of The Party’s Over, he was back on for a storming Gloria, a song written during his time with the mid sixties band, Them.  And as he shuffled off stage still singing and leaving his band to blast away for a further fifteen minutes, Morrison must have liked this crowd because on this occasion he finished his set.