The show was under way around 7:45 pm and ended around 9:30 pm. It was the first trip to the MTS Centre for the couple I went with, but they had seen Van a couple of years ago in Minneapolis.
Someone introduced the Van Morrison band and they played two songs before the diminutive Van the Man was introduced. He jumped right in on the saxophone for “Wavelength,” from the 1978 album of the same name. Throughout the show, Van’s vocals seemed effortless and just fine, unlike the vocal performance I witnessed by the past-prime folk icon Gordon Lightfoot last year.
The band were competent without being overly flashy. The organ player would solo with one hand which drew a fair bit of applause. The pedal steel player received a lot of applause when she appeared on the two video screens due to her overall attractiveness. I really enjoyed the trumpet player, who was flanked by two female backing vocalists, both stunning beauties. Toward the end of the show, each player soloed which more or less signaled that the evening was coming to a close. The Free Press had warned people not to call out for the old classic hits since that may upset the Man, but we were treated to “Baby Please Don’t Go,” “Brown Eyed Girl” and the finale, “Gloria.”
Everything they played was worth it, no duds, no glaring mistakes, and no attitude from Van who seemed to be in a good mood. He appeals to blues, jazz, pop, country, and folk fans, but there wasn’t a whole lot of country or folk played, saved for some instrumentation. I was surprised by the amount of sax Van played. On some of the looser tunes, he did some vocal improvisations, which went over well.
Van has 35 albums and a career spanning something like 45 years, so naturally, he left us wanting more. With 200 songs in their repertoire, they could have played longer, but I felt I had my money’s worth.
I don’t recall seeing the upper most seats being used for most of the shows that I’ve taken in, but apparently, they were going for $50. It’s possible that this show outsold The Who. Like Bob Dylan, who is enjoying a new peak of popularity with his recent # 1 album, I hope people discover Van Morrison, who is also a true music legend. Van’s new album is a compilation of songs used in movies and I can vouch that it is terrific. On sale only at the show was a double CD for $20 from the Austin City Limits festival, which I have listened to non-stop for a few days. It’s excellent.
Set list from the Winnipeg Sun.
1) My Own Business (band only)
2) T-Bone Shuffle (band only)
4) All Work and No Play
6) Whinin’ Boy Moan/Symphony Sid
8) Little Village
10) Cleaning Windows
11) In the Midnight
12) Baby Please Don’t Go
13) Days Like This
15) St. James Infirmary
16) Goin’ Down Geneva/Brand New Cadillac
17) Help Me
18) Brown Eyed Girl
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I would rate this show at 5/5 stars. I don’t know what he could have done to make it better, save for play longer.Powered by Sidelines