Now, it might have been towards a band member or it could have been to an audience member who yelled a request. Either way, Van is no gentleman. But, regardless, after these tantrums, he would start a sweet melodic blues all while seeming to be untainted by his blatant frustration.
On March - 13 - 2008
I was looking forward to seeing Van Morrison even before I knew he was going to be at SXSW. My boss, Anthony, and I waited outside for almost two hours. We got in and we were literally in the second standing row. We thought we would be in for a great show.
I wanted him to play at least one of six songs during his performance:
1. “Into the Mystic”
3. “Wild Night”
5. “Brown Eyed Girl”
6. “Sweet Thing”
However, I was excited to hear all of his new stuff off of his newest album, Keep It Simple.
Now, I have heard of Morrison’s temper reputation. I have heard that he doesn’t buy into the whole image thing. But I always thought that he is like this because he cares so much about his craft. I can’t say that he does.
He really did not address the audience. He did not smile or seem to enjoy his music. Most of the concert was spent watching Morrison’s back with him either drinking water or directing his band. However, when he sang “There Stands The Glass”, I will say, that when he sang those songs with that signature Van sound, it was the most intimate experience I’ve had with hundreds of people in a long time.
Morrison rarely addressed the audience. He did not thank them for coming out or give any sort of anecdote about the song he was about to sing. He was blatantly frustrated with his band and his anger towards the members was so apparent that he would have stern facial expressions and finger pointings in between songs. Approaching the mic after one of these nonverbal communication outbursts, he yelled “Fuck off” which was probably only the second thing he said into the mic all evening.
About halfway through his concert, and another talk with his band, Morrison’s third comment to the audience was “I’m glad we’re getting somewhere because I have other things to do tonight.” There was no joking in his voice because that might be mistaken for him liking the audience. Van was completely serious in his statement.
Now, I LOVE watching passionate musicians perform. It’s great to see someone do what they love. Van Morrison is not one of these artists.
I’m glad I saw the concert. I’m glad I did not pass up the opportunity to see him in such a personal setting. I’m glad I can tell friends that I saw Van Morrison in concert. But next time I feel like listening to Van Morrison, it would be a more satisfying experience to pop in a greatest hits and light some candles and just call it a day.
And maybe then I can hear at least one of the songs that I had my heart set on.