“The way I was singing the songs was jazz”
– Van Morrison
I have changed my mind, I do that from time to time (all the time actually…). My favorite Van Morrison album has been Moondance for years, but now it is Astral Weeks. I’ve always loved Astral Weeks, it has been third on my list of his albums (the live album, It’s too late to stop now, had the second spot).
As of today it is officially on top, I get it now, I can truly see the greatness. I have played it to death these last weeks and it goes beyond pop/rock music, it is in a genre of it’s own. I know I’m ramblin’, but bear with me, I’m just an exited convert.
I went on YouTube to see if I could find some good versions of the songs, what I found was Morrisons’s fantastic live re-enactment of his masterpiece. I collected what I found, it is amazing!
On November 7 and 8, 2008, four decades after the release of the classic Astral Weeks, Van Morrison revisited the album live in its entirety at the Hollywood Bowl, and delivered a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring performance. Van did not simply re-create what he did 40 years ago in a NY studio, but instead took the songs to a dramatically higher contemporary level. The Jazz-rooted compositions of Astral Weeks are poetic stories of young love and the quest to find one’s place in life. They were, and remain, ideal source material for musical improvisation that gives way to the sense of wonder for which Morrison has always striven.
Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl: The Concert Film is the second official DVD by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was released May 19, 2009. It features the songs from his 1968 classic album, Astral Weeks. The live performances on the movie were filmed on two concerts by Van Morrison at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California with a fourteen member band.
Morrison has also released an album on CD and vinyl on February 24, 2009 entitled, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl with material from these two concerts.
UPDATE: Please read the comments from Andrew Robertson for a more comprehensive (and more correct) account of the two concerts.
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks / I Believe I’ve Transcended:
I play in a free-form, inspired style; I have no choice but to change it up according to the vibe. The new record was recorded live; what [you hear] is what was played in its raw form. There was no mixing, no tweaking, no post-production at all, and I like that raw and edgy sound in real time. It’s got a lot of boom to it! I really like listening to live records, it’s my new thing. Real and alive, the life is not taken out of it like a studio produced record can and very too often, does. My motto right now is post mixing kills.
– Van Morrison (to Paste Magazine)
Van Morrison – Beside You:
Van Morrison – Slim Slow Slider / I Start Breaking Down:
Van Morrison – Sweet Thing:
Van Morrison – The Way Young Lovers Do:
Van Morrison – Cyprus Avenue / You Came Walking Down:
Van Morrison – Ballerina / Move On Up:
Van Morrison – Madame George:
Van Morrison – Listen To The Lion / The Lion Speaks (not from the original Astral Weeks album):
Encore (not from the original Astral Weeks album):
Van Morrison – Common One:
Van Morrison – Gloria:
Here is a Van Morrison interview about the concert/live album (about 2 and a half-minute) and a collection of the 4 first songs of the show (in lesser quality than the clips above), “Astral Weeks” Live At The Hollywood Bowl- Brilliant Performances Of “Astral Weeks”, “Beside You”, “Slim Slow Slider”, and “Sweet Thing”:
Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube and Amazon, Paste Magazine