Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
AD200910869775252AR
AD200910869775252AR

Van Morrison: Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl

In the end, when he slips into the mystic and is truly transcended and meets the queen of the slipstream, Van Morrison will be remembered for a few singles from the soundtrack of the early 1960s.

In the end, when he slips into the mystic and is truly transcended and meets the queen of the slipstream, Van Morrison will be remembered for a few singles from the soundtrack of the early 1960s, Gloria, Domino, Brown-Eyed Girl among them, and Astral Weeks, which produced no singles and enjoyed minimal popular success (it only went gold 33 years after its release, in 1968). Yet it remains on artists' and critics' Top 20 lists of all-time best rock albums. Astral Weeks had statement written all over it: it was Morrison's coming out as an artiste. Tennessee Williams once said that writers are constantly reworking the same material. Morrison certainly revisited, over the next 40 years, Astral Weeks' themes of across-the-tracks longing, nostalgia for the backstreets of Belfast, and spiritual yearning, yet he never matched the album's musicality again. So with his career winding down, he hired an orchestra, including the guitarist Jay Berliner from the original recording sessions, and played the album live at the storied Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Musically, it's a treat. Morrison assembled a crack, follow-the-leader, 13-piece band. But he drools through his part. The lyrics are incomprehensible unless you've got the sheet in front of you or a steel-drum memory. Thankfully, Astral Weeks was always kind of jazzy. The vocals can now be understood as a kind of scat. Still, it is worth hearing The Way Young Lovers Do again, no longer sung by a 23-year-old mohair-suited popster, but by a 63-year-old artist, remembering what it was like.

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National