Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast (Remastered) Van Morrison
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- 1Introduction: Into the Mystic (Instrumental) / Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (Live)01:06
- 2Dweller on the Threshold (Live)03:38
- 3It's All in the Game / You Know What They're Writing About (Live)07:09
- 4She Gives Me Religion (Live)04:36
- 5Haunts of Ancient Peace (Live)06:25
- 6Full Force Gale (Live)02:24
- 7Beautiful Vision (Live)03:34
- 8Vanlose Stairway (Live)05:29
- 9Rave on, John Donne / Rave on, Pt. 2 (Live)09:09
- 10Northern Musie (Solid Ground) (Live)03:45
- 11Cleaning Windows (Live)04:51
Info for Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast (Remastered)
"Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast" is a live album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison, released in 1984. It was recorded from four live shows in March 1983 at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, Northern Ireland (Morrison's birthplace). The album was composed of songs from Morrison's last four recordings. It is the second live album Morrison released, following 10 years after It's Too Late to Stop Now.
"This is as curious a live album as exists in Van Morrison's voluminous catalog. It's a homecoming record in many ways, since Morrison went back home to live in Ireland shortly after this was released, after many years in the United States. Recorded in 1983 and released on Mercury in 1984, this is, in reality, a solid presentation of his "spiritual Celtic soul" period that began with 1979's Into the Music and would continue into the early '90s. Only the very beginning of the introduction contains anything from his much-celebrated early-'70s period. "Into the Mystic" is used as a calling card for what is to come in this recording, because it lasts just over 45 seconds -- the rest of that intro is the title track of 1983's Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, an album he was touring to support (it was his final offering for Warner Bros.). The Grand Opera House set is compiled form two nights of performances. The band here is stellar and includes Pee Wee Ellis on saxophones, Mark Isham on trumpet and synthesizers, and drummers Peter Van Hooke and Tom Donlinger, just to mention a few. Five of these cuts -- "She Gives Me Religion," "Beautiful Vision," "Vanlose Stairway," "Northern Muse," and set closer "Cleaning Windows" -- come from the vastly underrated Beautiful Vision album, and the rest from Common One, Into the Music, and Inarticulate Speech of the Heart. The performance is perfect. And if there's a problem with this set, that's it. Many bootlegs from the period exist, and there is a certain nearly off-the-rails feeling in them that Morrison -- as the perfectionist producer he is -- couldn't resist getting rid of here. It's a bit maddening, really, simply because while this flows seamlessly from top to bottom just as Morrison's studio albums do, there is none of the spontaneity of his earlier gigs or even his later recordings with Georgie Fame, Lonnie Donegan, the Chieftains, or Linda Lewis. The only places one hears Morrison as a soul shouter here is on "Vanlose Stairway," where he lets out a scream and plays off the trio of female backing vocalists, and on the final tracks where the bandmembers loosen up and allow the dirt to get under their fingernails a bit -- especially on "Vanlose Stairway" and "Cleaning Windows." Would that there were more. Still, for those who can't get enough of Morrison from the period, this will be a welcome addition to the shelf." (Thom Jurek, AMG)
Van Morrison, vocals, guitar, electric piano, alto saxophone
Pee Wee Ellis, tenor saxophone, flute, backing vocals
Mark Isham, synthesizer, trumpet
John Allair, organ
David Hayes, bass
Peter Van Hooke, drums
Tom Donlinger, drums
Chris Michie, guitar
Katie Kissoon, backing vocals
Bianca Thornton, backing vocals
Carol Kenyon, backing vocals
One of music’s true originals Van Morrison’s unique and inspirational musical legacy is rooted in postwar Belfast.
Born in 1945 Van heard his Shipyard worker father’s collection of blues, country and gospel early in life.
Feeding off musical greats such as Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, Mahalia Jackson and Leadbelly he was a travelling musician at 13 and singing, playing guitar and sax, in several bands, before forming Them in 1964.
Making their name at Belfast’s Maritime Club Them soon established Van as a major force in the British R&B scene. Morrison’s matchless vocal and songwriting talents produced instant classics such as the much covered ‘Gloria’ and ‘Here Comes The Night’.
Those talents found full astonishing range in Van’s solo career.
After working with Them’s New York producer Bert Berns on beautiful Top 40 pop hit ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ (1967), Morrison moved to another realm.
Recorded over 3 days with legendary jazz musicians Astral Weeks (1968) is a still singular album combining street poetry, jazz improvisation, Celtic invocation and Afro Celtic Blues wailing.
Morrison would weave these and myriad other influences into the albums that followed in quick succession.
Reflecting on new life in America on the joyous Sinatra soul of Moondance (1970) and the country inflected Tupelo Honey (1971) he summoned old spiritual and ancestral life in the epic St Dominic’s Preview (1972) closer track Listen To The Lion.
Double live album Too Late To Stop Now (1973) highlighted Morrison’s superlative performing and bandleader skills. Mapping out a richly varied musical course throughout the 70s he shone among an all-star cast including Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters on The Band’s Last Waltz.
Indeed, borne of his Irish Showband instincts, the magic of the live performance has been a consistent feature of Morrison’s career.
Settling back into life in the UK in 1980 he released Common One an album centring on Summertime In England an extraordinary invocation of literary, sensual and spiritual pleasure the song would often become a thrilling improvised centrepiece to his live shows.
Steering his own course throughout the 80s on albums such as No Guru, No Method, No Teacher he claimed Celtic roots with The Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat. Teaming with Georgie Fame brought new impetus to his live show while Avalon Sunset saw him back in the album and single charts by the decades end.
Van Morrison continued to advance on his status as a game- changing artist through the 90s and into the 21st century.
Awards and accolades - a Brit, an OBE, an Ivor Novello, 6 Grammys, honourary doctorates from Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, entry into The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the French Ordres Des Artes Et Des Lettres - attested to the international reach of Van’s musical art.
Yet there was never any suggestion that Morrison, one of the most prolific recording artists and hardest working live performers of his era, would ever rest on his laurels.
Collaborations with, among others, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, Lonnie Donegan, Mose Allison and Tom Jones confirmed the breadth of his musical reach.
Morrison’s visionary songwriting and mastery of many genres continued to shine on albums celebrating and re-exploring his blues, jazz, skiffle and country roots.
The influence of the musical journey that began back in Post War Belfast stretches across the generations, and Morrison’s questing hunger insures that the journey itself continues.
Constantly reshaping his musical history in live performance, Morrison reclaimed Astral Weeks on 2009’s album Live At The Hollywood Bowl.
The subtitle of Van Morrison's latest album, Born to Sing: No Plan B, indicates the power that music still holds for this living legend. "No Plan B means this is not a rehearsal," says Morrison. "That’s the main thing—it’s not a hobby, it’s real, happening now, in real time."
With one of the most revered catalogues in music history and his unparalleled talents as composer, singer and performer Morrison’s past achievements loom large. But, as throughout his extraordinary career, how that past informs his future achievements and still stirs excitement and keen anticipation.
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