A man whose name I didn't catch came on to introduce the show and talked briefly about the Teenage Cancer Trust. Roger Daltrey has organised these annual shows for 15 years and they have raised £20,000,000 in that time. Then there was a short but very moving film about the charities work. After that Roger Daltrey came on stage and introduced a group of young people who have benefited from the Teenage Cancer Trust and one of them spoke briefly to the audience. Roger Daltrey has gone up in my estimation since last night. He deserves a lot of praise for all his hard work. Finally Roger introduced Van and the show got under way.
The band of Paul Moran, Dave Keary, Paul Moore, Bobby Ruggeiro and Dana Masters began playing and then Van walked on stage to huge applause and proceeded to play Celtic Swing. This was followed by Higher Than The World. Dana looked really nice but I was slightly bugged that her contribution on backing vocals was so quiet. What is the point of backing singers if you can't hear them?. Then Van introduced his first guest of the evening which was Clare Teal. They sang one of my favourite songs from the new album Carrying A Torch which was fabulous and then a song from Astral Weeks The Way Young Lovers Do which I don't think I have heard Van perform live before because I didn't go to the Astral Weeks shows of 2008.
Then it was time for the enigma that is P.J.Proby to take the stage. He clearly relished every moment of his appearance. I bet P.J. thought his days of appearing on a stage like this were well and truly over so he loved to be back in the spotlight. They sang Van's song What Ever Happened To P.J.Proby and then a song that P.J. had written in reply which I think was called P.J.Proby Calling Van Morrison, It was ok and fun and Van played some nifty saxophone on it. I really enjoyed their next duet, Sam Cooke's Bring It On Home To Me. P.J then left the stage after milking the applause. I had actually quite enjoyed his contribution. Precious Time followed with Paul Moran again showing how great he is on the trumpet.
Van's old friend Georgie Fame looking resplendent in a white suit then came on-stage and seated himself at the keyboards for Get On With The Show but as on the Duets album I think Georgie's huge talents are not really utilised on this song. The cha cha cha ending is quite humorous though. Georgie was much more to the fore on The New Symphony Sid and Centrepiece which evolved into Corrina,Corrina. I should mention Dave Keary on guitar who was outstanding all night. George departed and then it was time for a really soulful Days Like This and finally Dana made herself noticed with her vocal contribution. Van's sax playing was great as well. One of the absolute highlights of the evening for me was when Mick Hucknell arrived on stage and performed a stunning Streets Of Arklow with Van. I must say that after about 3 decades of not liking Mick Hucknell due to stupid gingerist prejudice I am now a fan. He is a great soul singer.Van played some great electric guitar on this song. I filmed it and you can see the result below.
After Mick left the stage it was Moondance a song I am usually bored with hearing too often but I enjoyed it tonight and Dana's contribution was really nice.This was followed by Magic Time which was ok because Van & Dave were tip top on sax and guitar. Following that Paul started the familiar intro to Whenever God Shines his Light but on the spur of the moment Van cancelled it and they did Brown Eyed Girl instead. This shows the genius of Van. He makes it up as he goes along.The audience loved this and sang along with it.
The pinnacle of the evening for me was was next with Into The Mystic. It was magical . The only distraction was silly people in the audience who whooped and whistled at certain points. Van ad-libbed on the lyrics and started scatting words like "Don't worry child, I'll carry you, till we get the healing done". I found that very poignant indeed especially in the context of it being a charity event for teenage cancer. Well done Van. He disappeared into the wings to tumultuous applause.The house lights came on and I thought that was the end. I left my seat and walked to the front to try and get a photo of the band but suddenly Van reappeared and I sat down on the floor to listen to a wonderful rendition of In The Garden. I was spellbound. There is no finer musician on the planet than Van Morrison.
That was finally the end of a wonderful concert. I met up with my friends for a quick pint in the pub then back to the Indian Restaurant at my hotel for a nice feed and then to bed and fell asleep into restful slumbers. Thank you very much the Teenage Cancer Trust, Roger Daltrey, Van Morrison, my friends and the Montana Hotel, Kensington for a most enjoyable visit to London. A big hand for the band !