Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Review: Van Morrison At Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza August 6th 2016

Van Morrison on Cypress Avenue was undoubtedly the Van gig of 2015 but Van's concert at Glastonbury Abbey must be a contender for the Van concert of 2016. This is what happened. When I woke up on Saturday morning I opened the curtains and the light came shining through. "Brilliant", I thought to myself. It was a hot sunny day and I kicked my heels for hours waiting for the afternoon. Finally I met the others in the pub and fifteen of us set off in a minibus from the Market Place in Westbury at 4.15. There was me, Sian, Colin, Sharon, Mark, Angela, Chris, Chrissie, Jacquie, Phil, Marty, Ann, Phil, Tommy the driver and his sister & her husband. I got Tommy to play the Into The Music album by Van and we passed the time chatting and drinking wine.

In next to no time we arrived outside Glastonbury Abbey where about 10.000 people were still pouring into The Abbey grounds. As soon as we set up camp Jacquie served up a delicious picnic while we listened to the Wells Cathedral School Big Band. I didn't avalot (geddit!) of food, I concentrated on the wine. After a while me and Sian decided to go for a walk and see if I could find any of the other Vanatics. It was great to bump into Howard and his family and Sue & Colin who I hadn't seen since Belfast last year. It was really nice to meet Simon & Sandra in the George & Pilgrim pub and we had a chat with them out the back of the pub for a while. Finally time was getting on and we returned to the Abbey.

Jamie Cullum was just finishing his set when we returned. I wasn't all that fussed about seeing him but a lot of the others later said he was really good. There is a Van connection with Jamie because when he was only 16 he was credited as an assistant engineer on Van's Days Like This album which must have been a valuable experience for him.

Finally I heard the familiar sound of Moondance  and said to Sian, " Come on, he's on, lets get down the front". Half way to the front though she didn't want to go any further saying it was too crowded, so that's where we stayed for the rest of the concert. I was pleased that Van had changed the intro to the concert though. Then Van introduced Clare Teal who actually lives in Glastonbury these days so she must have enjoyed singing to her neighbours.  They sang Way Young Lovers Do from the Astral Weeks album and Carrying A Torch which was one of the highlights of  the Duets album from last year. Clare departed and Van sang By His Grace  which was very spiritual and fitting for the mystical surroundings of the abbey. This theme continued with When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God? from the Avalon Sunset album and the lyrics of the song are perfect for this concert, ' The sun was setting over Avalon, the last time we stood in the west'.

The mood was much more up-beat then for Precious Time which went down a storm for those in the audience who just wanted to party and have a dance. Then Van said, "This might blow your mind", and introduced Joss Stone. Joss is local to the West Country as well. I think she lives in Devon somewhere. Some people I spoke to afterwards thought her performance was too over the top while others thought she was great. Anyway, They sang Wild Honey also from the Duets album and the classic Crazy Love. After Joss left the stage the dancing started again with Wild Night  and then the audience sang along with Have I Told You Lately in which Dana got the chance to show she is just as good a singer as Clare or Joss.

The medley of  Baby Please Don't Go/ Don't Start Crying Now  followed and Here Comes The Night. I thought Van's choice of songs for this gig was perfect with songs for the party people and also songs for those who preferred the less well known music. Haunts Of Ancient Peace was another brilliant choice of song for these surroundings which inspired Van to write some of his most spiritual music in the first place. Van played the keyboards on this song. Van even mentioned the church of Saint John which is actually in Glastonbury High Street which shows how familiar he is with this town.

Dana got the chance again to show how good she is when Van and herself sang Sometimes We Cry. This was followed by Whenever God Shines His Light  which isn't one of my favourites but this audience loved it. In The Afternoon/Ancient Highway/ Joe Turner Sings Flip Flop And Fly was a great medley of songs and included  Raincheck  which shows Van has no intentions of fading away anytime soon.
Think Twice Before You Go and Rock Me Baby were next and then Van played sax on I believe To My Soul which was great. Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria brought the proceedings to a close. When Van left the stage during Gloria the band played on as fireworks started erupting in the sky and we went back to base to collect our stuff. It must have been about midnight when we got back to Westbury after a brilliant night. It wasn't the greatest Van concert but for a great night out in nice weather with some great friends it was perfect. Thank you very much to Michael Eavis for organising such a great event.



3 comments:

Susan Osben said...

Great review Pat - I feel a volume 2 in the making .... It was lovely to see you again

Sofia Engelke said...

Pat, thank you for the review, I can't wait to see Van in Liverpool, I managed to get tickets for both concerts in November.

Best- Sofia Engelke

Kazooboy said...

Brilliant Pat, as usual. There always seems to be a comment about the weather in there somewhere. What about people like myself? I have to live on the Sunshine Coast in Australia where the weather has highs in the 20s in winter and there seems to be blue skies every day of the week. Talk about boring! How would you like to live in a place where the weather seems so predictable and the only thing to do is go swimming on any of our numerous white, sandy beaches with the warm water always present? I hope you're beginning to feel sorry for me.