I still hadn’t recovered from Glastonbury when I set out for Cornwall on Saturday morning. I think I’m getting too old for this rock n roll lifestyle. I’m glad I made the effort though because it turned out brilliantly. I caught the 9.56 train from Westbury and changed trains at Exeter St David’s. After Exeter the journey gets really nice because the train runs right along beside the sea and I took some photos from the train window. Soon we were in Cornwall. Then I made my first mistake. I thought my hotel was in St Austell but when I arrived I discovered it was in a place called Par which was the previous stop. I was one over par!. It cost me £13.00 in a taxi to get back to Par. Never mind, after I threw my stuff in the room I got another taxi to the Eden Project which was only about three miles away.
Soon I arrived at the gates of Eden. The Eden Project is a place that I have wanted to visit ever since it was opened in 2001. It is built in an old clay mine and is these huge domes that contain thousands of plants and trees from various climates all over the world. It also has an arena which holds the annual Eden Sessions every summer. I got there too early as usual and was a bit bored to begin with. There was a girl singer on called Kezia and then someone called Nathan Ball and his band. I quite miss the old days when Simon from Wavelength used to organise pre-show get togethers for the fans. I would much rather have been chatting to other fans about Van. I just sat on the grass watching and drinking wine and getting fed up and wishing I hadn’t come so early. Then I spotted Miquel all the way from sunny Spain with his wife Elena and their two daughters. It was great to see them and I cheered up immediately. They went off for a look around and I watched someone called Ruarri Joseph who was quite good but I thought it would be a shame to come all this way without looking inside so I went in the tropical rain forest dome.
It’s not often you get the chance to walk through the tropical rain forest at a Van Morrison gig. It must have been about 40 degrees centigrade in there and very humid. I was sweating by the time I emerged from the jungle 30 minutes later. You could go right up into the canopy of the trees and walk across rope bridges. There were even tropical birds in there. The most interesting plant I saw was called Titan Arum. It comes from the forests of Sumatra and is the worlds biggest flowering plant. It is also the worlds smelliest plant. Just before it is due to flower it emits this powerful aroma which is like rotting meat. This is to attract flies and insects for pollination. Boy did it stink. I wouldn’t want one of those in my garden I can tell you. The neighbours would complain. It was quite fascinating though.
I needed another drink after that and sat where I knew Jamie & Susan would arrive. They had come all the way from Texas to see Van in Cornwall and Adele at Wembley the next night but they told me the sad news that Adele had cancelled which must have been very disappointing. They were determined to enjoy the Van show though.
It was time for Paul Brady next who is someone I had never seen previously but I had always liked his music. I didn’t write down his setlist but the most memorable songs for me were Lakes Of Pontchartrain, The Island, which is my favourite of all his songs and a song called Paradise Is Here which he said was inspired by Krishnamurti who as you know was a big influence on Van as well. I was to have a chance encounter with Paul Brady later in the evening but I’ll tell you about that when I get to it.
Then it was time for Van. Despite the large crowd I found it quite easy to wheedle my way right to the front on the barrier. It was Van’s usual band of Dave Keary, Paul Moore, Paul Moran, Mez Clough, Dana Masters & Sumudu. Near the end of the show when I moved position though I did notice somebody else playing keyboards when Paul was on piano but I don’t know who he was. I also noticed that the whole event was being filmed. The show began with Too Late followed by the Vegas version of Have I Told You Lately and I thought to myself, “Here we go, another greatest hits outdoor show”. I did notice that Sumudu was also playing a little keyboard during this song. The show didn’t turn out as I expected though because Van announced that he was bringing out a new album in September and the show was being filmed for youtube so that is something to look forward to. The first song that I had never heard Van perform before was called I Can Tell You Don’t Love Me No More which I believe is a Bo Diddley song. Van played Maracas on this song. Then a song which I think might be called Transformation which I thought was great with Dave Keary on guitar capturing the emotion of the song perfectly. On first listen I think this song is destined to be a favourite with the fans although it does remind me of other great Van songs. Then it was straight into the bluesy Roll With The Punches which also was very impressive indeed. It makes me think that Van’s new album is going to be very Blues oriented. Then it was the Bo Diddley song Ride On Josephine with Dave again displaying what a great guitar player he is. It reminded me a bit of Not Fade Away by The Stones.
It was a real treat to hear those four songs. Next, we were back to more familiar Van territory with the medley of Baby Please Don’t Go/ Parchman Farm/ Don’t Start Crying Now/ Gimme Some Lovin’. The crowd pleaser of Here Comes The Night was followed by Real Real Gone with great backing vocals by Dana & Sumudu. The crowd also loved Days Like This.
Then it was Moondance and I needed to go for a wee so I gave up my place on the barrier to make a quick march to the loo. On the way who should I meet heading for his car but Paul Brady. I said hello and told him how much I enjoyed his performance and asked him if I could have a photo. He graciously said ok and I gave my camera to a nearby security man and asked him to take a photo. Sadly though I had used up all the memory in my camera filming Van. That was disappointing but never mind, it was a pleasure to meet Paul Brady.
When I got back to the arena Van sang a duet with Dana Sometimes We Cry. Then it was the great Why Must I Always Explain which the new song Transformation sounds a bit like to me. The great songs continued with I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You with Dana & Sumudu sounding perfect. Things got even better with In The Afternoon/ Ancient Highway/ Sitting Pretty. Crowd pleasing hits of Wild Night/ Carrying A Torch/ Jackie Wilson Said/ and Whenever God Shines His Light followed in quick succession before the inevitable Brown Eyed Girl and a protracted Gloria.
I met up with Miquel & Elena & the children for the long walk out of the Eden Project. They kindly gave me a lift back to Par which I was grateful for because I would never have got a taxi with that crowd and was in no condition to walk three miles. Back at the hotel I had one last drink. The bar was full of people who had been at the concert. Then I went to bed and fell fast asleep after a wonderful day at the Eden Project and I’m very glad that I went.