No more heartache as Van makes magic and moondances
VAN Morrison slipped into town last night after a year of tragedy and heartbreak to deliver a concert that brought the audience at Dublin's O2 to a hushed silence.
In his trademark dark shades and black hat and his gold saxophone dangling from his neck he had every toe in the house tapping to the upbeat jazz of Precious Time Is Slipping Away.
Developer Harry Crosbie, Larry Goodman and RTE star Dave Fanning were all in the packed-out house to bear witness as the most mysterious man in show business mesmerised his fans.
RTE star Marty Whelan gushed about his love of Van’s music before the gig, saying: “He touches my heart and soul like no other artist.”
Halfway through the performance he was joined by his beautiful daughter, American singer-songwriter Shana Morrison — who has just spent what a source described as “one of the hardest Christmases Van has ever had to go through” comforting the star. I Can't Stop Loving You brought yelps of excitement from the captivated crowd who lapped up every note the reclusive singer had to offer.
“Some people say you can make it on your own, some people say you can make it if you try,” he sang passionately on Real Gone before moving straight into another ballad. Who he was thinking about when he sang those sad words is anyone's guess. But the backdrop of his heartache certainly added to the mood.
“It's great to see so many come out tonight and it shows that people want great entertainment like Van Morrison in a recession,” O2 owner Harry Crosbie said. “We hope to have him at the O2 again very soon.” The Bard of Belfast played the opening phrases of Moondance on his sax and then led the band — and the audience — on a musical dance for the next 10 minutes with lots of cool-jazz rhapsodising (at one point even drifting into My Funny Valentine). “Can I just have one more moondance with you, my love?” he sang.
Crazy Love had the whole house singing along, which could only have delighted the notoriously moody singer — who was now in full swing. The musician also made a strict request that no media whatsoever be allowed to attend the gig.
As a source explained: “He has been the subject of intense scrutiny over the last few months, given the circumstances, so he is extra sensitive at the moment.”
The singer was rocked by a double tragedy in the past 12 months when he lost both his partner Gigi Lee, to throat cancer, and his youngest son, George Ivan III, who slipped into a diabetic coma aged two. He has been spending most of his time at the Culloden Hotel in Belfast, where he is said to have been recording live for an upcoming album. He is due to play yet another intimate concert before the end of the month at his hometown venue.
“This will be for the Lyric Arts Centre again,” the source confirmed. “He has a great deal of respect for what they do and wants to help them out as much as he can.”
Throughout the show, the star kept repeating a simple mantra: “No plan B, no safety net.” As he sang the line over and over, the lyrics resonated as a sign of the future the singer is now staring into.