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Van Morrison played the Theater @ MSG (pics, setlist) & Jimmy Fallon’s first episode (video) — Beacon tonight

photos by Eric M. Townsend

Van Morisson

“Still, surprise was not why a capacity crowd was gathered at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Friday night. Mr. Morrison was paying tribute to “Astral Weeks,” his best-regarded album but one that was overlooked when it was released in 1968; it never appeared on the Billboard album chart.

This return trip wasn’t quite a celebration, though. Nor was it a re-evaluation or much of a revision. Instead it often felt like obligation and, accordingly, Mr. Morrison treated the task perversely.

First came the delay of gratification. He began with an hourlong set consisting mostly of curios and cuts from other albums. Occasionally he was clarion clear: the soft-loud dynamics of “So Quiet in Here” were arresting, and “Who Drove the Red Sports Car” was an impassioned holler. When he strayed from his own songbook, he sounded invigorated, as if trying to renew his lineal claims: that Ray Charles cover, soon followed by “St. James Infirmary Blues,” with Mr. Morrison playing scraping, arch alto sax.” [NY Times]

Van Morrison played his first two of four “Astral Weeks” shows over the weekend. Last night he performed on the very first Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show which you can watch in its entiretly at NBC’s site. Tonight (3/3), he kicks off his first of two nights at the Beacon Theatre. The other two shows were at the Theater at MSG. Setlists and more pictures from those, and some Fallon videos, below…

Jimmy Fallon’s First Late Night Intro (w/ Conan & the Roots)

Van Morisson

Van Morisson

Van Morisson

Van Morisson

Van Morisson

Van Morisson

Van Morisson

Van Morisson

Van Morrison played two sensationsal sets at the Wamu Theater last night in the second of two nights at the 5600 person capacity MSG venue. Van put together a crowd pleasing song list for the first set that many fans have been waiting his whole career to hear. It could only be characterized as a ‘greatest hits’ set and which varied from the ones he played in November at the Hollywood Bowl. He was in great voice and played sax, guitar, and harp on top of leading a 14 piece band (2 cellos, 2 violins, gtr, bass, sax, trumpet, pedal steel, 3 backup singers, drums, and keyboards/flute) with hand gestures and occasional verbal commands. The Astral Weeks set was glorious. He changed the order of songs slightly by moving Slim Slow Slider towards the beginning and ending with Madame George which was indicative of his attitude toward the material. It’s his so he enhanced and accentuated what he felt like while bringing the seminal album to life. Here’s the full set: [1938 Media]

Northern Muse
Spirit
Moondance
Wild Night
Jackie Wilson Said
Baby Please Don’t Go
Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
And it Stoned Me
Comfortably Numb (Yes – Pink Floyd cover!)
Queen of the Slipstream
And the Healing has Begun
Domino
Brown Eyed Girl
Common One

intermission

Astral Weeks
Beside You
Slim Slow Slider
Sweet Thing
Cyprus Avenue
The Way Young Lovers Do
Ballerina
Madame George

encore:

Listen to the Lion
Gloria

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