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Van Morrison releasing & performing ‘Astral Weeks’ (2 shows at the Theater at New York’s Madison Square Garden)

Astral Weeks

Multi-award winning soul singer and musical legend Van Morrison is set to release “Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl,” an in-concert reworking of his historic 1968 gold-certified solo album. Recorded live over two nights at the Hollywood Bowl this past Nov. 7 and 8, the album marks the premiere release on Mr. Morrison’s new EMI-distributed label, Listen to the Lion Records. “Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl” arrives in stores Feb. 10, 2009. A double-vinyl edition with three bonus tracks (including a live version of “Gloria”) arrives in stores the same day.

The concerts marked the first time Mr. Morrison ever performed “Astral Weeks” in one complete concert set. Joining him was an orchestral string section and a band composed of world-class musicians, some of whom played with Van on the original “Astral Weeks” sessions 40 years ago. Tracks on the CD include: “Astral Weeks/I Believe I’ve Transcended,” “Beside You,” “Slim Slow Slider/ I Start Breaking Down,” “Sweet Thing,” “The Way Young Lovers Do,” “Cyprus Avenue / You Came Walking Down,” “Ballerina,” “Madame George” and two bonus tracks, “Listen to the Lion / The Lion Speaks” and “Common One.”

The Hollywood Bowl concerts gave me a welcome opportunity to perform these songs the way I originally intended them to be,” says Mr. Morrison, who amazingly held only one rehearsal prior to the concerts. “There are certain dynamics you can get in live recordings that you just cannot get in a studio recording. I love listening to live recordings. You get the whole thing right there, unabridged, raw and in the moment. There was a distinct alchemy happening on that stage in Hollywood. I felt it.”….

….Both Bowl shows were filmed in high-definition, and will later be available as a commercial DVD concert film. Due to overwhelming demand, Mr. Morrison will perform “Astral Weeks” again, in show at the Theater at New York’s Madison Square Garden, on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27 & 28. Accompanied by two different bands, Mr. Morrison will play two sets per show: one of “Astral Weeks” cover to cover, the other of rarely played Van Morrison classics. He may even pull out rare gems “TB Sheets,” “Mystic Eyes,” “Who Drove the Red Sports Car” and “Baby Please Don’t Go.”

Tickets for both NYC shows go on Am Ex presale this Sunday at 10AM.

Tickets go on Am Ex presale one week later for the two Paul Simon shows at Beacon Theatre.

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