Van Morrison Doesn’t Knock Socks Off, however Unlaces Sneakers 

Like Ray Charles and an exceedingly small handful of others, Van Morrison may sing phrases straight from a cellphone guide and nonetheless pack an irresistible emotional — to not point out musical — immediacy. However final Saturday evening, Van — quick for Ivan — Morrison, spared us any readings from the Full Works of Ma Bell and riffed as a substitute on the proto-rock-n-roll skiffle bands from which he emerged — and the American music that impressed them. 

His first quantity was Hank Snow’s basic “I’m Transferring On,” which is smart given the identify of his newest album (2023) is Transferring On Skiffle. Morrison, one of many British Isles’ many rock stars to have been knighted by Queen Elizabeth, describes himself as simply one other “blue-eyed soul” singer, however he clearly  immersed himself within the crying-and-dying vaults of early American nation. He and his nine-piece band — tight, twangy, and attractive — actually delivered the products on Hank Williams’ timeless anthem of romantic wretchedness, “Chilly, Chilly Coronary heart.” Who knew the Belfast Cowboy may sport rhinestone so convincingly? The stratospheric pedal metal riffs little doubt left scorch marks on the stage.

I’d have mentioned the a capella introduction to “Fearful Man Blues” — a gradual, spare, and genuinely harrowing blues lament — was the emotional spotlight, apart from the incessant yakking and yammering of the individuals sitting instantly behind us. (Notice to Bowl patrons: don’t speak in the course of the present; alcohol doesn’t make you humorous; and if individuals should ask you to be quiet, that’s signal you’re being obnoxious.) 

With greater than 40 albums below his belt, Morrison has established himself as a lyricist of the primary order, an completed and easy arranger, and as a stylist, he’s in a category by himself. He may milk the strains, “Alrightallrightallrightallright,” excess of Mathew McConaughey may ever hope to. 

As a performer, nevertheless, Morrison’s popularity is combined. “Mercurial” is the phrase delicately used, however there was zero proof of any such mercury Saturday evening. Whereas by no means a Chatty Cathy with the gang — there have been no effortlessly sensible and eccentric asides between songs — Morrison launched his exceptionally agile band a pair occasions at the very least, put them by means of their well-orchestrated gyrations, and reminded the world he can play a genuinely imply saxophone in his personal proper. However these on the lookout for a style of “Tupelo Honey,” slightly “Moondance,” or the plain get-up-and-dance blast delivered  by “Brown Eyed Lady” wanted to look elsewhere. The closest Van Morrison to delivering these items was “Into the Mystic,” which he managed to sneak up on the viewers with. 

In any other case, he drew extra from his Enlightenment interval. If I had any disappointment, it was over the final lack of musical abandon. The band was undeniably tight, however there’s such a factor as being too tight. Solely on the grand finale — “Gloria” — his 1964 exaltation of teenage lust and his first large hit, did he and the band actually lower unfastened and go slightly bit loopy. The disgrace of all of it was they clearly had it in them. Regardless of their advancing age  — or maybe due to it — members of the viewers clearly did too, becoming a member of in loudly and lovingly on the call-and-response of “G-L-O-R-I-A!”