Editorial: Van Morrison Owes Us More

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Now granted, the formula of Set I > 30 minute break > Set II is probably more of a Jamband standard than something that should be considered usual procedure. Van Morrison isn’t going to come out and play a Phish-like marathon or wail into the wee hours like Umphrey’s McGee might. But he certainly could play over two hours the way Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder or the Police did on their tours last year. Phil Lesh is nearly four years older than Morrison and can play all night. So clearly, it’s not an age thing. It’s an attitude thing. And it seems to cause problems for Morrison away from the stage too.

Morrison, who was reportedly kicked out of an Austin, Texas hotel for a run-in with staff during his SXSW appearance last week, could have given his New York City fans, who showed up on time and lined up in around the block on a cold winter’s night, a chance to enter and get seated before stepping on stage to start the show.

But he didn’t. He got up there when he felt like it and got off stage when he felt like it and paid no mind to the fans. He couldn’t even be bothered with an encore despite the fact that his next scheduled concert date is March 21. This wasn’t a guy giving his road crew a break with a 15-minute head start. This was a guy so impressed with his own accomplishments, he forget how he reached them in the first place. When the house lights came on and the stunned crowd began slipping on warm coats and heading out into the frigid night, a woman behind me said out loud to no one in particular, “No encore? Something must be wrong.” She hit the nail right on the head.

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20 thoughts on “Editorial: Van Morrison Owes Us More

  1. B Easy Reply

    No purple jumpsuit?

  2. JC Reply

    I know exactly what you mean. My friend and I saw him in Grand Prairie a couple of years ago; we were stuck in traffic at the scheduled time. Plus, what shows ever start on time? Anyway, we missed one or two songs. Also, he didn’t play long (maybe a little over an hour), and when the lights came up, pretty much everyone was confused. As we were walking to the parking lot, you could hear people complaining in the lobby or wondering why it was so short.

  3. TJ Reply

    Right on! I saw Van a few years ago and he could not have seemed less interested in the fans. He is a great musician but that isn’t the only thing that counts.

  4. Jimmy the Nick Reply

    I saw him at JazzFest a number of years ago and it was one of the least inspired musical performances I’ve ever seen — Van couldn’t have seemed less interested in his performance. He seemed bored, the crowd was bored and I, as someone who is at most a casual Van-fan, headed to the beer tent.

  5. August Zellner Reply

    I hate artists like that. We pay their salaries and they don’t even play an encore. Van has some great albums but he shouldn’t act that way.

  6. siwook Reply

    Luke – he’s a miva (male diva)

    at least you got a good show. Most people I know who have seen him a few times say his show is either really good or really bad. Imagine if he left the stage @ 9 after a shitty performance..

  7. Hadley66 Reply

    I wish this surprised me. I’ve seen him a couple of times. One show was great, one show was awful, both shows were short.

  8. 4 cereal? Reply

    I had the exact same experience/thought process/show at the United Center in Chicago about 2 years ago.

    When he finally got around to playing Moondance, he let his back up singers take half of the verses.


  9. neeko Reply

    I dont know about his onstage demeanor/energy, and i think 7:30 start time is only acceptable in maybe Branson, but one thing i will say… an ENCORE should never be expected. I dont like that it is. Encores should only happy when the band has earned it. If Van the man played an unenergetic show, looked bored, and didnt connect with the audience, why in the world would you want him to come bakc out for more of that?

    encore has come to mean something entirely different. I think an encore is something the band rewards the audience with and the audience rewards the band with wanting it. it shouldnt be the norm.. unless youre Ween.

  10. neeko Reply

    meanth “happen” not “happy”… but encores should also be “happy”… no sense in being sullen

  11. August Zellner Reply

    An encore isn’t the crowd standing and screaming for more these days. It’s a part of every concert. I can’t think of a concert I’ve been at where there wasn’t at least one encore song. It’s the artist showing appreciation for the crowd, not the other way around.

  12. Lucas Reply

    Try seeing Jeff Beck on a bad night.

  13. Oliver Reply

    Encore is standard nowadays IMO.

  14. KneeDeep Reply

    I agree with Oliver. Encores are standard these days. To not play one is slapping the crowd in the face…after taking their money.

  15. Andrew N. Reply

    I saw him once at the Beacon Theater in New York, a show with John Lee Hooker that I’m still dreaming about. Then I saw him at the Garden State Arts Center and I actually left early….

  16. zaptor Reply

    “it shouldnt be the norm.. unless youre Ween.”


  17. Nate Reply

    7:30 start time for a headliner is awfully early. Most larger venue shows that I go to these days do start pretty promptly when the ticket says it will, but it is usually with an opening band so unless you’re really fired up to see them you know you’ve got another hour or so to play with.

  18. neeko Reply

    I understand its the norm, guys. Im just saying i wish it werent. It wouldnt be a *slap in the face* if a band played for 2-3 hours. in this case with van, it seems like it was though…

  19. Pingback: Van Morrison Owes Us More « The geek and the gimp |

  20. rickdog Reply

    saw him in a Seattle coffee house in 1968, he seemed awkward and not very socially apt.

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