By Dave Read (Sept. 3, 2022 concert) – On what the Irish call a “soft day,” Van Morrison drew a massive crowd to Tanglewood, where he and his band laid down as thoroughly satisfying a 90+/- minute set as we’ve heard, lately.
Morrison, a veritable one-man band himself, was accompanied by brass, guitars, bass, drums, percussion, keyboards and backing vocals. Each section and musician had opportunities in the limelight and each took full advantage. One highlight was You’re Driving Me Crazy, the title song from a recent album Morrison made with Joey DeFrancesca, who died last month. Master of the Hammond B3 organ, DeFrancesca performed in an “Organ Summit” with Jimmy McGriff at the 2002 Tanglewood Jazz Festival.
James Hunter played a brief opening set, then joined Van’s band for a few numbers, including a little harmonica duet with the boss, who also took a few turns on sax and sang Baby Please Don’t Go through his harp! The show ended with the double-whammy of Brown Eyed Girl and Gloria – it was a riot of a sing-and-sway-along. The headliner bid us thanks and farewell about midway through the double coda, and could’ve been on the MassPike by the time his band quit.
Shut up and sing!
Never has magnanimity been my strong suit, but I gave it a try when I decided to convert a stash of overripe tomatoes into salsa, instead of follow through on my notion to launch an heirloom critique of Van Morrison’s pandemic tantrum.
If it is preposterous for stars across the pop culture spectrum to presume their box office appeal renders their politics relevant, neither ought their craft be dismissed because their attractiveness is limited to their talent, and doesn’t include their reasoning skills.