Van Morrison - lead vocals, guitar, piano, saxophone; Herbie Armstrong - guitar, vocals; John Platania - guitar; Bobby Tench - guitar, backing vocals; David Hayes - bass; Peter Van Hooks - drums; Pete Bardens - keyboards; Mark Isham - trumpet; Tony Marcus - violin, keyboards; Pee Wee Ellis - saxophones; Katie Kissoon - backing vocals
If you listen to this show back-to-back with Van Morrison's 1978 Bottom Line show, you will have as close to a greatest hits live performance recording as one can expect from the acclaimed Irish singer/songwriter. Recorded in the fall of 1979, when Morrison was approaching the tail end of his most creatively fertile time as a musician, this show exudes the pure joy found in so much of his music.
Opening with "Kingdom Hall," and moving through a set that includes "Bright Side Of The Road," "You Make Me Feel So Free," "Warm Love," "Moondance" and "Tupelo Honey," Morrison is in top form with one of the best touring bands he has ever assembled. The group included former James Brown horn player Pee Wee Ellis, ex-David Bowie guitarist Herbie Armstrong and jazz icon Mark Isham on trumpet. Singer Katie Kissoon, another veteran from the '78 band, provides the perfect vocal compliment to Morrison's distinctive voice.
Morrison, who rarely performs material previous to his Astral Weeks album, offers a refreshing update on the classic "Here Comes The Night," written and recorded by his old pop band, Them, in 1965. This time around, the song has a bouncy jazz feel, and bears little resemblance to the version released during the British Invasion. Other highlights include upbeat versions of "Wild Night" and his 1968 solo hit "Brown Eyed Girl." The show comes to a head when they perform "I've Been Working," a soul song exemplifying the stellar musicianship of his band.
In more recent years, Morrison has been on a western-swing-meets-country-blues-kick, so many of these songs sound radically different. But for 51 minutes you can travel back in time to experience a classic Van Morrison concert when his records were setting the pace for so many others. Enjoy the ride.