Van Morrison - lead vocals, guitar, piano, saxophone; Bobby Tench - guitar, backing vocals; Herbie Armstrong - guitar; Mickey Feat - bass; Pete Bardens - keyboards; Peter Van Hooke - drums; Pee Wee Ellis - saxophones; Katie Kissoon - backing vocals; Anna Peacock - backing vocals
Van Morrison was enjoying a commercial renaissance with both this tour and the album he was promoting at the time. Always a magnetic live performer, Morrison delivered a stunning set in New York's intimate Bottom Line club - the venue that launched the careers of both Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, among countless others. Opening with an introduction by J. Geils Band's Peter Wolf and a jazzed up version of "Moondance," the show provided a healthy mix of material from his then-new Wavelength LP and all the best-loved Morrison classics.
The band was lava-hot and provided the perfect compliment to Morrison's free form vocal stylings. In the line-up was Pete Bardens (who also played keyboards in Morrison's 1960s British Invasion band, Them) and former Jeff Beck Group vocalist/guitarist Bobby Tench. Because he was backed by a great band, Morrison was able to successfully mix hot jazz, blazing blues, romantic and melodic ballads and gospel-fevered rock 'n' roll over the course of a single show. By the time he shakes it up on the closers - "Wild Night" and "Caravan"- the audience is completely in the palm of his hand.
"Crazy Love," "Tupelo Honey" and "Into The Mystic" faithfully bring the listener back to Morrison's classic early '70s Warner Brothers Records period, when he was the darling of the pop music press. "Kingdom Hall," "Checkin' It Out," and the aforementioned "Wavelength" were new songs at the time, but were just as well received, since it was clear to the audience that Morrison had just released one of his best albums in years. Still, it was Morrison's earliest solo hit, "Brown Eyed Girl," that first brought the crowd to its feet.
For that Bottom Line audience, and now for all of us, this show remains a classic.