Latest Record Project

Tim Burgess’s Tim’s Twitter Listening Party has demonstrated during the pandemic that it is possible to generate community, human exchange and excitement about music by combining Music and Live. It is one of the best things to come out of the Plague. 

Last night Van Morrison played, or rather broadcast/premiered, a live gig from Real World Studios , set up by Peter Gabriel in 1987 in Box, just outside Bath. Van has connections with Bath, having lived there and bought his own studio there, Wool Hall in Beckington. Well, the performance was of the highest quality. Very professional, excellent sound, simply but beautifully presented, played with the greatest of skill, sung with a voice almost unchanged at 75. In short, despite being online, despite months of tedious zooming, a great energy was transmitted over the wires and through the screen.

Any shortcomings in the experience? You had to make your own social on the side – not difficult in the age of What’s App. The moment of transcendence (for both Van and his audience, a genuinely spiritual  moment) which marks every great Van concert was only just about achieved, in ‘St Dominic’s Preview’. Van stuck to his new LP, the amusingly named ‘Latest Record Project, Volume 1’, his 42nd album, for the bulk of the performance, only bringing in a few older tunes, with a bluesy bent (his deepest love), towards the end. There have been some really wide of the mark reviews of the record – here is one that gets this provocative record and how it links back right to the outset of Van’s career when he recorded an album’s worth of nonsense songs to fulfil an exploitative record contract without giving the exploiter anything he could use. The only better such record is Marvin Gaye’s searingly honest ‘Hear My Dear’ about the disintegration of his marriage to label owner Berry Gordy. 

To help mark last night’s show for posterity here are a few stills:

A rare moment when the dark glasses come off
Dana Masters is a great foil to Van’s voice
Van got stuck in on sax, blue’s harp (his top instrument), electric and acoustic guitar
A really talented band – he’s a great curator of talent
He’s a respecter of age and experience, as well as youth
Real World looking just right

Set List:

  1. It’s Only a Song
  2. Deadbeat Saturday Night
  3. Love Should Come with a Warning
  4. Do the Right Thing *
  5. Up County Down
  6. Latest Record Project
  7. Blue Funk
  8. My Time after a While
  9. Diabolic Pressure
  10. Why are you on Facebook?
  11. Where have all the rebels gone?
  12. Baby Please Don’t Go / Pachman Farm / Got my Mojo Working
  13. Ain’t Gonna Moan No More
  14. Days Like This
  15. Broken Record
  16. Cleaning Windows / Be Bop A Lula
  17. St Dominic’s Preview *
  18. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? *
  19. Help Me
  20. Think twice before you go / Boom Boom
Have I Told You Lately..?
The band swinging
And a great band they are
A marvellous contraption
Van leading from the front

5 comments so far

  1. theluckhabit on

    The Guardian gave his new album one star although that seemed to reflect the message rather than the music.

    • ArkAngel on

      That’s the main “wide of the mark review” I was referring to and why I posted an alternative. 8/10 in Uncut also for example.

  2. ArkAngel on

    This record captures a particular, extraordinary time very well and from the perspective of a 75 year old who just isn’t going to take it lying down (which is refreshing).

    Also to understand Van you need to grasp that how he sings the words are as important as what the words say. Remember how sparse the words were back in the day:

    Baby, please don’t go
    Baby, please don’t go
    Baby, please don’t go down to New Orleans
    You know I love you so
    Baby, please don’t go

    Baby, your man done gone
    Well, your man done gone
    Well, your man done gone, left the county farm
    He had his shackles on
    Baby, please don’t go

  3. […] about Bob Dylan’s art and photos of him with a friend of mine after listening together to the Van gig at Real World and so today I am actually seeing it and looking […]


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