Review : Van Morrison - Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl (2009)
EwThis re-creation of Van Morrison's 1968 classic, recorded in November, finds Van's voice deeper and throatier, but no less prone to glossolalia and playful stuttering. The strings, flute, etc., are all present on Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl, albeit mixed more subtly into the acoustic-jam arrangements than on the original LP. All this deceptively timeless fluidity induces a wonderful mystic fog that might make you forget whether you're honoring a 40th, 5th, or 100th anniversary. A–...full text
RollingstonesWhen Van Morrison sings, "I believe I've transcended," at the end of "Astral Weeks" — the first song in this full 2008 recital of his historic album of the same name — it is in a warm, grateful growl remarkably like that of the younger man who made the 1968 studio LP. Astral Weeks was Morrison's first step toward transcendence as a singer-songwriter, a radical turn away from the AM-radio success of his 1967 hit "Brown Eyed Girl." The album is still like nothing else in rock, a quiet union of breathtaking opposites: Morrison's soul-trance reflections on his early life in Belfast and the tension of the chamber-jazz arrangements.
The ruminative force of Morrison's singing on Weeks was not that far from his early hard-blues attack in the band Them. In the live Astral Weeks, performed with a big band that reproduces the gentle touch of the '68 session group, Morrison brings out those blues more emphatically — his vocal-and-harp break in "Sweet Thing" is like a hot wind of Little Walter. Morrison has also re-sequenced the album for concert effect, ending with the extended hypnosis of "Madame George." The 1968 LP closes with the weightless "Slim Slow Slider" — just acoustic bass and splashes of tone around Morrison's heated whisper. Here the song slips into a John Lee Hooker-like groove, and while I prefer the original, the change is an uplifting surprise. Transcendence is always a work in progress; the eight songs on Astral Weeks are still up to the task....full text
Albumvote'Astral Weeks Live At the Hollywood' is a special live recording of Van Morrison's classic 'Astral weeks' album which was first released back in 1968. Morrison performed the entire album at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California in November 2008 with an extra 3 tracks 'Listen to the Lion - The Lion Speaks', 'Common One' and 'Gloria' which appear on different versions of the release....full text
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