I had planned to come back and write about the concert on Wednesday night, but work and travel got in the way until Chey reminded me.
What can I say? This is a show that I’ll remember literally for the rest of my life. I had agonized whether it was fiscally responsible to spend $300 plus Ticketmaster tax on a show, but I can say that I would quite happily have paid 5-10 times that. In fact, it was probably good that I went on the second night, because if I had gone on Tuesday I would have been scalping tickets for Wednesday.
The Beacon has fantatsic sound and I had a great seat – about 15 rows back. The show started at about 8:10 and he went right into Northern Muse (Solid Ground). I didn’t write down the setlist, but it’s here if you are interested. Van doesn’t really interact with the audience, but he did seem to be having fun which I can’t really remember from other shows. The arrangements of all the songs – from the “classics” and “rarities” first set to the Astral Weeks set were different enough to be interesting and challenging, but still recognizable. Not like when Dylan played Duluth and it was hard to recognize anything except for the odd lyric.
It seemed like the audience was older and more suburban and it took a while to warm up (seriously, who pays this kind of money for tickets and then chats through the first set and shows pictures of their kids and vacations to each other on their iPhones? – I should have kicked your asses for disrespect). But the setting and the music won everyone over and by the time Van and the band played “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, followed by “Caravan” and “Comfortably Numb” it was like a religious experience.
I’m not eloquent enough to describe “Astral Weeks” in words. It’s the best album ever made, bar none, and to think that I’d get a chance to see Van play it live over 40 years later and to realize his voice and delivery are still as good ….. All I can say is get the CD and listen for yourself.
The show was filmed – I wonder if they’ll use the shots as infill for the Hollywood Bowl DVD or whether it will be released on its own.
As we left, I heard someone (another Brit) say “well, now I can die happy”. I’m not ready to die, but I am a lot happier having seen this show.
(picture lifted from the Beacon Theatre web site)