The sign at the bar read, "No drinks served after show begins," which started promptly at 8 p.m., leaving me two people back from a cold one. I don't know if Morrison’s reputation for total control extends to drink availability, but it was certainly evident in his highly structured, over-orchestrated 90-minute performance.
Surrounded by a crack seven-piece jazz ensemble, including the Celtic soul of violinist Becky Ramsey, Morrison went through largely perfunctory versions of "Baby, Please Don't Go," "Here Comes the Night," and "Brown Eyed Girl," with each band member taking solos. Dressed in his signature Blues Brothers outfit — with some Belushi moves to boot — Morrison brought out the alto sax for the jazz-flavored highlights of the show "Moon Dance" and "Into the Mystic," before closing — precisely at 9:30 — with "Gloria."
Perhaps in the interest of self-preservation, Morrison doled out carefully measured doses of his still strong melodic voice, soulful sax, and vibrant mouth harp accents, yet the show lacked any improvising, spontaneity, or audience interaction, things that make a show personal, memorable.
- Concert: Van Morrison
- Date: September 6
- Venue: San Diego Civic Auditorium
- Seats: lower loge balcony at rail