It’s Too Late to Stop Now…

Classic Van Morrison Performance on DVD

Jul. 11, 2016
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Some have called out Van Morrison’s tenure at the head of the Caledonia Soul Orchestra as one of his career highlights. A new four-disc collection from the band’s 1973 tour doesn’t belie the assertion. …It’s Too Late to Stop Now… Volumes II, III, IV & DVD captures some of the performances left off the 1974 live album by that name.

The DVD contains a concert filmed at London’s Rainbow Theatre an originally broadcast on BBC-TV. Morrison appeared without fanfare and occupied the center of a stage crowded with musicians. The Caledonia Soul Orchestra included a full string section and a contingent of horn players as well as the usual guitarist, bassist and drummer. Morrison’s commanding vocals was the focal point; he saw no need for the acrobatics of Bruce Springsteen (whose early songs he profoundly influenced) but stood almost still behind the mike stand, snapping fingers in time.

Morrison opened the Rainbow concert with a song from the beginning of his long journey, “Here Comes the Night.” The performance transcended the somewhat twee version he recorded a decade earlier with Them. With cellist and violins keeping pace and the saxophones kicking in, Morrison performed a slow, relaxed, incredible rendition of Muddy Waters’ “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Although his catalogue was already too large to be housed in a single concert, the Rainbow show surveyed the variety he had achieved, including the rollicking 1950s-derived R&B “Domino” and the cool jazz of “Moondance.” The musicianship was superb throughout.

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