Blu-ray Review: The Belfast Cowboy Rides Again With VAN MORRISON: IN CONCERT

4 out of 5 stars

Few musical artists have experienced the freedom which Van Morrison has enjoyed throughout his half-century career. As an artist and businessman, he’s played by his own rules since he sprung into the spotlight as part of Them in the 1960s. From his falling-out with Bert Berns and Bang Records to his now legendary loathing of the press, Morrison does whatever he wants to do – and he does it brilliantly.

Van Morrison: In Concert captures the Belfast Cowboy on fine form. This concert, recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre sees Morrison deliver wonderful jazzy renditions of classic fan favourites such as Cleaning Windows, Whenever God Shines His Light, Enlightenment, Carrying A Torch, Jackie Wilson Said, In The Garden and perennial wedding favourite Brown Eyed Girl.

Morrison keeps his band in check and they play a tight set, capturing new nuance to songs which they’ve played many times before. Morrison adds flourishes to the arrangements of these tracks which even keep well played songs like Brown Eyed Girl feeling fresh. The instrumentation is great – but Morrison’s vocals are something else. He might now be in his seventies, but his voice has lost none of its power.

The BBC concert is one thing, but this blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment comes with a fantastic special feature – Morrison playing a concert on Cyprus Avenue in 2015 to celebrate his 70th Birthday. This isn’t just a bonus feature, it’s a reason to buy the disc. Morrison once again works through a selection of well known tracks (including Movies In Focus favourite And The Healing Has Begun), but the atmosphere on display here is electric.

Two concerts for the price of one, Van Morrison: In Concert is stunning stuff and a must own for any Van Morrison fan.