Van Morrison at the Brighton Dome, 3rd March 2012
We found ourselves sitting incredibly near the stage in the front row of the tiered circle of the Brighton Dome, and it wasn’t long before Van took to the stage and went into a much more understated and jazzy arrangement of ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. The brass section was in full swing, along with two sets of drums, including conga drums. Further revised arrangements ensued for a number of songs, including ‘Moondance’ where the strong bass line wasn’t so much at the fore and more emphasis was placed on the brass and vocals. Van also appeared to be playing a lot more saxophone himself throughout the course of the evening than in previous times I’ve seen him, and he really appeared to have a new energy and vigour towards his live set.
Highlights included when at one point Van sung the line “and I hear the brass band up the hill” and on realisation that there was no brass band playing, Van was good-natured and even had a laugh with the audience as he attempted to rectify and repeat this part of the song, with brass band now in tow. Later on we had a brief glimpse into Van’s private world when he played ‘Ballerina’ – a request from his 6-year old daughter. Notable points also included the extended crescendo of ‘In the Garden’ which ended in a standing ovation.
The breathtaking two hour set ended on a high with ‘Gloria’ and even for this well-known number, Van had still managed to add to the arrangement, and it was a much more rocking and explosive version than we were used to, and certainly let Van and his band go out with the bang that they deserved!