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Van Morrison & Tom Jones
Marlay Park, Dublin
Colm O Hare, 12 Sep 2012
Van Morrison doesn’t often do crowd-pleasing, festival-friendly sets. Or at least he didn’t. But tonight, it seems, he’s made an exception. Opening with a trio of familiar songs (‘Brown Eyed Girl’ and Them classics ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ and ‘Here Comes The Night’), he set the marker for an evening of firm favourites (being Van of course, he didn’t utter a single word to the audience – some things never change!)
As always, he was surrounded by a terrific ensemble including a meaty brass section (which he joined sporadically on saxophone). Van himself was in fine voice, scatting and improvising in his own inimitable manner when not conducting the band with his right hand. Highlights included an even jazzier than usual ‘Moondance’ and a sing-along ‘Days Like This’.
Sitting at the piano for a soulful rendition of arguably his most popular recent track ‘Have I Told You Lately (That I Love You)’ he also gave us the mystical ‘In The Garden’ while more hits came in the shape of ‘Jackie Wilson Said’, his duet with Cliff Richard ‘Whenever God Shines His Light’ and ‘Enlightenment’. As with most of his recent shows he finished with a storming ‘Gloria’, another Them classic.
Earlier, Tom Jones had the crowds in the palm of his very large hands with a set that included ’60s hits ‘It’s Not Unusual’, ‘What’s New Pussycat?’ and ‘Delilah’, along with more recent (and, for the most part, vastly inferior) fare such as ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’ and ‘Mama Told Me Not To Come’.
There was also room for material from his recent roots album, Spirit In The Room, including his majestic reading of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Tower Of Song’ and Odetta’s ‘Hit Or Miss’. He wrapped up things with his take on Prince’s ‘Kiss’. Earlier there were sets from Gemma Hayes and Don Baker and band, with special guest Sinéad O’Connor. The latter stuck firmly to the blues on the night, the highlight being a version of Muddy Waters’ ‘Hoochie Coochie Man.’