Reinvention has been a constant of Van Morrison’s live performances for over 40 years, and he’s hit another golden streak. On the opening, light, jazzy Brown Eyed Girl, he felt his way, alternating between elegantly restrained vocals and sax. He moved to piano for a rare outing for Higher Than The World, and jousted playfully with the brass section on Fair Play. In expansive mood, with the adaptable, ever-changing It’s All In The Game, he took off into an improvisation that acts as a mission statement: No rehearsal/No Plan B/No safety net. With the flexible band providing transport, he carried the audience into the ether, an early, magical climax that the rest of the show never quite matched.
But there were lovely moments, notably the honeyed tenderness that framed his vocal on Crazy Love, and a dizzying Ballerina. A few seats away, actor Bill Nighy happily grooved alone, lost in Morrison’s mystical wonder. Who can blame him? An on-form Van show is still a singular experience.