Bootleg Nation: Van Morrison - Los Angeles, CA (11/26/78)

Van Morrison slugs it out with a high energy, hard rocking show from the late 70s.
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van morrison liveVan Morrison
Los Angeles, California
November 26 1978

Source: KWEST FM Board Broadcast
Lineage: KWEST FM Board Broadcast > ? > Flac Level 6 > MP3@320kps

Download the MP3:  Part I, Part II

Brown Eyed Girl
And It Stoned Me
Checkin' It Out
Hungry For Your Love
Sweet Thing
Crazy Love [lead vocals by Katie Kissoon]
Kingdom Hall
Moonshine Whiskey
Purple Heather
Help Me
Tupelo Honey, Band Intros
Cyprus Avenue, All Your Revelation, It's Too Late To Stop Now   

For ages, Van Morrison had the Web Sheriff on the payroll confounding bootlegers of all stripes. Folks like Van and others hire the Sheriff to rid the online world of illegal copies of their art. I don't know if it was Van himself, or his management that did the hiring and I likewise don't know if the initial intent was to take down unofficially released recordings as well, but that is exactly what happened. The Sheriff is a bit of a maniac and for years it was very difficult to find copies of Van Morrison concerts online. I once even had some cover art for Van bootlegs taken down by the Sheriff for no apparent reason.

A few weeks ago the Sheriff got fired by Van (though I am sad to say he has since been hired by Bob Dylan) and bootlegs are now bountiful. I've since downloaded/traded for dozens of Morrison bootlegs and nearly everyday am getting more. Like a lot of artists who've been performing for decades the quality of the boots range from pristine to piss poor,but they are almost always interesting. 

As a performer, like the sound quality of his bootlegs, Morrison runs a wide range - from incredible genius, to moody and unpredictable. He's been known to perform quick, abbreviated sets only to storm off the stage angered at some thing or another.  Other times he'll refuse to play his older hits that his fans are hungry to hear.  Then again he can also stage an incredibly brilliant long sets that put him on par with the world's greatest performers.

The notes that came with this show note that Morrison's performances on this tour (in support of Wavelength, an album I must admit I do not own, nor have ever heard) were short and musically dodgy, but I'm happy to report this night's show is excellent.  Its also balls out rock and roll.  I've been listening to a lot of Morrison shows from 2010 of late and there he's very much the elder statesmen - laid back and jazzy.  Here he's fist-pumping, smack into your neighbor dancing, hard rocking every step of the way.  The music is punctuated by heavy organ beats and hard rock guitar chords.  This is all thriller-no-filler rock and roll.  Morrison and band never let up for the entire hour and a half they are on the stage.

Highlights include a killer "Wavelength," now never performed, featuring dynamite siren like keyboards and some great vocals by Van and company. "Sweet Thing" is likewise a scorcher that find Mickey Feat on bass and Bob Tench on guitar tearing the place a part. "Help Me" pulls out some of Morrison's old blues roots and gets down and dirty with them.

If there is a negative to be found here its that the slower songs get ripped apart by this killer band  being too delicate to take it.  "Crazy Love" especially suffers in this set. Its a beautiful, majestic song and while Katie Kissoon does an admirable job singing lead the band just isn't able to soften it enough to sell it. That's a small point though, as most of the songs are suited to the high energy setting and the whole things jams right through, bringing nearly an hour and a half of heart pounding, hip-shaking joy.

The show was recorded for the radio and while there is some question as to whether this recording comes before or after the compression needed to get it to the airwaves, the sound quality is excellent. 

This is not the greatest Van Morrison bootleg I've ever heard, but it sounds great and the performance is intense.  Its a great document showing Van the Man at the middle point of his long career.