"Astral Weeks"

mhardy6647

Señor Member
#1
So -- probably anyone who cares about this album knows all of this already, but I heard a piece today on WBUR's Here and Now on the genesis (sort of) of the titular album of this thread. More to the point, the piece was mostly about the role that Massachusetts (of all places) seems to have played.

http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/03/29/van-morrison-astral-weeks

I will point out that there is a Mystic River just north of Boston. Just sayin', you know.

 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
#5
Out of curiosity, I've always heard the old Van was quite the asshole. Anyone know if there is any truth to this?
That's long been my impression as well. Said as much to some friends who've seen him perform many times live and they said, in essence: Expect no patter, and don't expect greatest hits -- but he is all in when he performs and his shows are excellent.

Now, this doesn't speak to his demeanor otherwise -- but my sense that he was as (shall we say) mercurial as Bobby Zimmerman live apparently wasn't accurate.

I think I'd pay money to see him wear that suit in the photo I posted above, though.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
#6
I got a copy of the above-mentioned book and have (finally) finished reading it.
It's a very interesting book. Not really so much about George Ivan Morrison nor even Astral Weeks; more about the ferment in and around Boston in 1968. Some weird, weird stuff.
Great read for a Boston transplant (i.e., me) :) The author was clearly charmed by Jonathan Richman, had a good experience with Peter Wolf (who is apparently a close, close friend of Morrison's), but writes much more darkly about,e.g., Jim Kweskin. Morrison definitely comes across as very gifted, creative, weird, and ultimately unpleasant.

There was clearly some wild, wild stuff goin' down in the Hub of the Universe in those far-away times.

I'd recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in Van Morrison, Astral Weeks, or the unsettled times immediately following the Summer of Love (and a different perspective than the usual SF/Dead/Airplane/Stanley/etc. one I'm used to).

 
#7
I've had several friends return from Van's performances angry, because, not only did he act like the asshole described, but he was perfunctory in his performance. Maybe that was just a decade-long slump of the 90's.

Also, my daughter rows the Mystic. One of the few remaining 'dirty water' rivers for Bostonians to love. Eew.
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
#8
I've had several friends return from Van's performances angry, because, not only did he act like the asshole described, but he was perfunctory in his performance. Maybe that was just a decade-long slump of the 90's.

Also, my daughter rows the Mystic. One of the few remaining 'dirty water' rivers for Bostonians to love. Eew.
Friends of ours from The Old Country (MA -- Marlborough, to be precise) saw him a little while ago (late summer, maybe??) in Boston... and said he was outstanding. And he closed the show with a mammoth, rousing version of... wait for it... Gloria.

So... go figure.


Love that dirty water...
 
#9
Yeah, I think he came around again after a really low point in the 80s-90s when he seemed to loathe his audience. Unfortunately, that stuff sticks.

Ohhh ohhh, Boston you're my home....
 

Celt

Peanut Head
#10
While I am a fan of "Moondance", "His Band and Street Choir" and of course, "Tupelo Honey"...Astral Weaks always eluded me. I never could get into it...at all...
 
#11
Yeah, I think he came around again after a really low point in the 80s-90s when he seemed to loathe his audience. Unfortunately, that stuff sticks.

Ohhh ohhh, Boston you're my home....
skip to about 6:20 in this video to get to the reason why I am posting it here. :)


Or, if you prefer, you can just watch this one instead.

 
#12
While I am a fan of "Moondance", "His Band and Street Choir" and of course, "Tupelo Honey"...Astral Weaks always eluded me. I never could get into it...at all...
That's been my reaction to it, as well.
A little while back, though, I heard Madame George on VPR's folk music program, All the Traditions and I thought it was really, really good. Set and Setting, perhaps, as Professor Leary used to say. No, none of that pharmacological tomfoolery goin' on... just in the right place at the right time, psychologically speaking, some nice Sunday evening when the weather was still warm & the days were still long.

And I freaking love the song Into the Mystic, which I heard for the first time (a snippet thereof) on WKRP in Cincinnati way back when... and then the next morning on WAYE (AM 860 kHz in Baltimore, daylight hours only) drivin' to school the next day. The DJ heard it, too, on WKRP and felt moved to play it. :)

WAYE, in its time, was a great little radio station.

Bizarrely, my father was broadcast engineer there for a time in the late 1950s, when it was a very different radio station indeed.
 
#13
While I am a fan of "Moondance", "His Band and Street Choir" and of course, "Tupelo Honey"...Astral Weaks always eluded me. I never could get into it...at all...
"Ballerina" and "Astral Weeks" are quite good from that album.

My all time favorite is "Summertime in England" from the Common One album.
"And the healing has begun" from Into the Music...love his stream of consciousness feel.
 

Celt

Peanut Head
#15
WAYE, in its time, was a great little radio station.
Bizarrely, my father was broadcast engineer there for a time in the late 1950s, when it was a very different radio station indeed.
Playing classical music for old fogies...the some hippy came in.....drug the arm across the record and into the mike screamed BOOGER! ? :p
 
#16
Playing classical music for old fogies...the some hippy came in.....drug the arm across the record and into the mike screamed BOOGER! ? :p
Pretty close, sometimes.
I remember that on their last weekend as a (fairly progressive) rock station, they played some stuff that the FCC would've preferred that they wouldn't: e.g., the Rolling Stones' Sweet Virginia. Pretty wild stuff to hear on AM radio in the late 1970s :p
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
#18
Yeah, I think he came around again after a really low point in the 80s-90s when he seemed to loathe his audience. Unfortunately, that stuff sticks.

Ohhh ohhh, Boston you're my home....
The first 'real' concert I ever went to was Bob Dylan in 1990 or 1991. Not his high point, and the laziness of his performance, awfulness of his voice then, and just all-round not seeming to care really soured me on him for a long time. And filled me with dread that all the performers and bands I liked would be terrible live. Thankfully, most have been great. The other awful let down, worse than Dylan, was Alex Chilton soon before his death. I've never seen an artist more dismissive of his audience or more lazy in his performance. It took him dying and several years after for me to enjoy Big Star again, and they'd been among my favorite bands.
 

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
#19
The first 'real' concert I ever went to was Bob Dylan in 1990 or 1991. Not his high point, and the laziness of his performance, awfulness of his voice then, and just all-round not seeming to care really soured me on him for a long time. And filled me with dread that all the performers and bands I liked would be terrible live. Thankfully, most have been great. The other awful let down, worse than Dylan, was Alex Chilton soon before his death. I've never seen an artist more dismissive of his audience or more lazy in his performance. It took him dying and several years after for me to enjoy Big Star again, and they'd been among my favorite bands.
I saw Dylan and the Dead in 1986 and Dylan was clearly mailing it in (although the Dead were quite good - possibly having to do with Jerry's recent brush with his own mortality).
 
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