Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Van the Man is in da house!!

The second hotel..

In the last week, I have stayed in not one, but two hotels! This is a VERY unusual scenario and yet, one that I could so easily get used to. The first, was after a family wedding with all the kids, which was great fun but not terribly restful, as I've found that excitement levels and sleep tend to be inversely proportional! The second was a present for Loverboy's recent 40th birthday, and it included dinner, an 'intimate performance' ( is it just me or does that sound a bit rude?) by Van Morrison, and an overnight stay.  As luck would have it, it happened that I was both the giver and secondary recipient of this gift, but as I assured him several times, he could choose anyone he wanted to be his +1. Ahem.)
 Van the Man was playing, (and staying), in the hotel too and our room happened to overlook the suite he was performing in, so I was glued, glued I tell you, to the window all afternoon, but disappointingly, apart from a few hairy looking band types, there wasn't much to see. Later, after a champagne reception (Fabulous dahling!), and a four course meal, the concert began.
 His daughter Shana Morrison performed first, and later sang one with her dad. I honestly believe that it must be a mixed blessing to be the child of a big star like Van. Oh yes, you get all the networking and a good leg up in the industry, but you'd also be constantly compared and even if you were successful, which history shows us is pretty unlikely, you'd still question whether it was really down to you or your famous parent. I know I would anyway. She does have a good voice, (although it's a bit hard for my taste), writes most of her own music AND  looks great despite having Van's genes. (I mean, let's face it, he's no oil painting).  I'd googled her earlier in the day, and several websites described her as 'Van Morrison's middle aged daughter'! I mean, Dear God,  I know it's to distinguish her from his 4 and 5 year old children, but that's HARSH surely? (And very possibly a little close to the bone - I mean, she's only  in her early 40's!)

The man himself

So after she warmed up the crowd, on came the man himself, and I have to say, he put on a hell of a performance. You hear all kinds of stories about him- that he's odd, antisocial and even blatantly rude, so we really weren't sure what to expect from the show at all. Well, he played with his band for two solid hours, and despite being 67, his voice is as strong as ever. He's obviously very musical, effortlessly playing the saxophone and the harmonica as well.  That said, he really DOES seem to have no social graces whatsoever- he kept his back to the audience for much of the time, and despite it being a small venue AND his hometown, he didn't say one word to us the whole time, nada, zip, nothing. I mean he didn't even smile!! But the audience LOVED him regardless and by the end of the night, the whole place was rocking. He really is a legend - a grumpy dour one yes, but a legend nonetheless.
The next morning while we were having breakfast, there was a little frisson of excitement when he arrived and sat down at a table by the window that was strategically placed behind a pillar. The funny thing was- on stage, with his signature suit and fedora on, he was unquestionably Van The Man, but there at breakfast, he just looked like a short, plump, (ginger!), balding man - He even had a wee old man's flat cap! As he passed us later, he actually nodded to Loverboy and mumbled hello (I know!), and I REALLY wanted to get a picture of him to show you...but I just couldn't pluck up the courage. But, as he walked away I noticed he'd a big old chocolate stain on his cream chinos,  and I was all set to run up and tell him to go and steep them in cold water AT ONCE, but then I thought he mightn't take it too well, so I didn't. Here's hoping he wasn't papped later though!
So even though I didn't  meet Van as such, there were a few other slebs there that I DID meet, AND got the money shots to prove it. so stay tuned....


  1. I saw him donkey's years ago (that's such a weird expression when written down!) at a Trip to Tipp and he was a miserable old bastard then! Seriuosly, how hard can it be to just say hello??!!

  2. You were very badly star struck. Admit it and move on. (i can't blame you....sigh...)

  3. I knew it - Van is commenting anonomously :-)
    No seriously, he was great in concert, if not very charming. As Em said though, he did actually acknowledge me the next morning! Of the 320 people there I got the most 'Van-time'.

  4. Sorry - I'm finding it hard to get past the image of you rushing up to Van with a determined mien and ordering him to "Get those trousers off you right now!"
    Might get you into the Sunday World anyway.

  5. Jennifer Boyle13 May 2012 at 16:45

    The red heads always have a thing for Damian! Maybe it was the ginger-ginger barrier that kept you from charming the grumpy maestro!

    1. The man does not wish to be charmed, I'd say!

  6. Really enjoyed your account of seeing Van. I think he's a fantastic artist and I always find new things to like about his music whenever I play him.

  7. Oh thank you! I think you'd have loved his concert - no doubt about it!