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Van Morrison on bringing 'Astral Weeks' shows to NYC

January 8, 2009 |  6:40 pm

Van Morrison said that his Hollywood Bowl shows in November would be the only time he would perform his classic 1968 album “Astral Weeks” live.

But that was before the two performances, which he says in an exclusive Times interview, "was more than I could have hoped for."

“The whole thing just worked,” he told The Times by e-mail. “One rehearsal -- that was not even that good -- and we hit the stage and the Magi or whoever just waved the wand and we flew.

“Even now listening to the live recording of the shows,” he wrote, “I hear something different and profound every time I replay something. It took a while for me to understand that we really did it, and made it into something even more different than it already was.... I do believe I transcended something doing this. Not sure what it is, but I still feel it.”

Consequently, he’s adding two more “Astral Weeks” shows in New York next month, Feb. 27 and 28 at Madison Square Garden. For the first half of those shows, Morrison said he’ll be delving further into the music he was writing leading up to the release of “Astral Weeks,” some of which appeared on the Bang Records album “Blowin’ My Mind.” That collection included his first solo hit, “Brown-Eyed Girl,” but was released without his input or approval. So expect major revamping of those songs.

“I am reworking set one to play 'TB Sheets,' 'Mystic Eyes' and 'Who Drove the Red Sports Car' and a couple of Them songs I have not done in decades, so it is once again fresh and new and interesting for me,” Morrison said. “So we will venture into the slipstream one more time.”

Read the complete story here.

--Randy Lewis

Photo credit: Nancy Pastor / For The Times