Newport, Gwent, Wales
October 6, 1993
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Lineage: Trade Audio CDR’s -> EAC (secure/offset correct) -> WAV -> TLH – FLAC Level 8
Too Long In Exile
Ball And Chain
I’ve Been Working
I’ll Take Care Of You
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
See Me Through / Soldier Of Fortune
Crazy Love (lead vocal by Brian Kennedy)
That’s Where It’s At (duet with Brian Kennedy)
Into The Mystic (duet with Brian Kennedy)
Moondance / My Funny Valentine
Lonely Avenue / 4 O’Clock In The Morning / Blues In The Night
Be Bop A Lula
Mean Woman Blues / Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On Vanlose Stairway / Trans Euro Train
Have I Told You Lately (lead vocal by Brian Kennedy)
Into The Mystic (duet with Brian Kennedy)
Celtic Ray (duet with Brian Kennedy)
A Town Called Paradise
Tupelo Honey (duet with Brian Kennedy)
You Send Me (lead vocal by Brian Kennedy)
Not Suitable For Children
All songs on Disc one and two, plus tracks 1-2 on Disc three were recorded at the Kings Hotel in Newport on October 6, 1993. Disc three tracks 3-11 recorded at The Dome in Brighton on June 19, 1993.
Liner notes: (sic! throughout)
The concert captured in its entirety on this release took place at the Kings Hotel in Newport, (a town in South Wales) on 6th October 1993. Van played at this hotel several times over the few years prior to this concert, as the hotel was owned by a close friend, and Van apparently relished the intimate nature of the venue, performing in a small ballroom to no more than a couple of hundred people. This year however would prove to be the final performance at this venue, and a listen to this recording illuminates the reason why perhaps Van declined future bookings.
This show marked one of the first performances of Brian Kennedy with Van, and indeed most of the nucleus of the soon to be unveiled Van Morrison Rhythm and Blues Revue was in place, and the show opened brightly enough with a couple of songs of the then current Too Long In Exile album, as well as some standout versions of some of the covers destined to be come stalwarts of the set lists over the next couple of years such as “I’ve Been Working” and “I’ll Take Care of You”. The first Brian Kennedy interlude is more than pleasant, highlighted by a superb duet with Van on Sam Cooke’s “That’s Where It’s At”, and the next few songs are the musical high point of the show, with a great “Lonely Avenue” and an excellent tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis birthday, with a “Mean Woman Blues” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” medley that would have made the Killer proud. It is after this point however that things start to get a little strange, as the reportedly copious amounts of alcohol Van had been consuming during the evening began to have a negative effect on the performance. Who ever it was who had the tenacity to shout a request for “Brown Eyed Girl” must have been dumb struck by the reaction this innocent shout received, as the show turned strictly X certificate, and Van left the audience with no illusion to his opinion on chart success! Though things settled down a little for a while after this outburst, partially due to Brian Kennedy taking center stage once more, but during “A Town Called Paradise” Van staggers on to his soap box once more, and the air turns blue once again. This show actually meanders to a conclusion a couple of songs later, with Brian Kennedy taking most of the vocal duties, as it is pretty clear that Van has had his fill (literally!)
The strangeness of the Newport performance, with both its amazing highs and astonishing lows, is contrasted by the extra tracks on disc three, recorded less than three months before, which shows a professional and polished performance, including more rarely performed songs from Too Long In Exile and the much maligned (by Van at least!!) “Brown Eyed Girl”. Something obviously happened in those few months, as Newport was the first wobbly(!) step on a very different path, that would see other peoples songs become a focal point of his live show, and the straining to show his musical purity, free from the control of both the music industry and the weight of his own audiences expectations. In the words of the man himself; FUCK THE ASSHOLES!!!!!!
Review by Niall Connors:
What a strange, strange show — it is unique in the true meaning of the word. I have some 25 Van boots, and nothing even approaches the bizarre nature of the King’s Hotel show. The above liner notes well encapsulate what transpires during the show, as an increasingly drunk Van gives way to some of his inner demons, notably, his belief — declared vociferously throughout “Vanlose Stairway” — that he is “a mother-fucking soul-singer”. The highlight of the show — for me — is “See Me Through/Soldier of Fortune” during which Van explains not only what he thinks a soldier of fortune is, but also that “Soldier” is one of 200 or so unrecorded/unreleased songs he has written. (I have always wondered from where this staple concert song emanated.)
The sound is not DAT quality, and the show was likely recorded on a standard cassette recorder — although given the venue and some crowd noise, it almost seems better than if this had been a purer recording. (For those of you who remember the Velvet Underground, the quality reminds me of the quasi-boot Live at Max’s Kansas City) At 35 quid, this three-disc boot is pricey, but totally worth it!