Thursday, January 31, 2008


I was reading the Scene last night and found a full page ad saying that Van Morrison will be at the Ryman Auditorium on March 13 and tickets go on sale Saturday morning. Hammy got on-line and discovered the pre-sale is this morning with tickets costing $200 each. As much as I'd LOVE to see Van again, and as much as it pains me, I can't justify $450+ for a show.

We saw Van on my birthday 2 years ago. It was his first Ryman show and the first he'd ever played in Nashville. It was wonderful. First of all, the Ryman is the best place to see music: The acoustics are great, it's small and intimate, there's not a bad seat in the house (except behind the support posts) and it's the "mother church" of country music-everybody who's ever been anybody in country music has played there. There's a sense of reverance for the history that most artists have for the place.
I can't say whether Van felt that way about playing there; if he did, he didn't show it. He doesn't show much of anything, when he performs. His performances are absolutely timed and perfectly choreographed; each note and gesture is rehersed. Oddly, rather than making his music mechanical or stiff, it seems to allow all the soul inside to be secure enough to flow. We saw him at Memphis in May almost 13 years ago (a terrible time. It was hot and crowed and Zed was an infant and Declan was 4 year old. We only stayed for the first few songs). The next day, we happened to catch him on Leno or Letterman or one of those shows. Whatever song he did was movement-for-movement exactly the same as the night before. But it didn't seem "mailed in" the way I would expect. His music transcends a moment or a venue or a particular performance. It's like he inhabits the music and can pull us into being there with him.
Ok, I'm sounding goofy about this. I'm disappointed that I won't be seeing him again. But I've seen him once at the Ryman and it's enough to carry with me. Spending almost $500 to see him again seems greedy, especially when we're working so hard to pay off dental bills and house improvement loans and need to have our roof repaired.

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