Artist: Van Morrison
Album: ...It's Too Late To Stop Now... Volumes II, III, IV, & DVD
Label: Legacy Recordings
Release Date: 06/10/2016
Here’s a no-brainer. Three previously unreleased concerts from the defining, whirlwind ’73 Caledonia Soul Orchestra tour.
When …It’s Too Late To Stop Now… was originally released in the bleak Nixon winter of ’74, everyone—and I do mean everyone—tripped over themselves to hail the two-LP set as one of the greatest live renderings of the rock era. And yes dammit, we were right! But was it rock? Was it soul? Was it jazz? Was it some electrifying amalgam spearheaded by a crazed Celtic bard and played by cool cats in tight pants? The answer, both then and now, was all of the above. Van Morrison‘s gutsy gamble had not only paid in spades, but it set the bar so high very few have approached it, let alone crossed it. (For the record, a remastered set is due any day.)
We now have the complete concerts the original set was culled from, and it’s pretty amazing to play the old second-guess game of Why this version from the LA Troubadour and not that one from Santa Monica? Remixed and remastered by the indefatigable Guy Massey (the engineer behind The Beatles and Sir Paul remasters), we have a front row seat to the sustained powerhouse Morrison and company brought nightly to the stage. From the Troub, “Snow in San Anselmo” and “Being Green” are particularly wistful. A chugging “I’ve Been Working” and free floating “Sweet Thing” and “Into the Mystic” light up the Santa Monica gig. The entire set from The Rainbow in London is music fulfilling its promise. The DVD, filmed on the second night in London, presents the band as we’ve heard them along the way. I honestly prefer the audio over the video, but well, that’s just me.
– Mike Jurkovic