And Now Even More, Van Mo

It’s Too Late to Stop Now II, III, IV and DVD

Van Morrison

Legacy, 2016

Released in 1974, It’s Too Late to Stop Now is frequently cited as one of the best live albums ever recorded, and rightfully so. Now the expanded version is out and gives a more complete picture of an artist in his prime. Each van-mo-livediscs/evening’s set list varies nicely.

No longer satisfied with a the constraints of a standard rock set up, his backing band, the amazing and surprisingly nimble Caledonia Soul Orchestra is an eleven piece wonder to behold. A five-piece string ensemble and two piece horn section with trumpet and saxes in addition to the usual players, afforded the Irish singer/songwriter an impressive backdrop with which to present his songs. With a cool ease, they manuever their way R&B, country, folk, soul, jazz and rock, following their band leaders constantly shifting moods.

“Gloria,” “Moondance,” Domino,” and pretty much every song you’d want to hear from this time frame are rolled out with a dynamic attentiveness, where the material feels new and still exciting to attack with daring abandon. And perhaps to show some levity, he busts out a the Kermit the Frog standard, “Being Green” with renewed vigor, and impressive accompanyment. This is no thrown together bit of whimsy, but carefully orchestrated.

The original album contained 18 songs recorded at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and the Rainbow Theatre in London, the same venues from which the new set culls 45 additional songs.

4 discs here. 3 CD’s and a DVD with 9 songs filmed at the Rainbow Theater absolutely transport you to 1974. Only you will know if your bell bottoms still fit.