Van Morrison

Every Night About This Time

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The two-CD Van Morrison bootleg album Every Night About This Time contains two different late-'90s concerts. The first 85 minutes are taken up by Morrison's show in Montreux on July 19, 1997, the remaining 54 minutes by his appearance at the Eighth Harvest Time Rhythm & Blues Festival in Gortakeegan, Monaghan Town, Ireland, on September 3, 1998. The two concerts differ in terms of content, performance, and sound quality. The most remarkable aspect of the Montreux material is how good it sounds. On a scale of 1-10, with ten being sound quality comparable to a legitimate release, you'd have to give it a nine, and that's only because of an occasional quibble about mixing. For the most part, this simply sounds like a regular Van Morrison live album, clearly drawn directly from the stage microphones and mixing desk. Morrison was promoting his recent album, The Healing Game, and he performs seven of its ten songs in a set largely devoted to recent songs. There are several from the 1980s, and 1971's "Tupelo Honey," in a new arrangement, is heard in a medley, but this is mostly the Van Morrison of the 1990s, not that his overall style has done much more than evolve over the years. It's a good show for the singer, but not great. On the other hand, performance is the special aspect of the R&B festival show; Morrison is clearly engaged, using the festival focus to devote his set entirely to bluesy standards like "Fever," "Georgia on My Mind," and "I Put a Spell on You." Unfortunately, sound quality dips to about a five. This is an audience tape, and the audience seems to be well-lubricated and having at least as good a time as the singer; they're just as loud.