Van Morrison - Moondance at Eden

July 1st 2017
Eden Sessions, The Eden Project. Cornwall


Location and scenery fits in well with the music

Eden Session July 1st **** Set in the stunning setting of the Eden Project in Cornwall, The Eden Sessions are a series of performances by some of the World’s top music artists. Since 2002 there have been many World class artists to play the stage set between the two biomes which The Times called "The eighth wonder of the World".

A full day of outstanding music between the biomes was headlined by the legendary Sir Van Morrison. After being knighted in February 2016, the Belfast born legend released his thirty sixth studio album 'Keep me Singing' in September which peaked at number for in the UK charts.

The day was kicked off by Kezia **** a Cornwall based solo artist with a powerful voice interlaced with extraordinary melodies on her guitar. Kezia has perfected her own sound which incorporates both Folk and Country tones blended with her vocals. Being a local girl, it was obvious that the crowd had come down early to see her, which is great especially on a bigger stage. She seemed a little reserved at first but quickly settled into her set, and performed well, much to the audience's delight.

Second on the bill was Nathan Ball ***1/2  a Singer / Songwriter from London whose music escapes classification by normal genres. He lists his music as alternative and there were Blues, Rock, Pop, Folk and Country flavours throughout the set performed by Nathan and his band. Nathan has a cool and mellow voice yet powerful when needed. It may be a little different compared to the rest of the bill, but with some excellent musicianship on display, they are an act perfect for an Eden crowd.

Newquay based Ruarri Joseph, now performing under the banner William the Conqueror ****1/2  was the third act to take to the Eden stage. Together with bassist and vocalist Naomi Holmes, the pair hit the ground running with their Indie Americana Bluesy Folk set to the Cornish audience. With guitar work as technical as classical pieces, Ruarri seemed at one with his guitar whilst the deep rumbling bass gave the sound a depth that is missing with most acoustic acts. Their upcoming album 'Proud disturber of the Peace' is due out on August 4th 2017.

The lead support for the evening was Paul Brady (****), the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is one of Ireland’s most highly regarded and successful artists. Paul is yet another of today's artists whose music cannot be defined to a single genre but keeps a core of traditional Irish folk within his tunes. Many solo artists seem to be lost on such a huge stage, but after 40 years of live performances, Paul seems to fill it with ease.

One particular track early on in the set was 'Smile' which Paul performed with a smile a mile wide on his face was incredibly infectious. Looking around the crowd and seeing every single person smiling, including some of the Eden staff, was an unusual sight to behold, yet strangely comforting. If Paul Brady was was headlining tonight's session, he could have easily entertained the crowd all evening.

The time had come for the living legend that is Sir Van Morrison ***** to take to the stage. One of the most revered and decorated musicians of recent times, he was knighted for his musical achievements and his services to tourism and charitable causes in Northern Ireland, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has won six Grammys, a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution and the Ivor Novello Award for lifetime Achievement.

The band complete with brass section opened proceedings with 'Too Late', the penultimate track from his 2016 album. 'Van the Man' entered from stage right to rapturous applause. The opener was quickly followed by a swing version of 'Have I told you Lately' in which Van Morrison played the saxophone solo.

The finishing touches to the performance were the gold coloured microphone stands with a specific stand for his sax. The crowd lapped up every single note from the stage in almost absolute silence, making sure every single second of the performance was appreciated. That said, when applauding, they were possibly the loudest crowd of this years sessions.

The night continued with the band performing the rhythm and blues that Van Morrison's fourty year old back catalogue is famous for. New tracks 'Roll with the Punches' and 'Ride on Josephine' fell into place alongside classics such as 'Days like This' and 'Moondance' with ease. The classics were what the crowd obviously wanted to hear and with undeniable amount of classic Van Morrison tracks on offer, the crowd would be going home happy.

The set was bought to a close by the tracks 'Whenever God Shines His Light', the 1967 mega hit 'Brown eyed Girl' and the final opus the 'Them' cover 'Gloria'. A truly outstanding day of music topped off by the sublime performance by a true British musical legend.

Review and Photo's by Pete Webb

Check Out! a live performance Video for 'Brown eyed Girl' by Van Morrison Below...