Now granted, the formula of Set I > 30 minute break > Set II is probably more of a Jamband standard than something that should be considered usual procedure. Van Morrison isn’t going to come out and play a Phish-like marathon or wail into the wee hours like Umphrey’s McGee might. But he certainly could play over two hours the way Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder or the Police did on their tours last year. Phil Lesh is nearly four years older than Morrison and can play all night. So clearly, it’s not an age thing. It’s an attitude thing. And it seems to cause problems for Morrison away from the stage too.
Morrison, who was reportedly kicked out of an Austin, Texas hotel for a run-in with staff during his SXSW appearance last week, could have given his New York City fans, who showed up on time and lined up in around the block on a cold winter’s night, a chance to enter and get seated before stepping on stage to start the show.
But he didn’t. He got up there when he felt like it and got off stage when he felt like it and paid no mind to the fans. He couldn’t even be bothered with an encore despite the fact that his next scheduled concert date is March 21. This wasn’t a guy giving his road crew a break with a 15-minute head start. This was a guy so impressed with his own accomplishments, he forget how he reached them in the first place. When the house lights came on and the stunned crowd began slipping on warm coats and heading out into the frigid night, a woman behind me said out loud to no one in particular, “No encore? Something must be wrong.” She hit the nail right on the head.