Van Morrison has a voice like a pillar of incense. It’s firm and fragrant, full of promises of things to come, then gray and soft, flaky and gone, leaving traces of itself in the wake. Half the fun of watching him perform is hearing the immense, beautiful sound that comes out of his body wane down into nothing — the other half is how long the power of it lingers even after the sound fades. During a two-night stint at The Wiltern in Los Angeles — following a recent string of shows in Las Vegas, where he’s now returned for another few nights — the 73-year-old legend made nearly two hours of performing look easy. And for him, maybe it still is.
Though 2019 might come decades after the commercial peak of this Irish legend’s career, a packed crowd of fervent fans found almost any excuse to give him a standing ovation at the first of two Los Angeles shows on Tuesday night. And even if the age of the audience made chairs more suitable for the venue, which holds just under 2,000 patrons, the crowd was crackling throughout the set, swaying, shouting, and singing along to Van The Man, who of course, belted out the hits — and some deep cuts — without considering a stool or much rest. In classic pinstripes and a fedora, he was every inch the entertainer, and unlike contemporaries such as Bob Dylan, his voice hasn’t lost an ounce of the richness it had four or five decades ago.