IT’S been two decades since I last saw Van Morrison and nothing much has changed.
He was fabulous then and he’s fabulous now, the vocals still as smooth as melted chocolate and the music as all enveloping as ever.
Of course the Northern Irishman is famous for being something of a curmudgeon but there was little sign of that on Tuesday night at The Philharmonic Hall and no wonder.
His new release is Born To Sing: No Plan B and has courted wide acclaim.
Morrison has never been one to simply trot out the old hits so we were treated to a selection of new songs from the album including the gorgeous Open The Door (To Your Heart), the bluesy Born to Sing and the angry blast against economic folly If In Money We Trust.
Backed by a stunning eight piece band including a superb brass section each member had their moment in the sun and at times the set felt like an intimate jazz evening in a supper club.
But at the centre of it all was the godfather of Celtic soul himself.
Whether it was the up-tempo Precious Time or Brown Eyed Girl, the rocky Baby, Please Don’t Go or the languidly stunning In The Garden Morrison was always the one to watch, now playing the harmonica, now on the sax, his vocals elastically soaring and whispering in turn.
At the age of 67 the six-time Grammy Award winner remains one of the most distinctive voices in music.
No Plan B? He’s never needed one.