This has been a bit of a vintage year for gigs. I have been to fifteen: all of them were good, and many of them were excellent. In recognition of the overall high quality I have decided to divide the much coveted Goggins Gold Star into two categories - one for large venues and for small.
Without further ado, here are the awards:
Winner: James McMurtry and Jon Dee Graham at the Luminaire
Runners up: Otis Gibbs at the Sheep Walk; Gurf Morlix at the North Star
Winner: Van Morrison's Astral Weeks in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
Runners up: Steve Earle at the Barbican; Fairport Convention at the Barbican
One thing that both winners have in common is that both tours (although not the actual gigs I was at) have made it on to CD - as "Live in Europe" and "Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl" respectively. Both are well worth getting hold of if you haven't already, as are all of their other live albums for that matter. Here is a track from "Live in Europe" for you.
"Freeway View (Live 2009)" - James McMurtry
I am too scared of Van to post anything from the Astral Weeks live album here, so instead here are a couple of tracks from an excellent bootleg I have of a concert he did at the Point in Dublin in 1995. I am not sure whether in legal terms posting a bootleg is better or worse than posting an official release - that is one for you moral relativists out there - but it makes me feel safer. The two selections include a lovely version of "Slim Slow Slider" which was, of course, originally on "Astral Weeks".
"Slim Slow Slider (Live 1995)" - Van Morrison
"I'm Not Feeling It Anymore (Live 1995)" - Van Morrison
For those of you who have a thing about women playing ukeleles - you know who you are - here is a Van cover: