Dec 192011

Here’s a clip I’ve been keeping watch for on YouTube for some time: Van Morrison and Sinead O’Connor with The Chieftans on Letterman. I never paid much attention to O’Connor during her hairless peak, but she’s more worth a few minutes of my time when she’s got hair on the top of her head. I like Morrison a lot, so the night I was watching Letterman and saw them come out together my index finger lifted from the remote control.

I’m not a great fan of “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.” It’s like Morrison’s “Perfect Day” in the Lou Reed catalog: played to death, easy to digest, sentimental, overpraised, and musically not that gripping to my ears. In this performance, however, I loved watching the contrast of O’Connor trying to stick to the song’s script like a devout fangirl while the song’s author scats inappropriately and generally seems intent on throwing her off course. In the closing moments Van takes it to the limit, and we witness The Unclenching.


  7 Responses to “The Unclenching”

  1. mockcarr

    Hasn’t Van always wanked with his scat voice as badly as any blooz-affected guitar hero?

  2. misterioso

    Thanks, Mod, that was very entertaining! I mean, mockcarr ain’t wrong about Van’s frequent scat-abuse, but watching him try to get Sinead to loosen up a bit was good. I’ve seen Van live several times and used to listen to a lot of live recordings, and I think he can be the most maddening performer–absolutely determined, sometimes, to give nothing or worse, to just screw around. Yet at other times he is one of the greatest, period.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    Golly, but that was awful. Not just for the complete vocal mismatch, but for Sinead’s bizarre fan-girl ass-kissing and *especially* for the Chieftans’ lame-brained arrangement of that song. Can we not just leave that kind of tune to Rod Stewart?

  4. cliff sovinsanity

    I think your all missing the most important part of the video. Van steps on Sinead’s mic stand and almost knocks her front teeth out in the process.
    Also, he’s another reason not to use those earpiece monitor things. When it fails, Sinead looks some forlorn young girl waiting at the bus stop listening to her ipod .

  5. I always thought Van was happily drunk for this performance, which was what accounted for his nearly jolly demeanor (I mean, he actually sings, “Blah blah blah blah blah” at 2:55…Listen! It’s not “Love love love…”, it’s “Blah blah blah…”). By the end, he’s made such a piss-take of it, that they both barely make it through the end without completely cracking up. As a musical performance it’s crap, but it’s a very entertaining appearance….if only to see the two of them seemingly having fun for a change…and not really giving much of a damn what it sounds like.

  6. I felt the same way about this clip. It was refreshing. And that’s not to suggest that I’m saying it’s better than that Wild Flag I was overly critical about a few months ago:)

  7. jeangray

    I hate it when the mic hits my teeth!

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