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.