Did Van Morrison ever improve on the series of concerts he performed in 1973, the same shows represented in this new set? He may have but It’s Too Late to Stop Now in all its various editions raises the bar exceptionally high. This is new collection, taken from shows first released as a double album in 1974, includes three discs of additional music from the 1973 tour as well as an extraordinary (and short) DVD of concert footage.
Seeing Morrison on stage during what many consider to be the peak of his powers as a songwriter and performer is a lesson on how to command an audience. Rarely establishing eye contact with his audience or band members, barely moving, with one arm locked in position behind his back, Morrison has never been a charismatic performer. Regardless, these performance are joyful and exciting, with the Caledonia Soul Orchestra more than making up for any lack of movement on their leader’s part. I particularly love the wonderfully punchy takes on “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Domino” and an extended “Caravan”. It’s not until the final moments of “Cyprus Avenue” when Morrison drops some of his guard and finally lets loose. It’s all part of the charm.
In short, there is a reason the original 1974 album is still considered one of the very best live albums ever released. These additional volumes are welcome sequels.