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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
13


on 16 March 2011
There are some favourite Van tracks on this album and what makes it so great is that the album is from a live show in SF in 1994. The recording is good, Van is in great voice and has some amazing people on stage with him including the sax player Candy Dufler and Georgie Fame on organ/keyboard, there are some wonderful solos. This is one concert like so many of his early ones that it would have been great to have been in the audience but playing this CD nice and loud can take you there. Van at his best where the encores are met with more music! Sit back and enjoy!
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on 11 September 2014
Thank you so much!
Been looking for this album for 17 years.
It is even better now than it was then!
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on 12 April 2011
Love this CD. Has everything you want from Van - Blues, Jazz, Rock, Soul.
It's good to hear some new interpretations of his songs.
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on 17 March 2009
What a concert this must have been. Van the Man put together some of the best musicians in the business and the result is a classic. The man himself was in top form and, believe it or not, even seemed to be enjoying himself! If you've seen Van live you'll know what I mean.
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VINE VOICEHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 3 July 2008
In the real world, another live album by Van Morrison would be met by most people & even some of his die-hard fans with a resounding yawn - yet the wonderful and largely ignored 1994 2 disc set "A Night In San Francisco" didn't and doesn't deserve that. Remastered and repackaged on this 30 June 2008 re-issue, there's even a half-decent bonus track tagged onto the end of CD 2 - "Cleaning Windows".

The album's just as good as its famous 1974 predecessor - the legendary "It's Too Late To Stop Now" - it's just a more updated version. The mixture of tracks is similar too - a lethal combination of his own best compositions (new and old) with a healthy dose of rhythm `n' blues, soul, funk and jazz classics thrown in to lively up the mix.

I've been at Van gigs down through the years where he's God one night and a moody old curmudgeonly git the next! But what separates this set out is the extraordinarily inspired playing of the huge band that graced the stage with him. Each song is truly cooking. They're all enjoying themselves and the audiences' whoops and hollers are genuine too. At times, the slower songs like the lovely "See Me Through" and "Vanlose Stairway" are faster and funked up - and you feel he's blown it - but then one of the guests appears, plays a blinder, or the song cuts into another cover and suddenly the workout works. Four of the tracks are over 10 minutes, while one is nearly 17 - and yet they work. Recorded on the 18th of December 1993 in The Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco - you can only imagine, that the crowd went home very happy that cold wintry night.

Particular highlights are the guest appearances of JUNIOR WELLS on the Sonny Boy Williamson covers "Help Me" and "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" where he plays wonderful bluesy harmonica, while CANDY DULFER blows up the most fantastic Alto Saxophone solo on the "See Me Through medley". JIMMY WITHERSPOON sings the Ray Charles Atlantic Records classic "Lonely Avenue" and the Bobby Bland/T-Bone Walker/Freddie King blues workout of "Stormy Monday..." is superb. GEORGIE FAME sings and plays that lovely warm Hammond Organ of his, while both JAMES HUNTER and BRIAN KENNEDY feature heavily as Background Vocalists. His daughter SHANA MORRISON carries the lead on "Beautiful Vision" with Kennedy joining her too towards the end of the song - to genuinely moving effect.

96K/24 Bit remastered from the original analogue master tapes; the sound quality on this re-issue is great - clear, clean and a live in your living room. The booklet is functionary - song details, but no photos, no crowd shots - a bit of a poor show frankly. Still, it's the material that will have you coming back for more.

To sum up - "A Night In San Francisco" is a wonderful companion set to its 1974 younger and more famous brother - not something I'd say a lot about a lot of live albums. Highly, highly recommended.

PS:
30 Van Morrison albums are re-issued in remastered form throughout 2008 and into early 2009. Each title contains an upgraded booklet; previously unreleased bonus tracks and all will be at mid-price. The releases are in 4 batches as follows:

28 January 2008 (7 titles)
Tupelo Honey (1971), It's Too Late To Stop Now (2 CD Live Set) (1974),
Wavelenght (1979), Into The Music (1979), A Sense Of Wonder (1985),
Avalon Sunset (1989) and Back On Top (1999)
(see SEPARATE REVIEWS for all 7)

30 June 2008 UK/1 & 8 July 2008 USA (8 titles)
Veedon Fleece (1974), Common One (1980), Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart (1983), Live At The Grand Opera House, Belfast (1984), No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986), Enlightenment (1990), A Night In San Francisco (2CD Live Set) (1994) and The Healing Game (1997)
(see also SEPARATE REVIEWS for "Veedon Fleece", "Inarticulate Speech Of The Heart", "Enlightenment", "Common One" and "No Guru, No Method, No Teacher")

November 2008 (7 titles)
Saint Dominic's Preview (1972), A Period Of Transition (1977), Beautiful Vision (1982), Poetic Champions Compose (1987), Hymns To The Silence (2CD Studio Set) (1991), How Long Has This Been Going On (Live At Ronnie Scott's) (1995) and Tell Me Something - The Songs Of Mose Allison (1996)

January 2009 (8 titles)
Hard Nose The Highway (1973), Irish Heartbeat (with The Chieftains) (1988),
Too Long In Exile (1993), Days Like This (1995), The Story Of Them (2CD Set) (1999), The Skiffle Sessions - Live In Belfast (with Lonnie Donegan & Chris Barber) (2000), Down The Road (2002) and What's Wrong With This Picture? (2003)

PPS:
Those hoping to see desperately needed sonic upgrades of his 1st and 2nd album masterpieces on Warner Bothers "Astral Weeks" (1968) and "Moondance" (1970) or even "His Band & The Street Choir" (late 1970) will be disappointed to hear that they're NOT in this re-issue campaign - on either side of the pond. "Astral Weeks" and "Moondance" in particular have both been languishing around on crappy-sounding non-remastered CDs for over 20 years now and they're glaringly obvious omissions in this supposedly 'extensive' re-issue campaign. These universally recognized masterpieces have long deserved 2CD DELUXE EDITION treatment (some tracks in remastered form are available across the 3 volumes of "Best Of"). However, I've recently been informed by a good source that all 3 are NOW AVAILABLE since June 2008 in JAPAN in RHINO REMASTERED form. See the excellent Japanese site CDJAPAN.CO.JP for details (worded in English).
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on 11 July 2008
I was lucky to be at the memorable Rainbow concert that featured on "Too Late To Stop Now". The album was a superb souvenir of a wonderful night. Over the years, I have drifted away from Van Morrison and cannot count myself as a big fan. I had never heard this 1994 concert, until I just fancied a bit of "Van the Man" one afternoon. Browsing Amazon, I came across these reviews and thought I'd give it a try.
Van is on top of his form, as are the many wonderful guests that grace this great concert. The sound quality is terrific, the selection of songs could not be bettered. What makes the album so effective, is the amazing groove that they sustain throughout. Lasting over two hours, there is no let up and it had me bopping around the house all afternoon and beyond (I couldn't just play it once!).
Generally, I find that live albums don't capture the excitement of the original performance and so they don't get played that often. Apart from jazz albums such as the Miles Davis' concerts of the sixties, I cannot think of many live albums that I would recommend. This is an exception. Give it a try!
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on 15 January 2011
This is an amazing album: heartfelt, soulful, brilliantly sung played and passionate. I went off Van in the early 80s when he seemed to get very bland, and not really bothered with him since. But a couple of months ago I recalled seeing on the telly a documentary about Van about 15 years ago in which he sung an excellent version of Help Me with Georgie Fame. I located this on Spotify and tracked it down as coming from this album, which I then bought. I haven't stopped playing it since. There's an enormous number of people playing on it - sax, trumpet, organ, keys, vibes even, as well as the rhythmn section plus numerous guest singers and backing singers, allowing Van to drop in and out, which really adds to the sense of dynamics. His bluesy soulful voice in contrast with Brian Kennedy's very tight sweet vocals is particularly effective. All the instruments and vocalists make it a very richly textured, constantly moving sound, tightly played but loose enough also to be very exciting - the vocalists are always changing and dropping in and out with clearly some improvised scatting and echo vocals. And it's a good selection of songs, reflecting his bluesy roots. The most important thing though is the feel, which is electric. One of the best - and certainly the most enjoyable - live albums recorded. The fact that I saw Help Me on the telly all those years ago leaves the intriguing suggests there might be a video of the concerts ...?
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2009
This two CD set features pretty much an all-star cast with the man himself on top form. Although originally recorded almost 15 years ago (1994), this is pretty timeless stuff. There's some harking back to earlier times as well as stuff which would have been from the man's then, recent output and some great covers. The guest artists represent a bonus as far as I'm concerned: all seem to be having a good time and it comes over in their performances. The supporting muso's are the usual high standard, with Georgie Fame and Dutch sax player Candy Dulfer deserving special mention. There's a certain amount of self-indulgence here,from pretty much everyone, but it's all in the best possible form and after all, this is live rock n' roll, and as such it's about as good as it gets.
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on 30 March 2010
I was lucky enough to see the Belfast version of this show at Dundonald Ice Bowl in May 1994 and was totally blown away. Having seen the genius that is Van Morrison a few times before this I was pretty sure what I was in for but boy, was I wrong! This show is without doubt the BEST live show I have ever seen. The jazz, blues, soul revue that he staged during these series of shows was real Knock You Off Your Feet stuff. With local boy Brian Kennedy on both back up and lead vocals, Shana Morrison featuring on a few songs and the then relatively (and unfortunately still) James Hunter on guitar and vocals nothing could have really prepared ypu for the power of this band. The Live in San Francisco CD is I believe Van Morrison at the absolute height of his powers as a live performing artist and it's one which is on extrenely regular play on my CD player. Do yourself a favour and just buy this!!!!
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on 2 July 2008
THE REMASTERED REISSUE FEATURES ONLY ONE BONUS TRACK (CLEANING WINDOWS)

AND (SLIGHTLY)BETTER SOUND QUALITY.MORRISON HAS ALWAYS BEEN A TERRIFIC

LIVE PERFORMER AND BOTH IN THE STUDIO AND ON STAGE SURROUNDS HIMSELF

WITH FANTASTIC MUSICIANS,BUT THE BAND ON THIS DOUBLE CD IS EXCEPTIONAL.

AS OTHER REVIEWERS HAVE SAID I WISH I HAD BEEN AT THIS CONCERT.

BLUES LEGENDS JOHN LEE HOOKER AND JIMMY WITHERSPOON APPEAR ON SOME OF

THE TRACKS AS DOES GEORGIE FAME (WHO GETS A COUPLE OF SONGS TO HIMSELF)

AND BRIAN KENNEDY (LISTEN TO TUPELO HONEY)BUT IT IS MORRISON WHO IS THE

STAR OF THE SHOW.OVER 23 TRACKS THE BAND REALLY COOKS,CANDY DULFER IS

EXCELLENT BUT SO IS EVERYONE ELSE.I CAN'T RECOMMEND THIS RECORDING

HIGHLY ENOUGH.IF YOU HAVE A GOOD HI-FI SYSTEMS OR GOOD CD PLAYER IN YOUR

CAR,TURN THE VOLUME UP AND ENJOY.
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