Van Morrison bans drinking during SXSW show

Bars at La Zona Rosa forced to shut as Van The Man performs

In addition to buzz bands such as Vampire Weekend, MGMT and A Place To Bury Strangers, this year’s SXSW scheduled slots from Van Morrison, R.E.M and the legendary Dolly Parton who cancelled her appearance due to health problems.

Previous larger acts at the ‘new bands’ festival include Iggy Pop and The Flaming Lips, but tonight’s Van Morrison show drew a crowd so big, the line extended half a block around the corner form La Zona Rosa and a further two blocks after that, a line that consisted mainly of industry-types – identifiable through their laminates.

Taking to the stage a few minutes before his scheduled time of 7pm this evening (March 12), Van The Man wore his trademark hat and sunglasses, walking onstage with his saxophone around his neck.

The room, which minutes earlier had seemed like any oversized dive bar, was suddenly transformed into a jazz club, as his opened with ‘This Love Of Mine’, joined by 11 musicians.

After renditions of ‘Magic Time’ and ‘There Stands The Glass’, the Belfast native treated the reverential audience to brand new material from his forthcoming album, pausing to reprimand an audience member whose mobile phone rang as he spoke.

‘We’d like to do the next album. If someone turns off that mobile phone we can start it’ the notoriously difficult singer said curtly.

Morrison had the bars in the venue closed for the duration of his set, while cameras, voice recorders, and any recording or filming device were prohibited throughout his set.

In addition to previewing much of his new LP, Morrison thrilled the crowd with a hit-laden set including performances of ‘Song Of Home’, ‘That’s Entrainment’ and ‘End Of The Land’.

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