Here’s one thing that many people in the music world have long believed to be true:
Van Morrison doesn’t care what you think of him.
He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, the author of some of the best songs in popular music history, and has sold millions in a career that stretches back 60-plus years. He’s the Belfast Cowboy and he’s apparently content to ride alone.
And that’s pretty much what he’s doing these days, as this former Bay Area resident’s call for other A-list acts to back him on his “Save Live Music” campaign — which is built on the notion that Covid-19 precautions for concerts are just a bunch of phooey — has seemingly gone answered.
In an Aug. 21 post on his website, Morrison attempted to rally the troops to his cause of once again packing venues full of fans — despite the recommendations to the contrary from health officials.
“As you know, we are doing socially distanced gigs at Newcastle Upon Tyne’s Gosforth Park, Electric Ballroom and the London Palladium,” he writes on VanMorrison.com. “This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.
“I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this. Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up.”
It’s unclear exactly what he’s talking about in regard to the “pseudo-science” (sic) that needs fighting. Is he saying it’s all hogwash that the coronavirus can be transmitted from the type of close contact one finds at a full-capacity concert? If so … well … wow.
Of course, Morrison, in his own way, is attempting to address a real problem here — as the pandemic has devastated the live music industry. And, granted, very few musicians are in the type of financial position as Morrison in terms of being able to weather this storm, no matter how long it lasts. But while many, if not most artists understand why it’s necessary to hold off on playing live for now — valuing people’s lives over tickets sales — Morrison is ready to rock ‘n’ roll right now.
“It’s not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs,” he writes in the post. “Come forward now, the future is now.”
In the post, Morrison expresses the desire “to publish a list of names of all those who are supporting the industry” and provides a contact address for people to email if they want to have their name included. As of Tuesday (8/25), not surprisingly, no names have been added to the post.
Oh, but there’s apparently one superstar who Morrison believes is with him.
“Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and myself appear to be the only people in the music business trying to get it back up and running again,” Morrison writes.
But we definitely wouldn’t lump Webber and Morrison in the same camp on this one. Webber’s attempt to help re-open theaters actually seems thoughtful and focused on safety, with the “Cats” composer even going so far as to participate in a vaccine trial.
On the other hand, Morrison’s call to fight the “pseudo-science,” and ignore the social distancing protocol at concerts, seems downright dangerous.
Not surprisingly, Morrison is getting some backlash on social media for his call to reinstate full-capacity concerts.
“What @vanmorrison seems to be saying is, ‘Once I’ve had your ticket money and you’ve bought the merchandise, you can go away and die.’ He of course will be distanced, on stage,” tweets @dinogreycat.
What @vanmorrison seems to be saying is, “Once I’ve had your ticket money and you’ve bought the merchandise, you can go away and die”. He of course will be distanced, on stage. https://t.co/sCPpRlFCZW
— DinoGreycat (@dinogreycat) August 25, 2020
“Funny how you’ve never taken a stance on anything even remotely political till now when it affects your pocket book. As long as your fans buy your tickets who cares if they get Covid? Disgusting behaviour, Van,” tweets @mistywithrain.
Funny how you’ve never taken a stance on anything even remotely political till now when it affects your pocket book. As long as your fans buy your tickets who cares if they get Covid? Disgusting behaviour, Van.
— misty (@mistywtwithrain) August 23, 2020
“Dear @vanmorrison, Love much of your music but I have to ask – What the HELL are you thinking, son?!? Have you not been paying attention? I’m sure it’s killing musicians to not be able to perform to a live house but doing so might just kill you & them,” tweets @gdad1
Love much of your music but I have to ask – What the HELL are you thinking, son?!?
Have you not been paying attention?
I’m sure it’s killing musicians to not be able to perform to a live house but doing so might just kill you & them.https://t.co/I9PdiYzZUt
— Al 🅖🅓🅐🅓➊ Criswell (@Gdad1) August 25, 2020