Mayday, Mayday: Van Morrison Opens Woodlands' 2010 Season May 1

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This weekend word came from Live Nation that legendary Irish crooner and songwriter Van Morrison will be open the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion's 2010 season Thursday, May 1, Van the Man's first Houston appearance in more than 30 years.

According to songkick.com, Morrison first hit Houston in January 1974 for a set in The Houston Room on the University Of Houston campus. He returned that fall for a date at the Sam Houston Coliseum with Little Feat, and one more UH date back in 1978 appears to be his last Bayou City stand. We couldn't find any history of any Morrison dates since then. If he really hasn't been here in 32 years, then this show will be even more of a landmark event.

Morrison has had a storied career, releasing such garage rock touchstones as "Gloria" and "Baby Please Don't Go" with his original band Them before going solo in 1967 with his first album and the single "Brown-Eyed Girl." In 1968 he began an incredible series of albums with Astral Weeks, followed by Moondance, Tupelo Honey, His Band and the Street Choir and Saint Dominic's Preview. You can find at least one of those on endless greatest albums of all time lists; Moondance and Honey are recommended listens without a doubt. His late-'70s period is also worth a shot, with Wavelength being a standout.

The past decade has seen Morrison reclaim his throne as one of the preeminent vocalists of al time. He has released a slew of new material including an album in 2000, You Win Again, on which he covered tracks from everyone from Hank Williams Sr. to John Lee Hooker. It was a treat to hear those blues and country classics interpreted through his thick Northern Irish brogue. In 2008 he opened up SXSW in Austin coinciding with his second album for roots imprint Lost Highway, Keep It Simple.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, February 27, at 10 a.m. at www.livenation.com or www.woodlandscenter.org. The Pavilion's Web site says that there will be no opener and the concert will begin promptly at 8 p.m. With the area's noise ordinance shutting off music at 11 p.m., Houston may just get a three-hour set to make up for Van's four-decade absence.

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