Friday, February 7, 2020

That's When Van Morrison Walked Through the Door - Miles From Nowhere

The big Irishman looked like someone who could get pissed off really quick, but I don’t know, I didn’t talk to him. Chadwick said he was a pretty normal guy, he just drank too much.

His set was a collection of tight, radio-friendly soul with a cracker-jack, spot-on band. He did songs I wouldn’t call hits, but I’d heard them on the radio: “Moondance” and “Domino” and “Brown-Eyed Girl.” The best song was a killer track called “Into the Mystic.” “Born before the wind,” he sang, “oh so younger than the sun.” Then he sailed his “bonny boat” into this sublime metaphysical harbor. It was pretty Irish, let me tell you.

The set was top-notch, and although it didn’t resonate with me the way that Cat Stevens or Neil Young did, I’d remember that night for the rest of my life, mostly because of the scar I’d wear over my eye. It was tiny, but a battle scar nonetheless. I’m kind of proud of it.

It was during a lengthy jam that a beer bottle flew from out of the audience. It careened rather harmlessly off an amp and onto the floor, but the guitar player flew into the audience. I figure he saw who threw it and his Irish temper and the alcohol got to him. The two of them faced off until the guitarist caught him with an elbow, and down the guy went. It would have ended there, but people intervene, it’s what they do, and a brawny guy who looked like a troll with a big head and big hands smacked the guitarist in the face and laid him flat. Then it was Van’s turn; he was bigger than everybody and soon there was a regular drunken brawl.

It was then I got hit in the forehead with a Coors bottle; there was shit flying everywhere. When the police came, there were guys slugging it out on the sidewalk, a real Moondance, and a marvelous night for it. There were half a dozen cop cars and twice as many brawlers in handcuffs when it was over. I saw Van Morrison and the band hightail it out the back.

To say the least, there was a bit more cleanup than usual. The bartender bandaged my head. She said I’d probably need stitches, but I declined, and as she bandaged me up, I got a pretty nice glance down her top. Chadwick would have been proud; you know, in the face of adversity and all.

Despite the fracas, there wasn’t anything really in the way of damage, just broken bottles and a real mess. It took us most of the night to get things back to Chadwick’s specs. He said, “Now you got somethin’ to write about.”

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