undеrneath the nevada desert night sky

Van Morrison Bakkt Theater Planet Hollywood Las Vegas, NV Sept 8 and 9, 2023

I’m sitting in my seat night one and thinking, it’s been four years since I’ve seen Van in concert. Jazz Fest 2019. I really haven’t missed him in the interim (when you live in New Orleans, there is just so much good music around, your musical plate is full and overflowing). He’s been very much on the outskirts of my radar.

But here I am tonight. Here’s what I know: Van is going to open with all songs from his latest Skiffle album. I feel I have had my fill of this particular musical interlude of Van’s, but I haven’t heard it live yet, and there is nothing I like better than new. However, with all the skiffle videos I’ve been watching over the past several months, it already seems old to me.

The lights are dimming, it’s show time! I’m feeling good. Sec 104, Row K, seat 9 is looking pretty great – nobody is sitting in the seats right in front of me, or in the row before that, so my sightlines do not involve craning my neck. It’s all good.

There had been hints in Van’s live set before coming to the States for this tour, that skiffle was on the way out, highlights from his back catalogue were on the way in, mixed in with some new blues tunes from the forthcoming studio release of blues. The imagined setlist was music to the imaginations of the long-suffering among us. But at the last minute, the blues album got postponed to the new year, leaving Van to fall back on a polished skiffle set.

Van opens with “Streamline Train,” the first of 13 skiffle songs to open the night, and it pumps right along, John Platania chugging on the rhythm, keeping those wheels moving. I’m getting limbered up. Just in time for “Sail Away Ladies” – it’s such a pleasure to listen to Van take this with such gusto. And for something completely different, the song features clarinet, performed by Jeff Taylor. I would guess it’s been since Kate St John in the 90s since Van has brought in a clarinet. So here we are, two songs in and I’m loving skiffle. “In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down” is next, and that too comes off with much appreciation from the audience.

Then the musicality, for lack of a better word, drops off. There are no dynamics to lead from one song to the next – granted it’s very polished, very well rehearsed, and very smartly presented, but it’s all just one and done to my ears. Right up until the 12th song, “Cotton Fields,” which might have gone unnoticed but for the fact that “Cotton Fields” was the first 45 I ever owned. My brother gave it to me, in desperation really. Knowing my propensity to listen to a song on repeat, he wanted to get me off The Supremes and into something he could stand to hear on repeat through our shared bedroom wall. I am likely one of very few in the audience who would know this song, so I am the one singing along with Van – more mouthing it, so as not to disturb the gentle people around me. Note to Van: I have heard the place name as Texarkana. If nothing else, it rolls off the tongue easily.

All of a sudden, the show takes off. “Green Rocky Road,” next, is a lovely song, and has much more of a freewheeling sound to it, looser than the songs up to this point. It would be a treat to see this song explored further, but that may never happen, so I smile at how he delivered it tonight.

Then to the surprise of all of us come two blues songs, “Travellin Blues” and “Laughin and Clownin,” which if you’re keeping your eyes and ears open, surely you’re thinking they’re from the upcoming album, ya figure? If so, the future, live-wise, holds great promise, especially for those long-suffering ones referenced above. I’ll definitely be watching the setlists of the upcoming shows to see if he adds any other tasty treats from his trove of blues classics.

“In the Afternoon” is delicious. I lean back in my seat and close my eyes, following Van’s song of love, and it’s all quite lovely, and it hits me right between the ears that it’s the dynamics, they’ve kicked in. And indeed, on through the rest of Van’s songs, we get that dramatic ebb and flow of a Van singing full force – “Into the Mystic” and “Help Me” follow, with Van in full throttle on the latter. The band does it justice, best version I’ve heard in years, a return to form. And “Gloria” – unbelievably great, and the huge energy had even jaded me up on my feet.

As Van says, Satisfied.

three days later …

It’s been two days since the show the following night, Van’s last show in Vegas. That final show, at least its first 13 songs, was a carbon copy of the previous night. If there were any nuanced differences, they escaped me. The difference was in the shakeup in the songs to close the show. Last night’s “Afternoon” workshop is replaced by Whenever God Shines His Light, Dweller on the Threshold, and Precious Time, then memory says Enlightenment next, then an absolutely stunning version of “Into the Mystic.” That’s the one that took me away, something I didn’t think was in Van’s method these days. I could do that one again! Tonight’s show ends with “In the Garden,” and I’m sitting wondering when was the last time I heard this. And the audience gobbles it up, me up at the trough with the rest of them.

My afterthoughts, which are not many, include, first of all, how Van has perfected his voice in his established range – one could truly be in awe of a man who at 78 can perform a brilliantly explosive “Into the Mystic” with the strength of a 25-year-old. That he can, and seeing the direction he’s going with the setlist, the future looks deliciously good.

golden anniversary

Tonight – February 22, 2021 – marks the 50th anniversary of my first time. My first Van Morrison concert, on a frigid cold winter night in Montreal.

That first Van concert was quite the escapade, complete with sneaking out of boarding school and hightailing it into Montreal and back and hoping not to get caught in the process. I won’t give away the ending, but you can read about it in my Van Chronicles. I daresay Van wasn’t at his performing best that night, but it being my first time, it was all I could ask for, and more. I was committed for life.

A very popular game among Van fans is creating one’s dream setlist. I always planned to do this, and never did of course, but here we are, fifty years later, and now seems like a good time to check this off the to-do list. A big shout-out to vanomatic, whose site is a wealth of information on all things live Van, and continues to fill in the blanks for all of us.

Here, then, is my dream setlist, composed of live versions of some of Van’s best songs, performed at some of the best shows I ever attended. There are plenty of very worthwhile candidates that didn’t make the list, and all I can say is, Van couldn’t conceivably play that long of a set. So only the creme de la creme this time.

  1. Ballerina – July 10, 2008 – Tower Theater, Upper Darby: Night one of a two-parter that featured a tantalizing preview of what was to come a few months down the road at the Hollywood Bowl.
  2. Vanlose Stairway – July 6, 1986 – Kingswood Theatre, Toronto: Open-air venue, not great acoustics, but the band worked hard up there. This was part of the No Guru tour. What a killer tour that was.
  3. Tupelo Honey > Why Must I Always Explain? – April 29, 1996 – Supper Club, NYC: I don’t know … The Drunken Soldiers tour? TH is forever on my Top 10 list, and WMIAE is Van’s best, of far too many complaint songs. Two for the price of one.
  4. Into the Mystic – March 19, 2005 – Orpheum Theater, Boston: I don’t think there was a person among us who didn’t think this was the best show they had ever been to. We have pretty long memories, too.
  5. Fairplay – August 4, 2009 – Wang Theater, Boston: The addition of FP to the setlist in the second half of the Astral Weeks Live year was so sweet. I heard it here in Boston for the first time. I remember the goosebumps.
  6. Little Village – February 3, 2012 – Odyssey, Belfast: I was in the right place at the right time this night. Bridget and I had just spent two weeks traveling around Ireland, and this song was wee Celtic Van at his best. He had me quite believing he was talking to me personally. Celtic Van will do that to you sometimes.
  7. Cleaning Windows – October 26, 2003 – Le Carre, Amsterdam: I don’t know where to start. R&B just the way you want it. Please don’t touch! Ouch.
  8. Fast Train – February 26, 2000 – Barbican, York – We didn’t know it at the time, but these were the waning days of the Johnny Scott band, Van was moving on. “Fast Train” was the last song of the night, recorded two nights earlier. Lucky us to get the premiere. And as the last song I heard live from this band, I’m happy.
  9. What Would I Do? – May 15, 1985 – Massey Hall, Toronto: This Ray Charles gem is putty in Van’s hands. He never played it enough to my way of thinking, and this is the only time I heard the complete version. Sometimes he’ll sneak in a few lines as a bridge, and while those are fun (and rare), you really want to hear the whole thing.
  10. Saint Dominic’s Preview – November 8, 2008 – Hollywood Bowl, L.A.: A classic, and this one came with snipers on the rooftop.
  11. Raincheck > River of Time – July 5, 2007 – Hummingbird Theatre, Toronto: I’ve had some intense moments when Van’s head and heart and mouth take off as one, and all I can do is hang on tight. He was relentless on this one.
  12. Summertime in England – September 21, 1998 – Metro Centre, Halifax: It’s kind of hard to pick just one version, but this stands out as the last time I heard it live, and it was the highlight of the night, for sure.
  13. All in the Game – October 26, 2003 – Le Carre, Amsterdam: Same for this song – there are any number of versions that could be slotted in here, but he outdid himself this night, taking it out crying waaan, waaan, waaan. Tear your heart apart, or what. European audiences are an even-tempered bunch; there’s no yelling and screaming and acting American – except tonight. Le Carre was on its collective feet.
  14. Burning Ground – June 14, 1997 – Fleadh, Randall’s Island: There are plenty of versions of this song to choose from, but none better than this, my first time. Van as performance artist – dumping the jute with mic as prop. Something else.
  15. Help Me – June 14, 1999 – Jones Beach, NY: I love this song – Van changes it up every time, plus I give it a 98, it’s got a good beat and I can dance to it. The JS band’s treatment made me sit up and pay attention.
  16. On Hyndford Street – October 1, 2009 – Salle Wilfred Pelletier, Montreal: Ethereal bliss.
  17. It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World > Don’t Let Me Break Down – April 28, 1996 – Supper Club, NYC: Van has had some spectacular moments in his career. I think these 48 minutes are at the pinnacle. One for the ages.
  18. In the Afternoon – July 11, 2008 – Tower Theater, Upper Darby: Part 2 of the gnomes on the ancient highway. Diamonds in the night.
  19. Cyprus Avenue – January 16, 1998 – Theater at MSG, NYC: He was hot on this one tonight – reminding us “if this is pop music, what the fuck are we doing here?” Big hand for the band!
  20. Madame George – November 7, 2008 – Hollywood Bowl, L.A.: Get on the train! I don’t know how you ever beat this.
  21. And the Healing Has Begun – October 25, 2009 – Theater at MSG, NYC: I couldn’t exactly say which show of the ones I’ve seen that’s my favorite; but if I could exactly say, then I’d say this one. It helps to have a seat six feet from Van at the piano to get you in the mood. But it wasn’t just that – we all got that squealin feeling.
  22. Caravan – October 26, 1978 – O’Keefe Center, Toronto: I’m exhausted just thinking back on this one.

Van walks offstage, hunkered over his mic, it’s too late to stop now. The band plays on, and back on comes Van for two songs to close out the night, and here I have roamed from the wealth of live shows to choose two songs I’ve never heard live. But never say never; who knows what the next 50 years will bring.

23. Autumn Song

24. Shenandoah

Great show, Van! I gotta tell you, I am amazed that you could keep going after “Man’s World,” so thanks for that.

mardi gras in the age of covid

It’s that time of year again to laissez les bons temps rouler, throw off the chains of drudgery and party New Orleans style – only this year there is none of that – no parades, no beads, no partying, no baring of bosoms, no masked balls, no much of anything, at least publicly. But the creative juices continue to flow, and if we can’t have our traditional fun, we at least can have … Yardi Gras. Roughly translated, it means if we can’t have parade floats, we’ll have yard floats instead. All that artistry has to go somewhere.

And there’s plenty of it to go around. Every day since the Mardi Gras season began – January 6 – these yard floats have been popping up in my neighborhood of Broadmoor, and I’ve collected a sampling. Hats off to this year’s krewes …

Birds are popular this year … tis the season of the landed flamingo, among others.

And if you’re going to be staying home anyways, make it fun …

New Orleans inspired …

Not to be outdone, the flora and fauna are here …

There is no last, there is no least, there is only Fat Tuesday …

year in review 2020

When your year starts off in Hawaii, you know the next twelve months are going to have to be pretty spectacular to beat that. Actually, the year was shaping up to be a good one – daughter Bridget’s bachelorette party in New Orleans in March, and her fairytale wedding in Ithaca in July. But I get ahead of myself. Let’s go back to January to the beach in Hawaii.

The Japanese half of the family met up with the American half smack dab in the middle – or as close as we could get if were to meet on land – in the beach town of Kailua on the island of Oahu. We took side trips to the north of the island, famous for its waves, and Honolulu and Waikiki, but most of the time was family time, eating and playing and the usual family fun. You know.

As vacations go, best ever!

Back on the mainland, life returned to normal, and the month ended on a high note, out to see Dave Jordan at the Ogden Museum. Jordan has been playing for years but was under my radar until local radio station WWOZ put his latest album, Burning Sage, in the rotation. I liked what I heard, so I was keen to see him, and was not disappointed. Here’s Tucumcari Tonight from the new album.

February slid in with a Super Bowl party over at my cousins’, and keeping to the “watching TV” theme, the next week was the Oscars. Normally, I wouldn’t watch them – it’s no fun if you haven’t seen any of the movies, which is me to a T. If it’s not on Netflix, I haven’t seen it. But this year was different. In October last year, my girlfriend Celeste came down for the New Orleans Film Festival, and we went for the whole deal – minus the gala dinners and hob-knobbing – so we ended up seeing a lot of movies, and some of them ended up with Oscar nominations. Reflecting on that now, I wonder what the 2022 Oscar ceremony is going to be like … but, hey, that’s for next year’s letter.

Mardi Gras parade season got down to serious business February 16, culminating on Mardi Gras Day, February 25; and in between those two dates, it’s all parades and partying. I have learned to pace myself, and some days that actually works. This year Dennis came to town, and we sent him home with a lot of killer Mardi Gras schwag. The day after Mardi Gras – Ash Wednesday – was a full day of NOLA MUST DO items, starting with church service at the iconic St Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square in the French Quarter. The place was standing room only, everyone come for the ashes and maybe a bit of repentance. As we stood cheek by jowl, no one – well, at least not me – was thinking about COVID-19. Next on the NOLA MUST DO list was $20.20 lunch at Antoine’s. That’s their thing. Next year it will be $20.21. Who says there isn’t inflation?

The next day, we headed up the mighty Mississip to the Whitney Plantation. Unlike most plantations, which focus on the plantation owners’ houses, the Whitney tells the plantation story through the lives of the slaves. February also saw the French Film Festival come to town, so checkmark all over that! And to close out the month, dinner at my favorite restaurant, Jacques Imo’s, followed by what turned out to be my last live show of the year, Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen at the Maple Leaf. A little Jon Cleary, if you please.

March came in with a bang – first my friend Celeste arrived, fresh from Ecuador – and we settled down to some serious foodie activity, starting with another NOLA MUST DO restaurant, Sweet Soul Food. Their bread pudding is to die for. That, as it turns out, is a typical refrain in NOLA. But I’ll save all my gushing over bread pudding for another time. On the heels of Celeste’s arrival, daughter Bridget arrived with the girls in her wedding party, ready for her bachelorette party, New Orleans style. She couldn’t have chosen a better place to hold it. Better yet, I had no responsibilities other than to show up for the food and drink, and I passed that test with flying colors. I got to meet the in-laws for the first time, too, spending quality time with Joyce and Haskel out on the town.

On March 10th, the last of the bachelorette party flew home, and on March 11th, I went into lockdown. And all around me, the city shut down.

For a while there, my major (only) social event of the week was grocery shopping with the seniors at 7 in the morning. But having nothing else to do besides buying food is just what I’ve needed. It’s meant a lot more uninterrupted time to write my book. And that’s what I’ve been doing the past nine months, sitting at my laptop, writing away. I suspect that’s where I’ll be throughout 2021, and 2022, and 20…

Remember when YouTube first showed up and it was the best thing ever? Well, these days, best thing ever is FaceTime and Zoom, for all the quality time I get to spend with family and friends, not to mention violin recitals and weddings (yes, Bridget and Justin had their Zoom wedding in May!). There is so much to be grateful for this year, but like most people, I am definitely looking forward to what next year has in store.

All my best wishes to y’all for the new year!


P.S. If you want to receive my very irregular posts, go ahead and add your email under the Follow Me button up there on the right. I don’t anticipate an onslaught of posts happening, but one never knows.

johnnies be good

It’s inevitable. If you go on a road trip (which I did), and the trip is long enough (which it was), you’re bound to get hungry every once in a while (or more frequently than that, if you are me). The result is plenty of time spent in restaurants.

Some people’s thinking follows a pattern: food served, photo taken, photo up on Facebook for the world to see what you ate for lunch today. It’s not that I’ve never done that, but it was never my thing. My thinking went in a different direction: into the toilet.


I became enthralled with the creativity that had gone into some of these restaurants’ bathroom doors and just had to capture it. It got so that I was trying to figure out how to monetize my love affair with these doors. A book, I thought. A book full of bathroom doors the world over – wouldn’t that make a great holiday gift. Or maybe an e-book for your Kindle, perfect reading material on the john.

While I sort out the details on this financial goldmine I’m sitting on, here’s a sample, starting off from Ireland …

O’Shea’s, Dublin

Let’s go to Ecuador next …

A few from Canada …

Lougheed Pub, Harvey, New Brunswick

It looks like I was eating and drinking considerably more in the United States. In no particular order …

And that, mesdames et messieurs, bouys and gulls, is the end of the tour. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

one more sunset por favor

Smooth or crunchy? Cane’s or Popeye’s? Mets or Yankees? Sunrise or sunset?

Me? I’m sunset all the way.

Granted, it would be almost impossible for me to choose sunrise, for no other reason than I would never be up at that hour, and if I was, the odds of me remembering to take my camera with me would be next to zero. But I have seen a few, and truly, I think the science will back me up here, sunsets are simply more beautiful. Plus, there is a good chance I will be awake.

Just look to the west, beyond the ocean, beyond the trees and the mountains, and watch the sun melt into the horizon. The mix of color and light changes from moment to moment, and each one of those moments is an Impressionist painting for me. I understand what Claude Monet saw in the lilies – every day the same, every day totally different.

Here’s my impressionist take on the sunsets at Harris Beach in Oregon …

North America’s Pacific Coast offers some of the most spectacular mountains and forests to explore by day, and when evening comes, simply stop the car wherever you are and take in all the ocean has to offer at sunset. From San Diego in southern California all the way up through northern California, Oregon and Washington, then over the Canadian border into beautiful British Columbia, it’s one glorious view after another. Here then, from south to north is what the sun will do.

Before we head inland, there’s more coast, this time in Ecuador, also on the Pacific Ocean – two beach towns on the southern coast, the sleepy Manglaralto and the party/surf town of Montanita, not that you can tell the difference at sunset …

Off to Ireland …

Back to the innards of the United States …

The Grand Canyon …

There are always more …

And now up to Canada. First, the interior of British Columbia …

… and Quebec

From my wonderful stay in Chania on the island of Crete …

One last one, to finish off – looking out on the Atlantic Ocean from Spanish Point, Ireland …

wall art

Street walkers, in the broadest sense of the word, have a lot to see, if they keep their eyes open. There’s likely plenty of street walkers who don’t bring their cameras along with them when they head out, but not me. If I’m in a new city or town and walking the streets, chances are, the camera is ready and waiting.

Without further ado, here are some samples from the road. For those who like pictures more than words, this blog’s for you.






These first six are from the Mission District in San Francisco. Such color!

If you’re ever in Miami, you’ll want to spend an afternoon walking in the Wynwood Arts District …

It all makes me want to hit the streets again!

a mooving story

We’re not going to go too deep here – not too much soul searching or navel gazing as to the why’s. It is what it is.

I used to collect cows.

There, I’ve said it. I think I was a collecting type person from the start, but my efforts never really amounted to much. I remember having a stamp collection, but its ragtag bunch of specimens looked more like a discard pile than something resembling a sensible collection. Same with rocks and shells – always an impressive start, but somehow it just seemed like too much work to make a real go of it. When I got older, I started collecting 45s and LPs, but those required some serious money to maintain and grow, and I was sadly lacking. Alas, another modest attempt at collecting, stopped in its tracks.

A little older still, and I’d be at a friend’s house and see their collection of beer bottles or bottle caps or matchbooks or baseball caps, and I’d think, what a great collection; I wish I’d thought of that, but now it’s too late. A collector wannabee.

Then along came cows. The kind of cows that stand around in farmers’ fields eating grass all day. When our family of four – mommy (me), daddy, two young children – moved to New England, we were leaving behind the big city and heading to the country. We were actually moving to a suburban town, but as anyone can tell you in New England, if you want to go somewhere, you’re a half hour away at a minimum. And a lot of those half hours-plus were spent driving through the countryside, with the farmers’ fields, and those cows standing around eating grass all day.

Never let it be said that every moment isn’t a teaching moment. If we go with that thought, you’d understand that whenever the kids were in the back seat and I was in the front, whenever we passed a field of cows, I’d call out “mooooooooo” to the cows. I didn’t even necessarily have to open the window – it’s not like I cared if they heard me – I sure didn’t want them thinking some cow was driving by on the road asking for directions. The first time I did it, it felt innocent enough – teaching the youngsters in the back seat that these were actual cows, which to that point in their lives existed only as pictures in books. The second time I moooooed when we passed a field of cows, we all laughed. By the tenth time, it was a contest as to who could spot the cow and moo first.

The logic that says if I would do that with cows, what about sheep, and horses, and I don’t know, giraffes, and hippopotami, and zebras? I never felt the urge. Not like with the cows. And you can guess the rest.

My cow collection was born. I’m going to jump to the punch line here. I started collecting cows in the early 1990s and I stopped collecting in 2014, when I downsized my life, and the cows didn’t make the cut. But during all that time, I was a housewife with this house and that house and another with bathrooms and kitchens and bedrooms galore, all waiting to be filled with cows. I’m going to share just one from that period. I only recently saw this photo as I was putting together this album. It’s one of my favorite pieces – two cows sitting on a wooden bench – that I picked up in a gift shop on Prince Edward Island, probably an Anne of Green Gables gift shop, and when I saw it, the cows were screaming at me to get them out of there, so into the shopping bag they went. In this particular picture – really, a motif, with the tiny cows grazing below and the white and black cow going to town on the windowsill – there is a ball of tinfoil between the seated cows. That was during my PeeWee Herman stage – remember when every week, he’d patch another piece of tinfoil to his monstrous tinfoil ball? But this isn’t a story about tinfoil, it’s about cows.

It’s only natural that I would want to feed my cow universe with photos from the road. Without further ado then, here’s a sampling. If you’re on your game, you’ll spot straight away that they’re not all cows. Ireland has way better sheep pictures than cow pictures, and once you let the sheep in, you never know what else will weasel its way in.

Who says cows don’t have any fun? Postcard from Holland …

my fling with Elvis

My affair with Elvis was short and very sweet, and thankfully for all concerned, it ended without rancor. Although to be fair, I’m not sure Elvis was ever invested in it the way I was.

Our formal introduction came one Saturday afternoon during my prepubescent years, plunked down as I was in front of the TV set for the Saturday movie matinee. The movie that afternoon was one of those beach blanket bingo/race car Elvis movies that they churned out ad nauseum in the mid-60s. I wasn’t even a teenager at that point, so his arrival on the world stage years earlier as the swiveling-hipped heart-throb had passed me by. And that slew of plotless films he starred in did nothing to capture my interest. But at least I now knew who he was. And although our little fling was years in the future, at least in the mid-60s we were both alive, which is saying something.

The years passed, and while his career was ebbing and flowing, it was all rather beside the point to me. Until that fateful day in 2012, when my daughter and I, fresh from our first visit to New Orleans, arrived on the doorstep of a fellow couchsurfer in Jackson, Mississippi. She insisted that the following day we absolutely must drive the Natchez Trace Parkway – for its beauty – en route to our next stop, Nashville, Tennessee. The bonus, she assured us, was if we took that scenic route, we’d go right by Tupelo, Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

Why not, right?

I can’t say what it was that triggered it, but it was love at first sight, the moment I sat down on the front porch of Elvis’s house, strumming a guitar, and thinking, Elvis must have sat right here. All I know is I was smitten.

So, of course, when we got to Memphis, we were all over Elvis – the pink Cadillacs, Graceland, Sun Studios. Sure, we did the ducks at the Peabody Hotel and walked Beale Street, but we were there for Elvis.

From then on, we watched for him everywhere the road took us …

Austin, Texas …

At one point we caught up with Route 66, and that was an Elvis goldmine. First, Albuquerque, New Mexico …

An on to Flagstaff, Arizona …

And of course Vegas …

He’s everywhere …

And the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland … Look at that lip!

Bridget and I, international travelers that we were, turned the car north to Canada, and wouldn’t you know, the worldly bon vivant Elvis was right there waiting the moment we crossed the border into British Columbia …

And he was there as we travelled east …

Our year with Elvis on the road was something else, but when it was over, it was over. All I have left are the memories … and the movies, and the documentaries, and the Elvis calendar, and the Elvis playing cards.

We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out, because I love you too much baby.

This Is It!

You know how it goes — you’re standing in the grocery store, reading the ingredients list on the back of a can of beans, trying to decide whether butylated hydroxyanisole is the kind of thing you should be putting in your body, and there over the PA system comes a note you’ve heard a thousand times before, a smile comes on, and before you know it you’re singing Bright Side of the Road, not too loud, mind you — just loud enough for the shoppers around you to be thinking now would be a good time to be practicing that social distancing thing, and to be on the safe side, let’s make that 15 feet. Regardless of what others around you are feeling at that moment, you’ve found a new lease on life in the canned goods aisle, you figure how bad can that butylated hydropolyethylene be, you toss two cans of the beans into the cart, and sing your way over to the shelf with the Red Dye #1.

Or you’re driving down the street and Into the Mystic comes on the radio. You pull into your driveway, put the car in park, and sit and listen to the entire song. It’s not like you couldn’t put your fingers on at least 116 versions of the same song in your collection once you get inside. No, you have to sit in the car till the song is finished. Total sacrilege otherwise.

It’s the same wherever you go. At the bar, at the dentist’s office, standing in line at the chair lift, or sitting in the chalet, never even noticing there’s background music going on, and then a Van song comes on, and all of a sudden, perfect order is restored to your life. What is that all about?

As peculiar as that is in the social fabric of life, I can do it one better. What’s it called when you’re walking around, acting pretty normal in the general scheme of things, when you spot it: a sign of Van. Literally. And you have to take a picture.

I got plenty more …

But we’ll leave it at that. At least for the signs. Because there are always the posters …

Then there’s Van on the wall …

Safe to say that taking snapshots of the word Van whenever I see it on my travels (although you’ll be glad to know that I can now walk by a Van Accessible sign without pulling out the iPhone every time) falls on the weird side of the ledger of life, and singing along every time I hear Van in a public setting is on the creepy side, but what do you call the side where I take pictures of Van lyrics? To wit …

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has a few feet devoted to Van. You’ll have to click on each photo to get the gist …

I think I can safely say that we’ve covered the gamut, at least visually, of my penchant for all things Van. Blame it on the lockdown that I’m sitting here sorting through my sock drawer of Van photos. Not your fault, I know. I take full responsibility. And speaking of live music, or lack thereof, I’ll wrap it up with the visual reminder of the last two Van shows I went to. I’m looking forward to updating this particular gallery!