As with any artist whose career spans more than several LPs (let alone 30-plus) it’s often difficult to pick a peak. That said, there is little doubt that 1973 featured Van Morrison at one of his highest of his highs. With numerous hits under his belt, some flops, and some good and bad times ahead, he set out across America and England with as powerful a set as any band could claim at the time.
The expanded It’s Too Late to Stop Now proves the original (now Volume I) was hardly a one-off in terms of the quality of the performances therein. That release was seemingly a live Greatest-Hits-Til-Now with some other bangers mixed in; Volumes 2, 3, 4 and their accompanying DVD prove that the three-month tour was one massive highlight and a mere sampling of what Morrison, and the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, could do.
The forty years in-between its original release and present day have muddied the context of It’s Too Late To Stop Now, an album from a promotional tour in advance of Hard Nose The Highway. Morrison is decidedly Irish in popular context, but his first ten years as a solo artist were almost entirely spent in America – New York and Northern California to be exact. The band for Hard Nose, like It’s Too Late, was entirely American. The aloof, or otherness, that Morrison has become known for was an entirely new concept to him in 1973 – a dynamic performer that had become introverted, scared in many ways of the scope of his own success.