Belfast Telegraph

Music fan's 12,000-mile trek to see his idol Van Morrison

By Staff Reporter

You'd need to have a Crazy Love of Van Morrison's music to be prepared to travel to the other end of the earth to see him.

But that's the level of devotion Kiwi electrician Max Croskery is ready to give as he sets out on a 12,000-mile journey from New Zealand to Belfast to see his musical hero play on his home turf.

Maestro Morrison takes to the stage in east Belfast later this month to perform two concerts in Cyprus Avenue, the leafy street Morrison made famous on his 1968 Astral Weeks breakthrough album. The concerts will also celebrate Van's 70th birthday.

It won't be Max's first time in Belfast - he has been to three Morrison concerts in Belfast, as well as two in San Francisco, one each in Edinburgh and Stuttgart, and another last year at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Mr Croskery told his local newspaper in New Zealand, the Wairarapa Times-Age, that his favourite Van tune was Almost Independence Day from the Saint Dominic's Preview album.

He had been captivated many years ago by the Belfast troubadour's lyrics and the spiritual philosophies contained in his music.

"His songs take you on the journey he went on exploring life," said Mr Croskery.

"He name checks a lot of books, blues artists, philosophers; and I've looked at some of the people and ideas he sings about. He went out and met his idols, like John Lee Hooker and Ray Charles."

Mr Croskery would love to meet his musical hero: "I know a few people who have met him and he's pretty gracious these days, apparently, though he has quite a curmudgeonly reputation."

He will also attend a dinner ahead of the Cyprus Avenue concert along with 200 other fans at which Morrison tribute band Celtic Soul will play.

Belfast Telegraph


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