Answers In A Van Down By The River
By the way, the “What is this, rent an audience?” quote comes from the often-irascible Van the Man himself, a rather rude comment he blurted out during a show back in the early ‘90s at the Great American Music Hall when the audience’s whooping and hollering during a couple songs made him rather testy. (I believe that’s even the title of the bootleg CD of that particular performance.) I was lucky (?) enough to be in the audience for that, and it was probably the most petulant tirade I’ve ever seen a rock star throw while onstage. Somebody replied to him, saying, “We love you, Van!” or some such, and he went off. “Well, shut the fuck up, then! Let us do the work!” Despite that, I still think he puts on some of the best shows I’ve ever been privileged to see. I was definitely lucky the night I sat in the audience at the Masonic Auditorium in December, 1993, for the show that eventually got captured on the album A Night In San Francisco. I don't believe in religion, but I believe in transcendence. On that night, and a few others before and since, I experienced transcendence. Rapture. Ecstasy. And even if I’d never seen him perform, how can you listen to his music and not love it? As my sister once delicately put it, “He is a goddamn fucking genius.”
Yes, yes he is.
Anyway, here is the key, along with the albums these songs can be found on in bold. If you don’t already own these and a lot more, well, all I can say is that I feel sorry for you.
1. Have to get back, have to get back the base. I need to talk to somebody I can trust. I’m Not Feeling It Anymore; Hymns To The Silence
2. I'm kicking off from centre field, a question of being down for the game. Bulbs; Veedon Fleece
3. We were born before the wind, also younger than the sun. Ere the bonnie boat was won... Into The Mystic; Moondance
4. How can you stand the silence that pervades when we all cry, how can you watch the violence that erupts before your eyes? Wonderful Remark; The Philosopher’s Stone
5. Chamois cleaning all the windows, singing songs about Edith Piaf's soul, and I hear blue strains of "no regredior" across the street from cathedral Notre Dame. Saint Dominic’s Preview; Saint Dominic’s Preview
6. You can take all the tea in China, put it in a big brown bag for me... Tupelo Honey; Tupelo Honey
7. Look at the ivy on the cold clinging wall, look at the flowers and the green grass so tall. Warm Love; Hard Nose The Highway
8. And I will stroll the merry way and jump the hedges first, and I will drink the clear clean water for to quench my thirst. Sweet Thing; Astral Weeks
9. Don't want to discuss it, think it's time for a change. You may get disgusted, start thinkin' that I'm strange. Domino; His Band And The Street Choir
10. Oh, the smell of the bakery from across the street got in my nose, as we carried our ladders down the street with the wrought-iron gate rows. Cleaning Windows; Beautiful Vision
**Bonus** Go for a ride in the still of the night and the morning brings forth all this wonderful delight... Flamingos Fly; A Period Of Transition (There is also a version, as Melville pointed out, on The Philosopher’s Stone.)
Back at it next week!