Although Van Morrison is performing socially distant concerts amid the coronavirus pandemic, the veteran musician wants to make it clear he’s doing so begrudgingly.
In a post on his website titled “Save Live Music,” the singer-songwriter declared “pseudo-science” is to blame for such COVID-19 safety measures and he urged other artists to speak out. Morrison said it’s “not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs.”
“As you know, we are doing socially distanced gigs at Newcastle Upon Tyne’s Gosforth Park, Electric Ballroom and The London Palladium. This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums,” the 74-year-old began. “This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.”
Morrison asked “singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this.”
“Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up,” he continued.
The legendary Irish musician praised Andrew Lloyd Webber who has been vocally critical of capacity limits in both the music and theatre industries.
“Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and myself appear to be the only people in the music business trying to get it back up and running again. Come forward,” Morrison continued. “It’s not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs. Come forward now, the future is now.”
Last month, live music returned to The London Palladium and Webber slammed guidance for performing arts venues to reopen with reduced audiences. In August, Webber said he was participating in an experimental COVID-19 vaccine trial.
“I have to say this is a rather sad sight. I'm so grateful to you all for coming and being a sort of guinea pig like this,” Webber told spectators who attended Beverley Knight’s performance. The theatre was just under 30 percent capacity.
“The Palladium is meant to be full, it’s a theatre that wants to love you, and it seems sad,” the Cats composer continued, adding that socially-distanced theatre is a “misery for performers.”
Morrison listed an email address in his post and asked people to voice their support: “We would like to publish a list of names of all those who are supporting the industry.”