“Ain’t nothin’ but a stranger in this world,” Van Morrison sang on 1968’s Astral Weeks, and in the intervening 40 years he’s only gotten stranger—declining interviews, dabbling in Rosicrucianism and Scientology, and making compulsive allusions to James Joyce. One might say he’s continually retreating deeper into the mystic; but Morrison’s more interesting as a musician than as a medium, and it’s in this capacity that his transformation is most striking: from the soul excursions of his late-’60s and early-’70s recordings to the mythopoetical efforts that followed, Morrison’s voice has eccentrified along with his spirituality. Guess where it landed him? Right back in the creative space of the late ’60s, with that ecstatic mumble scatting circles around supernal imagery. The new tour—in which audiences get to hear Astral Weeks in toto—features Morrison where he’s most comfortable: cloistered in a sprawling band, his vocal presence matched only by his psychic withdrawal.
VAN MORRISON PERFORMS AT 8 P.M. AT DAR CONSTITUTION HALL, 1776 D ST. NW. $95–$350. (202) 628-4780.