Van Morrison – 6 Great live versions of “Ballerina”


Spread your wings
Come on fly awhile
Straight to my arms
Little angel child
You know you only
Lonely twenty-two story block

I was in San Francisco one time in 1966 and I was attracted to the city. It was the first time I had been there, and I was sitting in this hotel and all these things were going through my head, and I had a flash about an actress in an opera house appearing in a ballet, and I think that’s where the song came from.
-Van Morrison (to Ritchie Yorke)

If anyone ever argues that Morrison cannot sing – an unlikely scenario anyway – then simply play them this. All human emotion is crystallised here, and subtly vocalised: desire, joy, hope, world weariness, consolidation, awe & anticipation. The “angel child” here is also a fully mature woman. What sounds like a penny whistle comes in just at the end, almost subliminally. Van´s Celtic phase starts here.
-Brian Hinton (Celtic Crossroads)

Ballerina was recorded during the last Astral Weeks session on October 15, 1968 at Century Sound Studios in New York City. Lewis Merenstein was the producer.

He has performed it live 180 times according to the brilliant website

Here are 6 thrilling versions:

2/2/1974 – Winterland, San Francisco, CA:

And if somebody, not just anybody
Wanted to get close to you
For instance, me, baby
All you gotta do
Is ring a bell

Step right up, step right up
And step right up
Crowd will catch you
Fly it, sigh it, try it
Well, I may be wrong

Live at Montreux 1980:

But something deep in my heart tells me I’m right and I don’t think so
You know I saw the writing on the wall
When you came up to me
Child, you were heading for a fall

But if it gets to you
And you feel like you just can’t go on
All you gotta do
Is ring a bell

Live At The Point Theater, 1995:

Step right up, and step right up
And step right up
Just like a ballerina
Stepping lightly
Alright, well it’s getting late
Yes it is, yes it is

And this time I forget to slip into your slumber
The light is on the left side of your head
And I’m standing in your doorway
And I’m mumbling and I can’t remember the last thing that ran through my head

Live at the Hollywood Bowl, LA, November 2008:

Here come a man, here come a man and he say, he say the show must go on
So all you gotta do
Is ring the bell

And step right up, and step right up
And step right up
Just like a ballerina, yeah, yeah
Crowd will catch you
Fly it, sigh it, c’mon, die it, yeah
Just like a ballerina
Just like a, just like a, just like a, just like a ballerina

Gent, 17 juli 2015:

Get on up, get on up, keep a-moving, moving on, moving on, moving on up
Little bit higher, baby
You know, you know, you know, get on up baby
Alright, a-keep on, a-keep on, a-keep on pushing, keep on, keep on pushing
Stepping lightly

Just like a ballerina
Ooo-we baby, take off your shoes
Working on
Just like a ballerina

Live on Cyprus Avenue, Aug. 31, 2015:






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