herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Van Morrison marks 70th with Belfast street gigs

Handout photo of Van morrison performing on Cyprus Avenue as part of the East Side Arts Festival
Handout photo of Van morrison performing on Cyprus Avenue as part of the East Side Arts Festival
Handout photo of Van morrison performing on Cyprus Avenue as part of the East Side Arts Festival

Van Morrison has celebrated his 70th birthday with concerts on the east Belfast street he immortalised in his masterpiece Astral Weeks.

Three thousand fans squeezed into Cyprus Avenue - the "avenue of trees" as he called it in the seminal album - for two intimate shows in the epicentre of his homeland.

Hundreds travelled from dozens of countries for what had become a pilgrimage, since the gigs were first announced last year.

Tickets which sold out with a face value between £50 and £80 traded on online auction sites for up to £400 (€548).

Weather

Politicians, playwrights, screen actors and fellow musicians, including Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall and celebrity chef Rick Stein, were among those who braved the weather for the special concerts.

The recently-knighted singer was born close to Cyprus Avenue, in a small house on Hyndford Street, on August 31 1945.

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