Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. On disc, Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a bland, bluesy celebration you can afford to miss.
  2. Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl reveals a newly energized Van at the top of his game, fully engaged in the proceedings, and ready and able to sail into the mystic.
  3. Astral Weeks: Live at the Hollywood Bowl is not Astral Weeks, but it's brilliant and emotionally intense; it's honest and spiritually revealing.
  4. By the time he closes with fittingly open-ended encores of 'Listen to the Lion' and 'Summertime in England'--neither of which is on Astral Weeks--he is truly gone. And in a triumph as unlikely as it is complete, Astral Weeks is reborn.
  5. Transcendence is always a work in progress; the eight songs on Astral Weeks are still up to the task.
  6. He rushes through the tunes, slurring syllables as if enunciating the lyrics would be too much work even if he could remember all of them. And clearly, one day wasn’t enough rehearsal time for his hired band, who are so often in vamp mode while trying to figure out where Morrison’s going that they lose track of the tunes.
  7. All this deceptively timeless fluidity induces a wonderful mystic fog that might make you forget whether you're honoring a 40th, 5th, or 100th anniversary.
  8. Although much of the album is about saying goodbye to the past, Morrison uses the performance to breathe new life into the songs with a band that can follow anywhere he leads--jazz, folk or soul.
  9. This is essentially Morrison pulling all stops in attempt to fulfill his never-ending quest for transcendence; in this instance, to transcend the average concert experience. Apart from the cover art that sees Morrison in a rather unbecoming pose (he looks more like a smarmy used-car salesman than a music legend), every aspect of this release remains vital.
  10. At its weary, lovely close, it becomes clear that Live belongs not to the listener but to the artist who created it. And that makes this album one of the most vital and electric he's made in years.
  11. Mojo
    80
    Nit-pick all you want but this is a tour de force, heady, joyful, ambitious, elegiac and--as with the 1968 original--unlike anything else. [Apr 2009, p.99]
  12. Uncut
    80
    He pulls it off in style. [Apr 2009, p.91]
  13. 70
    Suffer through some over-eager violin and flute solos early on, and by the time Morrison hits the guttural blues moans of the bonus track 'Listen to the Lion,' the songs have opened up like a source of eternal life.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. TonyO
    Apr 30, 2009
    8
    Pretty good. Could easily have been a half-hearted cash-in, but it isn't. Whatever the indefinable quality was that made Astral Weeks so Pretty good. Could easily have been a half-hearted cash-in, but it isn't. Whatever the indefinable quality was that made Astral Weeks so special in the first place has not been lost - though to be fair this album is a little bit patchy, like most Van live shows. The extra tracks at the end actually help the mood, which was a surprise. And if you liked Live in San Francisco, then this is definitely for you. It has many of the same strengths. Yet another gripping version of Madame George, as well. Van fans, just go and buy it. Full Review »
  2. TomD
    Apr 9, 2009
    10
    I don't know what album the reviewers from NOW or Pitchfork were listening to, but it couldn't have been this. An engaging and I don't know what album the reviewers from NOW or Pitchfork were listening to, but it couldn't have been this. An engaging and hypnotic re-creation of a classic that has moments that can literally take your breath away. Sure, it's not the original, but this music is timeless; living, breathing and captivating after 40 years. Absolutely stunning and highly recommended. Full Review »
  3. SusanC
    Mar 3, 2009
    10
    He is the best! He has more talent in his pinky them most new entertainers today.