May 1, 2015 – 2:22 pm

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Lost California Performances - Irvine 1975 [JF Archive Series No. 4 via JEMS, 1CD]

Live at Crawford Hall, University of California, Irvine, CA; June 6, 1975 (8 pm/early show). Fairly to very good audience recording.

Thanks to taper JF; BK; JEMS; and mjk5510 for sharing the show at Dime.


The fourth release from JF’s archive is something special. Not only is it an uncirculated Van Morrison recording from 40 years ago, but, to the best of our knowledge, no details of this performance can be found in any reference we could find on the web of Morrison’s touring history, the most definitive of which is the German site

Vanomatic lists a mere 22 shows taking place in all of 1975, and, inexplicably, the only extant record of any ‘75 performance is a single 18-minute recording and six-song set list from the Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, April 21. How Van Morrison, given his stature in 1975, could play 22 concerts, all but one of which (Buffalo) was in California, most of which were in San Francisco, and have them go completely unrecorded and undocumented is bizarre to say the least. But that changes now.

The early set in Irvine does appear in Vanomatic’s list of ‘75 shows but with no known setlist… It becomes the second full recording from ‘75, with four more JF tapes to come, so we go from 18 minutes of a single ‘75 show to half a dozen full, uncirculated shows. We’ve named JF’s six recordings from 1975 the Lost California Performances.

Thanks to some legwork by JF and the cooperation of other Van collectors, this show is transferred from the original master cassettes. As noted earlier in our series, it was JF’s practice to copy his masters onto reels and reuse the cassettes. But in the case of Van Morrison, the artist he taped the most, he kept the masters intact. The tapes were loaned out over the years, but JF was recently able to get half of them back, so thanks to those who helped transport them to JEMS for fresh transfers.


The 8 pm show at Crawford Hall shares a basic framework with the first volume in our series, Davis, but with a few notable differences. It’s a much bluesier night, with forays into Mose Allison’s “One Of These Days” and Leadbelly’s “Sweet Mary Blues.” The epic “St Dominic’s Preview” weaves even more of Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” and the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” into the narrative. And “Domino” gives the show another crowd-pleaser.

But the highlight for me is “I’ve Been Working,” which features some (improvised?) autobiographical lyrics (“In 1972 I started correcting some of my bad mistakes”), and also strolls through Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Take Your Hands Out of My Pocket” and T-Bone Walker’s “Stormy Monday.”

Van’s singing here is even stronger than it is in Davis, and the band (John Blakely on guitar; Mark T Jordan on keyboards; David Hayes on bass; and Tony Dey on drums) more in sync.

Here’s what JF recalled about the Irvine shows:

“This was the first show in a mini-Van marathon. Saw two shows this night in Irvine, two the next in Riverside and one more on the afternoon of the following day in Santa Barbara. There were no seats for this show - people gathered around the stage on the floor of the college basketball arena and danced or just hung out and listened. I set up back by the sound booth in the center of the hall, warily eyeing Van’s sound people so they wouldn’t catch me recording and secretly wishing I could tap into their line feed from the stage.

Among my memorabilia I recently found an old newspaper ad for the concerts at Irvine and Riverside. To my astonishment, I ‘learned’ that Roger McGuinn was the supporting act. I had completely forgotten that and only vaguely have some recollection of that now that my memory has been jogged. I mention it because this is another example of how my girlfriend Laura Greenwood and I would go off into Van-trances for these short periods when he would tour Southern California. I was a big fan of McGuinn and the Byrds, and yet for decades, until reminded of it, I had no idea that I saw him perform as a warm-up act for Van.”

Thanks to JF, who reached out on DIME (you could be next!) and offered us his archive, which had been sitting in boxes, 6,000 miles away from where he lives today, for 20+ years. Like so many early tapers, he had great stories to tell and the memories flooded back as we sorted through tapes. We are pleased to be able to bring his work to all of you. Please let him know through your comments that you are, too.

We also appreciate the unnamed Van collectors for helping to get JF’s masters back in his control. And finally mjk5510, who continues to be at the ready to finish off JEMS’ projects. Much appreciated.


Click here for the lossless flacs.

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Source: unknown recorder > unknown microphone
JEMS 2015 Transfer: JF master Memorex cassettes > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 (24/96) capture > iZotope RX4 > Peak 6.0 with iZotope Ozone 5 > iZotope RX MBIT+ resample 16/44.1 > Peak Pro XT (edit / index) > xACT 2.21 > FLAC

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Alright OK 3:41 (6.2MB)
Track 02. One Of These Days 5:38 (9.5MB)
Track 03. TB Sheets 6:50 (11.5MB)
Track 04. Wild Night 5:12 (8.7MB)
Track 05. Sweet Mary Blues 6:28 (10.9MB)
Track 06. Brown Eyed Girl 5:01 (8.4MB)
Track 07. I’ve Been Working Medley 13:11 (22.2MB)
Track 08. Domino 5:03 (8.5MB)
Track 09. St Dominic’s Preview Medley 13:11 (22.1MB)
Track 10. Gloria 4:15 (7.1MB)
Track 11. Moondance 6:09 (10.3MB)
75 mins

Van Morrison- vocals
John Blakely - guitar
Mark T Jordan - keyboards
David Hayes - bass
Tony Dey - drums

Click here to order Van Morrison releases.

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  1. 6 Responses to “VAN MORRISON - IRVINE 1975”

  2. Thanks Big O more Van The Man and rare as hen’s teeth too!
    The last one was mixed to poor in quality I thought so despite initial enthusiasm I dumped that one but hey they’re early huh? Hope the same isn’t true here and for completists only?
    Can’t wait to check this out

    By swappers on May 1, 2015

  3. I like the I Been Working medley a lot. It’s cool that a lot of hits are here. I wish we could have had a fuller sound, but not likely considering the venue.

    It would be cool if copies of the newspaper ads for Riverside and Irvine could be posted, if they are in any shape to do so, even if they were simple, as they give the flavor of the time and how the performers were presented. BigO knows I am a buff for this stuff. I can clean up the ad copy, as I have in the past.

    By Jpb Hunter on May 1, 2015

  4. oops, Job Hunter. Promise, I’ll be better with the ads than my own name.

    By Job Hunter on May 1, 2015

  5. Well, I certainly didn’t expect to find those ads so quickly at the Sugarmegs site immediately after leaving the above post!

    By Job Hunter on May 1, 2015

  6. Lovin’ all the Van lately…thanks BigO

    By steve22 on May 1, 2015

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