Off to People’s Park wondering how to look cool. I needn’t have worried – it was pretty much a regular middle-aged Jersey crowd made up mainly, it seemed, of ex-cricketers. I missed the early stuff and it was Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry first up for me. I guess this was pretty much a first for Jersey, a pure, laid-back reggae beat pounding over the west of the town. Perry is a legend and went down well with many in the crowd. I’m less of a music connoisseur though and the whole thing was a bit too one-paced for me. And when the band was forcibly removed to allow set-up for the next act Perry was still under the illusion that he was in Dublin, if I interpreted his Rasta-speak correctly.
So onto Nouvelle Vague who, frankly, I’d never heard of. But they’ll have gained a few extra Jersey fans with this knock-out performance. Their specialty is in covering New Wave numbers with drive and not a little flair. Visually it’s all about the girl singers. Apparently the girls vary but this lively pair were a mixture of Agnetha, Anna-Fried and Liza Minelli. They sang brilliantly, interacted and danced together and put on a great bit of theatre. Behind them a keyboard and a heavy rhythm section drove the whole thing along. A great set including the Dead Kennedy’s Too Drunk To Fuck which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed singing along to. I hope the Bailiff doesn’t hear about it. These guys will be welcome back any time.
I was necking a beer in the hospitality tent when the opening bars of Brown Eyed Girl struck up, sending us all scurrying for the main tent. The Man Himself was in town. And he didn’t disappoint. Complete with cravat, dark glasses and trilby the legend that is Van Morrison was playing the People’s Park, a bit surreal in itself. Backed by half an orchestra, heavy on the brass, Morrison gave a great show. No chatting, no banter with the audience, just 90 minutes of his back catalogue which, of course, we were there to hear. Going way back to his Them days many of his classics were there; Bright Side Of The Road, Days Like This, Moondance, In The Midnight Hour, Whenever God Shines His Light, my favourite Have I Told You Lately and many more.
Morrison’s voice is as good and strong as ever. He has no chat but he gives his performance all he’s got and the excellent band play no small part in the deliverance. And, having opened with BEG there was never a doubt what was going to close the show. As The Man disappeared offstage, never to reappear, a stunning, loud Gloria outro by the band will have kept the neighbours awake a while longer.