Rocks Off was really, really, really looking forward to seeing Van Morrison at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Saturday night. We read the new book by Greil Marcus, perhaps the most erudite rock critic of all time, When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison, cover to cover in one sitting earlier this week. Then we downloaded Astral Weeks, which we had never actually owned before (we know, bad music critic!), in the hopes of blogging about it to advance the show. Hell, we still might. But it looks like Morrison will have to muddle through his first appearance in the Houston area in more than 20 years without us, because Rocks Off was informed earlier today that "The Man" is not allowing reviewers or photographers at his shows unless he is in an especially good mood, and let's just say we're less than hopeful about that. (Particularly should he get wind of this blog.) But hey, we saw him at the Austin City Limits Festival in 2006 - which, by the way, is available on DVD - so we'll live. But alienating the media is one thing - one thing that, as Marcus mentions briefly in his book, Morrison has taken a perverse sort of pleasure in over the years. Alienating the people who have paid as much as $350 - no, we didn't stutter, that's $350 American dollars - to see him is another. A couple of hours ago now, one Van Morrison ticketholder forwarded Rocks Off an email she and other subscribers got in an email blast from the Pavilion with a list of dos and don'ts for Saturday night's show. Then she posted it on the Internet, releasing it into the public domain. Besides the stuff that we already knew, like that Morrison will go on at 8 p.m. sharp with no opener, among the other "unique items" the Pavilion informed ticketholders about Saturday's show is that no "alcohol-related beverages" will be served during Morrison's performance. The Pavilion will suspend alcohol sales at 7:50 p.m., the same time that Morrison has "requested" that all ticketholders be in their seats. Really, we're only talking about a couple of hours without booze here, and Rocks Off knows from personal experience that the beers at the Woodlands can take quite a while to polish off. Morrison may well be halfway through "Brown-Eyed Girl" before you go dry; we're just assuming he won't stomp offstage if he sees someone sipping a beer they bought prior to taking their seat. But hey, you never know. Still, we can only imagine that with a thirsty crowd like Morrison's is bound to be, the Pavilion's concession revenue is going to take a substantial hit. In fact, Morrison is about the only artist we can even think of who could get away with such a demand, especially because (as you can read in this article in last Sunday's New York Times) facilities like the Pavilion make a large part of the money they get to keep not off ticket sales but concessions, parking fees and the like. Apparently tickets are still available, if you're willing to put up with Morrison's stipulations. And it is going to be a good show... you could even say Morrison is just trying to help you enjoy it even more by making sure you remember it a little more clearly. If we were going - which, like we said, is highly unlikely at this point - Rocks Off thinks we could probably do without the beer or two we might (OK, probably would) consume during Morrison's set. But we still think it's kind of a dick move for him to not even give people who have already shelled out so much for tickets the option. But Van, no hard feelings, dude. Knock 'em out on "Gloria." We know you will. But to tell you the truth, Rocks Off really wanted to see the Dead Weather anyway.
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