Van Morrison to Electrify Hard Rock Live Wednesday

Despite an elusive persona often described as gruff, irascible, and, lately, maybe a wee bit randy, Van Morrison's musical moves have always attracted notice. He initially seized the spotlight in the mid-'60s when he fronted the Irish band Them and sang/snarled its standard, "Gloria." A prolific solo career birthed the cover-band staple "Brown Eyed Girl"; landmark efforts like Astral Weeks, Tupelo Honey, and Moondance; and nearly 40 other genre-shifting albums.

Still, his personal life remains a mystery. This past December, his website announced that at age 64, he was again a proud papa and that the mother was a longtime associate, Gigi Lee. Morrison later denied putting up the post, claiming that his site had been hacked and that he was still happily married to wife Michelle, a former Miss Ireland. His PR rep went so far as to claim that Van didn't even know Lee, although she's allegedly his road manager and intimately involved, uh, with his business interests.

So perhaps it's good timing that this tour — his first extended excursion in recent memory — puts him back on the road and takes attention off the scandal. When he's not sowing his seed, he's revisiting his roots via live performances of Astral Weeks at the Hollywood Bowl in 2008, a series of recent reissues, and his latest studio set, Keep It Simple, which surveyed his blues, country and R&B influences. Consequently, any visit from Van ought to satisfy his fans.

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Lee Zimmerman