ROCK 'n' ROLL RUNDOWN: Van Mo, Levon Helm, U2, Allman Brothers Band | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / August 7.
  • ROCK 'n' ROLL RUNDOWN: Van Mo, Levon Helm, U2, Allman Brothers Band

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    What a great week for rock ‘n’ roll in New York City.

    Van Morrison, Levon Helm, U2 and The Allman Brothers Band are all in town and I’m doing my best to see all of them before the Big East Tournament kicks in Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

    I’ve spent each of the last two nights at the new and improved Beacon Theater at 74th and Broadway, the best arena to see live music anywhere.

    On Wednesday I moved down to the front row of the Loge (the best seats in the house) to see Van Morrison perform Astral Weeks live. The first set was a tour de force of greatest hits, with the highlights for me including “Caravan,” “Moondance” and “Comfortably Numb.” See the video above.

    For the second set Van did a set wardrobe change and came out and performed all of “Astral Weeks” before closing with “Gloria.”

    I’d heard all sorts of things about how prickly Van can be in concert, but this was an awesome performance and everyone enjoyed it.

    The only  bummer was that Van is in recovery and you couldn’t get a beer after the show started.

    Van also apparently felt it necessary to slam The Beatles, which is unfortunate.

    “The Beatles were peripheral,” he said. “If you had more knowledge of music, it didn’t really mean anything. To me, it was meaningless.”

    Last night I was back at the Beacon and back in the Loge for the Levon Helm Band. A founding member of The Band, Levon is now in his mid-60s and has recovered from throat cancer.

    The highlight for me was when Paterson, N.J.’s own Jimmy Vivino covered “It Makes No Difference,” written by the late Rick Danko. Vivino acknowledged that it would never be his song, but his inspired version brought a tear to my eye.

    The band closed with great renditions of “The Weight” and “I Shall Be Released.” There were some empty seats in the house, which made it easier to get up and move about. And yes, Levon allowed the sale of beer. Thank God.

    U2 played all week on Letterman and on Thursday night even gave a little tribute to The Ramones when Bono sang a few notes of “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.”

    This morning my wife, Jen — who toured with and has met Bono — was all fired up to go see U2 perform live at Fordham University, but we were told she couldn’t get in without a student ID and a special pass. So we stayed at home and watched Bono and the boys perform “Beautiful Day” on Good Morning America.

    The Allman Brothers Band come to the Beacon for 15 shows beginning Monday, and I’ll probably hit 2 or 3 on hoopless nights.

    Last year’s “Peakin’ at the Beacon”  run was postponed when Gregg Allman came down with Hepatitis-C.

    But this year’s run promises to be special. The band is paying tribute to the late Duane “Skydog” Allman and among the special guests rumored to be making appearances are Boz Scaggs and Eric Clapton, who played with Duane a number of times.

    “We’re dedicating this whole run to my brother [Duane] and the people he played with, and we’re having special guests come in,” Gregg Allman told Time Out New York. “We’ve confirmed more than we can use. I’m not going to confirm who they are…I’m really excited about it, and I’m the last one to get excited.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.