Looking through a foreign window: Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and The Parthenon

In 1991 the BBC produced a documentary on the mercurial Irish master Van Morrison titled One Irish Rover after Van’s song by the same name from his 1986 record No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.  In a review by Ken Tucker for Entertainment Weekly he stated of Rover:

“For years, Morrison’s American concerts have been characterized by perfunctory playing and a stubborn unwillingness to perform the ’70s hits that made him famous. In One Irish Rover, though, he’s relaxed and playful, and doesn’t even mind howling out a delightfully loose version of ”Moondance.” That may be because he’s surrounded by friends: In Greece, sitting in the shadow of the Acropolis, Morrison strums guitars with Bob Dylan; sitting on a little wooden dock in the Louisiana bayou, he growls out blues with John Lee Hooker; we see him in London singing with his old chum, keyboardist Georgie Fame, and in Belfast, harmonizing with the Chieftains.”

HOLD ON. There was one part of that I must have misread. Van and Bob sitting in the shadow of the Acropolis strumming guitars?!?  That would mean that somewhere on this Earth there is video of Van Morrison and Bob Dylan playing together on a hillside in Greece overlooking the Parthenon?!?  That was something beyond the realm of my imagination.

Somehow this video does exist and it is more incredible than I was unable to imagine.  Here for your enjoyment, and to steal a phrase from Van – bring you a sense of wonder – are two videos of two masters in the Eden of western philosophy and thought.  The first is only stunning and incredible as Van Morrison and Bob Dylan work out Van’s well known song “Crazy Love” from his popular album Moondance:

For me this second clip is the holy grail of rare music video.  Bob himself in his wonderful memoir, Chronicles: Volume One, riffs about witnessing a brief little piece of video that is supposedly of blues legend Robert Johnson and how deeply the image effected him.  Well this is that for me. Here is “Foreign Window” from Van’s No Guru record:

As if the performance isn’t earth shattering enough, Van introduces the clip by saying part of “Foreign Window” could have been about Dylan and that he only came to that realization during their moment together, which elevates this clip to another stratosphere!  You can tell Van’s performance was infused with the spirit of that ignited revelation.

They used to build churches and cathedrals in spots where historical religious events were believed to have taken place. I think I may book my flight tonight and be the one to lay the first brick on this spot! Upon completion of St. Dylamorrison, services will be open to everyone.

Here are the lyrics to “Foreign Window” written by Van Morrison:

Van Morrison Foreign Window

I saw you from a foreign window
Bearing down the sufferin’ road
You were carryin’ your burden
To the palace of the Lord
To the palace of the Lord
I spied you from a foreign window
When the lilacs were in bloom

And the sun shone through your window pane
To the place you kept your books
You were reading on your sofa
You were singin’ every prayer
That the masters had instilled in you
Since Lord Byron loved despair
In the palace of the Lord
In the palace of the Lord

Bridge:
And if you get it right this time
You don’t have to come back again
And if you get it right this time
There’s no need to explain

I saw you from a foreign
Bearing down the sufferin’ road
You were carryin’ your burden
You were singing about Rimbaud
I was going down to Geneva
When the Kingdom had been found
I was giving you protection
From the loneliness of the crowd
In the palace of the Lord
In the palace of the Lord

They were giving you religion
Breaking bread and drinking wine
And you laid out on the green hills
Just like when you were a child
I saw you from a foreign window
You were trying to find your way back home
You were carrying your defects
Sleeping on a pallet on the floor
In the palace of the Lord
In the palace of the Lord
In the palace of the Lord

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