Van Morrison sings for rehab charity

MusicBy Sunday World
Van Morrison sings for rehab charity

Sir Van Morrison performed an intimate concert for just 400 people in London on Wednesday night (24.06.15) which helped raise close to £100,000 for charity.

One of the world's greatest singer/songwriters, Morrison took to the stage at Porchester Hall at the 'Life & Soul' event which was held in honour of rehabilitation expert Chip Somers to raise funds and awareness of his abstinence clinic Focus 12.

The soul and jazz icon - who just a few days ago was given a Knighthood as part of the Queen's birthday honours list - played such magical captivating music that after just three songs people left their comfortably plush £140 dinner seats and tables strewn with the finest wine and champagne to dance in front of the stage making it an evening that no one in attendance would ever forget.

Morrison delved into his unparalleled back catalogue to transport the audience into musical ecstasy with songs such as 'Brown Eyed Girl', 'Gloria', 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'Wild Nights'.

The 69-year-old musician - dressed in a grey suit, porkpie hat and sunglasses - didn't say anything to the rapturous crowd but he didn't need to as his wondrous spiritual songs said it all.

Before he began his set, guests were treated to a three-course meal which was then followed by an auction of celebrity items which included a guitar donated by Ed Sheeran and another guitar signed by Van Morrison, Pete Townsend and Johnny Marr.

Madness frontman Suggs acted as compere for the sale and to accelerate the bidding on Ed's instrument, he cheekily said: "Come on, this is a wonderful opportunity to own something so precious that even if you don't have any musical talent just by strumming this guitar you will have a top 20 hit!"

When bids were slow coming in for the opportunity to stay at Suggs' own Italian villa, he said: "This is my beautiful house. It's so beautiful it's easy for me to rent it out for £6,000 a week. You will have the time of your life, but only if the price is right."

The guitar signed by the trio of music legends sold for £3,000 and many of the generous guests dug deep into their pockets to bring the final total raised to six figures, although the final total is still be counted.

One guest said: "I have bid £6,000 for various items tonight. My mum had a devastating addiction which eventually killed her. This is my way of helping other people who have the same problems and making sure their lives don't end in death but are turned around."

Russell Brand - who was helped by Chip to overcome his own substance abuse issues and has since personally sponsored dozens of individuals to go through the Focus 12 programme - attended the event and was quick to heckle Suggs when there was a technical problem with a video that should have shown a host of tributes to Chip, including one from the 'Get Him to the Greek' star.

The star jokingly shouted: "What should we do now? Suggs, do you want to sing 'Our House' while we are waiting? Or should I recite my list of ex-lovers!"

Other celebrities in attendance included Fifi Geldof and Noel Gallagher's ex-wife Meg Matthews.

Focus 12 - whose longest serving patron is Davina McCall - has a well-earned and significant reputation for successfully helping people and also addresses deeply ingrained family issues and rifts, mental health conditions, personality disorders, other addictions, unemployment, housing issues, re-offending and education.

Speaking about what the 'Life & Soul' event meant to him, Chip told BANG Showbiz: "This evening means so much to me. When you have personally experienced the devastating effects of addition you are in a much better place to help addicts. It's a horrific illness which ruins lives. I am so thrilled that Van Morrison agreed to perform for us tonight."