Released in 1970 and featured on his groundbreaking third album Moondance, Van Morrison’s ethereal “Into the Mystic” is the perfect example of what happens when a songwriter strikes gold. By its very a nature, “Into the Mystic” is a deeply introspective track about spiritual journeys and finding your place somewhere in the universe’s master plan and more than 40 years after its birth, with its ability to take us to the hazy, watery place in between dreams and reality, Van Morrison’s lyrical masterpiece stands out as the impossibly high mark for which modern songwriters aim.
“Into the Mystic” is gorgeous as a studio performance, but as a live performance, it’s an absolute wonder. The video below showcases the full scope of Van Morrison’s magic both as a songwriter and musician; seen performing during a 1974 episode of Musikladen, Morrison breathes stunning new life into “Into the Mystic,” that warm and full feeling translating beautifully to a live setting as all of the song’s various moving parts come into sharp focus. That gorgeous hazy feeling is there, but it’s impossible to watch and not get swept away in the undertow.
Fun Fact: Compared to ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles, it has been described as “another song where the music and the words seem to have been born together, at the same time, to make one perfectly formed, complete artistic element.“
Some songs are just meant to be – “Into The Mystic” is one of those. It may have been covered by countless artists over time, but the power behind it is always lost somehow. Van Morrison has never been better than in this performance, and drives home every single reason why this classic has stood the test of time so beautifully.