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Van Morrison playing live in 2011 Photo by: Google Images

Van Morrison performs to a crowd of 900

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Van Morrison playing live in 2011 Photo by: Google Images

Van Morrison took to the stage this weekend, marking his first public appearance since the deaths of his lover Gigi Lee and their child, George Ivan Morrison III.

Morrison, wearing a flat cap and long trench coat, kept his head down as he made his way from his BMW into the event, according to the Irish Independent.

The heartbroken singer performed in front of a small audience in Belfast's Culloden Estate Hotel on Saturday night. The gig was held in aid of the local arts center, The Lyric Theatre.

The crowd, who had to shell out €2,400 per table for the event, gave the Belfast-born star a warm reception.

Golfer Darren Clarke was among the guests at the black-tie affair.

"Van the Man will be awesome," he tweeted.

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"It's a huge honour to be here tonight. It's been so long since his last performance," said another attendee. "But given the truly awful year he has had, I think it will be very emotional for everyone there.

"There won't be a dry eye tonight. You'd want to be made of stone not to feel for him. Your heart has to go out to the man."

The guests made their way into the Stuart Suite, following a champagne reception and dinner. Then, the 66-year-old Morrison took to the stage and delivered a "vintage Van performance" for the 900 fans.

It has been a little over 12 weeks since Ms Lee died from throat cancer on October 7 and a year since his son died suddenly after slipping into a diabetic coma.

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