Yusuf/Cat Stevens Captured – or Recaptured – Our Hearts
I admit it – I have been a star-struck fan-girl of Yusuf/Cat Stevens from his beginnings in the late 1960s! I cannot remember the first song of his that I heard but I do recall thinking that I’d love him forever. I was thrilled beyond measure when he announced that he would once again be able to perform in the United States and apoplectic when Boston was chosen as one of the five cities in which he would perform! Forty years are too long to wait to see one of your very favorite musicians in person (I saw him twice in 1974)…
Last night, Yusuf/Cat (I can’t help it, I still want to call him Cat) brought his Peace Train…Late Again tour to the Wang Theatre which is the same venue in which he performed his last Boston show in 1976. What a magical evening this was for me and the 3,600 other fans in attendance.
I was not surprised that we had to pass through metal detectors on our way into the historic theatre, but even the intense security did nothing to quell my excitement. Neither did the long lines at the merchandise table, which I was lucky enough to avoid because I arrived early (and was lucky enough to get a t-shirt that reads ‘Oh Baby It’s a Wild World’).
The stage looks like a train station, and even had tracks laid on it which people in the orchestra were probably not able to see. Everyone was waiting for the Peace Train – in the form of Yusuf/Cat – to arrive…
As soon as the lights dimmed and Yusuf/Cat took the stage, the audience rose and gave him an extended ovation which he graciously and gratefully acknowledged. If he had been unsure of the reception he would receive on his first tour in the US in 38 years, any fears were dispelled by that greeting.
The first number, ‘The Wind’, was somewhat mellow and featured Yusuf/Cat and Alun Davies on guitars. What a fabulous start! I was thrilled to notice that his voice has hardly changed over these many years; it may be slightly deeper, but it’s as honey-filled as ever.
After the first song ended, the rest of the band joined Yusuf/Cat and Alun on stage and they launched into ‘Here Comes My Baby’ and ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’. The latter is a song many people do not realize was written by Yusuf/Cat and not by Rod Stewart.
The setlist ranged from ‘I Love My Dog’ which was his first hit in 1966 to several songs from his new album, ‘Tell ‘Em I’m Gone’. Even though I would have been happy if he’d played the albums ‘Tea for the Tillerman’, ‘Mona Bone Jakon’, and ‘Teaser and the Firecat’ in their entireties, I think the setlist was very well curated. Sure, there were songs I wish he’d played – ‘Maybe You’re Right’, ‘Into White’, and ‘How Can I Tell You’, to name a few – but there will almost always be a favorite song or two that a musician does not play at a live show and that does not detract from my enjoyment of a live performance.
They performed several cover songs which surprised me a bit since his own catalog is so extensive. The covers were fantastic, though – ‘You Are My Sunshine’, which appears on the new album, Sam Cooke’s ‘Another Saturday Night’, Jimmy Reed’s ‘Big Boss Man’, and Edgar Winter’s ‘Dying to Live’.
His band is extraordinary. In addition to Alun on guitar, the band includes Pete Adams on keyboards, Stefan Fuhr on bass, Eric Appopoulay on guitar, Matt Sweeney on guitar, and Kwame Yeboah on drums, guitar and keyboard. Yusuf/Cat switched from guitar to keyboard several times during the show, but stayed mostly center stage with a guitar.
People called out requests and expressions of love throughout the show; Yusuf/Cat accepted them with humor and/or humility.
I hope that this mini-tour was his way of testing the waters to see if a full tour could be successful. Judging by this show, I think the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!!!’ There is no question that, if a tour is scheduled for next year, I will be on that Peace Train again.
His music has brought me joy and helped me through difficult times throughout the 45 or so years that I have been listening to it. He is a legend, and I hope many of you have the opportunity to experience the same joy I felt on Sunday night when he comes to a city near you.
Thank you, Yusuf/Cat. Love always, A Fan-Girl
Posted on December 9, 2014, in concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged Alun Davies, boston, Cat Stevens, concert review, folk-rock, music, Peace Train, wang theatre, Yusuf, Yusuf Islam. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.