I showed a "Groupie" poster in my last post and, in November, I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience of following one of my favorite artists (and object of my teenage obsession) across Europe.
For my birthday, my thoughtful boyfriend planned a trip to Europe to see Yusuf/Cat Stevens (he goes by both or either name now) in concert twice (Paris and Berlin) and Morrissey once (Antwerp). Through my pleading Somehow, we ended up seeing Cat Stevens a third time in Dusseldorf and Morrissey again in London.
I saw Cat Stevens in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1976, and again in Brussels in 2010. He’s released a new blues and R & B album, and I admire him for going back to his roots and recording tunes that got him into music in the 1960s, since so many musical artists who were big in that period are now doing ‘safe’ pop music.
There were only slight variations in the playlists of the three concerts—all combined his older music (going back to 1966 with “I Love My Dog”) with a good number of his new songs. Cat was out of the limelight, not touring or recording (or smoking) for decades, and I think his voice and performance were all the better for it. He looked like he was having a blast, more so than in the 70s. His voice is unchanged (which you can’t say for others of his generation, such as Bob Dylan). It still has that deep caramel-y quality with those lovely growls (I'm thinking of my favorite song “Sitting”). Alun Davies, his talented, long-time guitarist accompanied him for the entire European and North American tour. The rest of the band were very tight and seemed to be having a good time, too.
The stage set at each venue looked like an abandoned train station (i.e. waiting for the Peace Train).
I had bought this dress at my local charity shop a couple years ago in spite of the fact that I couldn’t zip it up and still breathe with ease. When my boyfriend bought our concert tickets on September 5, I vowed that in the ensuing 9 weeks, I’d lose enough weight to fit into it for the Paris concert. And I did.
Here's a nearly identical one (for substantially more than what I paid).
Another 1970s velvet Pakistani bag that I’ve added to my collection.
In addition to hearing the song “Sitting” live three times, a highlight was a second encore in Paris in which Cat performed the heart-felt song, “Trouble.”
Here's an odd coincidence--I only found out a couple years after we met that my boyfriend, according to his mother, is distantly related to Cat Stevens’ spouse.