Sunday, 31 May 2009

28 May 2009 - Cat Stevens, Shepherds Bush

Cat's still cool

Baaba Maal nearly stole the show, Bono tried to steal it, but the modest man himself came shining through - part of Island Record's 50th birthday events.

Fronting the opening act (Noxshi) was a tall, leggy young fella, face hidden behind a curtain of dark wavy hair - reminded me of a typical 70s singer - you idiot, YGB, that's the main man's son, Yoriyos. Nice touch, a sort of Father and Son reunion. Then like I said, the next act, Senegalese Baaba Maal, played a fantastic French-African set, more Graceland than Paul Simon's and loads of infectious (African) drums - these guys really let rip and BM's voice is something else.

And yet - the audience had been waiting a long time (in some cases, ahem, a very long time) to see Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens. Maybe not quite the Second Coming (ref. Led Zep) but his songs have been humming along in most people's subconscious for ever. Remember that sone you sang in school assembly/church - 'Morning Has Broken'? - yup, that's one of his. Anyway, once Bono had finished his "surprise" guest appearance/encore with Baaba Maal, the show finally got down to business. It was much like seeing Leonard Cohen at the O2 last year - the audience and artist equally delighted to be there and Cat/Yusuf had much the same gentle graciousness at Mr C. Not that it was a "soft" set - we got a couple of 'Yusuf' songs from his latest album "Roadsinger" and a hefty chunk of 'Cat' back catalogue. At one point he paused to tell the story of his recent deportation from the USA when a gung-ho Department of Homeland Security mistook him for a terrorist suspect (similar name, different spelling). He held up a Wanted poster of Cat Stevens, saying "I am not that man .. I am a man of peace". 'Peace Train' rounded off a very special evening - make sure you catch the clips of the show on Youtube.


  • Welcome Home
  • Lilywhite
  • Don't Be Shy
  • Where Do The Children Play?
  • Thinking 'Bout You
  • The Rain
  • Just Another Night
  • Miles From Nowhere
  • To Be What You Must
  • The Wind
  • Wild World (dedicated to his granddaughters)
  • Boots and Sand
  • Ruins
  • Roadsinger
  • Father and Son
  • Peace Train