Cat Stevens, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne. November 28, 2017
Review by Mark Moray & Ros Jason. Photos by Mark Moray, Wicked Rock Photography
In an era when music is divided between reality TV such as “The Voice’ and self produced ‘YouTube’ sessions, there was once a time when all you had was a voice and a guitar which really meant something. If you were a teenager in the late 60’s and 70’s then Cat Stevens was that something. The Rod Laver Arena stage was set with a backdrop of a London train station, where Cat Stevens, or Yusuf as he is now known, accompanied by his fabulous ensemble, began to take his audience on a musical journey from his early years with songs including ‘Where do the Children Play’, ‘Miles from Nowhere’ and ‘Moonshadow’. The second set revealed a recreation of his attic, where he grooved to the sounds of the Beatles and The Everly Brothers, his early musical influences. Highlights included ‘Sad Lisa’, ‘Matthew & Son’, ‘Tea for the Tillerman’, ‘On The Road To Find Out’ and ‘Father and Son’, with the final encore ‘Morning has Broken’. The show was interspersed with Yusuf’s stories and warm anecdotes, giving a feeling of personal connection, further enhanced by stunning photographic and illustrated backdrops complimenting each piece. Yusuf thrilled his rapt audience with one iconic song after the other, including one or two from his latest album. There was a taste of the blues, a dash of reggae and a splash of bouzouki in the mix, all deepening the richness of the experience. This was certainly a concert with songs of the past that have profound relevance in the present and that should resonate well into the future. After all, we are living in a ‘Wild World’ and we need that ‘Peace Train’ more than ever.