fans adventure at Porchester
March 1, 2007
Photo by Joanne
of the program courtesy of SuzieQ)
absolutely perfect evening. Not only free tickets,
which I'm sure we would have all been willing
to pay for, but the best seats in the house,
at the front in the centre
said to Joanne earlier in the day I hope he
plays Wind East and West and The Beloved, my
absolute favourite at the moment. I couldn't
believe it when his opening song was in fact
Wind East and West. Here's a complete listing
East and West
Don't Be Shy
Maybe There's a World
In the End
Where Do the Children Play - twice
The Little Ones
I Think I See The Light
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Heaven/Where True Love Goes
How Long/ Peace Train Blues
The Beloved - twice
Father & Son - twice
Wild World - Zulu
absolutely amazing performance, with only a
very brief break near the end because of problems
with the lighting. This meant we heard 3 of
the songs twice as he repeated them, I'm delighted
that The Beloved was one of them, the live performance
was fantastic. The whole performance was fantastic,
and Yusuf looked like he was enjoying himself
as much as we were and was in good humour throughout.
During Father & Son as the lights went off
he sang "its hard when the lights go out"
or something to that effect, but still continued
to the end of the song
meet Yusuf & his wife after just made a
perfect evening even better, if that's possible.
Fauzia (hope I've spelt that right) is a lovely
lady and Yusuf a very warm genuine person, we
had photos and autographs. What more could we
have asked for.
the way to the Porchester Hall
in the hall, we were seated one table behind
the front, bang in middle, so we had the best
of views, as Joanne and I reached our table,
Jon and his daughter Rachael, were talking with
Alun Davis! Then Joanne was introduced to him,
he was told that she had just flown in from
Boston for the show, and they were shaking hands
and then Alun turned to me, “I’m
afraid I have only come from Leicester”
I said laughing, and Alun said “Well I
can still shake your hand can’t I! And
he was laughing too.
Shortly after that, Joanne and I had pictures
taken with Alun!!!
Joanne and Alun Davies
Cristalina, Marier, Jon Gregson and his daughter
took a few photo shots of Yusuf, but in the
interval/ between takes, I was told off for
using my camera.
are some of what you have all been waiting for.
the concert, I overheard someone ask if they
could go back to see Yusuf, and he was told
that the guy in the white shirt was the one
it’s not like me to be so pushy but,…..
I almost broke the land speed record and ran
across the hall to speak to THE Guy, I said
to him that we were from the Majicat website
and wondered if we could possibly see Yusuf,
he said “I will have to ask as he has
a dressing room full of family” and off
he went, so I rounded up as many of us that
I could as most people had now left, and we
waited, Then the Guy (sorry don’t know
his name) came back with a big thumbs up Yeahhhhhhhh!
tell you the night just kept getting better
was first in the door, being pushy again!!!
And saw Yusuf hugging someone, I waited a while,
then I caught his eye and said (while shaking
Hello I’m Sue (SuzieQ) Yusuf said "Oh
yes, SuzieQ Five Stars"!!! Ohhh he knows
of me!!!!!! so then I asked Yusuf, “So
does that mean you look in on us?” Yusuf
answered, “When I have looked through
the BBC stuff and read all of my emails, I think
umm, I wonder what they are talking about today”!!!
I shook hands with Fauzia and said a big thank
you to her.
other girls introduced themselves using their
web names, he recognized us all!!! at this stage
I was all quite overwhelmed as you can imagine,
there HE was, right in front of me!!! We spoke
about his Granddaughter, Ariana (I do hope I
spelt it right) He was explaining where the
name came from, and there she was, Ariana, in
her mothers arms just at the side of us, the
most beautiful little girl, with lovely black
hair. Then Marier asked if it was possible to
have a picture of us all together, after asking
Fauzia and Muhammad, Yusuf said yes, it was
ok, so I went to take a picture, Yusuf said
to me, “Oh, you must be in the picture
too” so I turned around and asked a nice
gentleman if he would take the picture for me.
Yusuf said, “He is the right man to take
the picture, That's Peter Sanders, He is the
photographer that took the picture for the album,
(this is the same one that is and on the ‘Menu’
for this nights event). He also mentioned that
he had taken pictures of someone else very famous,
but for the life of me I can’t recall
who at the moment, Yusuf also mentioned that
this picture was taken in Dubai.
(The picture of Yusuf, sitting at a table, drinking
coffee, with the poster behind him and his guitar
at his side.)
From left to right
SuzieQ, HardheadedSofthrtd Joanne, Muhammad,
Yusuf, Majid (Yusuf's son-in-law),
Cristalina an Marier
and editorial by SuzieQ (5
editorial and photographs:
what a night! Yusuf was just outstanding. He
seemed very comfortable on stage and was like
he had never been away. The stage setting was
great, very eastern and the atmosphere was very
relaxed. Most of the songs Yusuf sang were from
An Other Cup, but he also sang Father &
Son and a new version of Wild World (with zulo
incorporated). Because of problem with the lighting
he had to repeat Where do the Children Play,
The Beloved and Father & Son, which we were
all delighted about of course. Yusuf "live"
is even better than his album, if that's at
now for the best bit.......... all four of us
met Yusuf and his family afterwards. A big big
thank you to Sue who persuaded a nice man to
ask Yusuf if we could meet with him. We were
taken into a sort of hospitality room where
Yusuf, his wife, children and friends were and
we spoke to him and his wife for about 10/15
minutes. What a lovely lovely man with a lovely
lovely family. We had photos taken with Yusuf
(to be posted here soon). This was the icing
on the cake at the end of a night I won't ever
Table Group Photo
Editorial (edited version) to read
her full story.....
was awakened an hour later by the telephone
– it was Sue calling to let me know she’d
arrived and was at the same hotel! Wheehoo!
She dropped in an hour later and we had a great
chat. Doreen (Cristalina) arrived an hour or
so later, and we all had a lovely visit.
made our way to the hall, planning to arrive
an hour before the doors were scheduled to open
so that we might grab a quick dinner at a little
tapas restaurant just across the street. However,
upon arrival, we observed that there were already
a few folks queuing up in the entryway. Still
not realizing our seats were reserved, we opted
to get in line and skip the food. We decided
to locate the artists’ entrance, thinking
we might try to get a post-show autograph. Sue
and I went outside, leaving Doreen to hold our
place in the queue. As we rounded the corner,
a woman I’d seen outside earlier in the
day asked, “Have you really come all the
way from Boston just for this?”
I replied. “And I fly back tomorrow.”
come here. I’ve got a bit of a treat for
you,” she said. She introduced herself
as Janet and she proceeded to escort Sue and
me into one of the BBC production trucks, saying
that they were just about to start up rehearsals
and that she thought we might enjoy getting
a sneak preview of Yusuf on the monitors. Neat-o!
Alas, Yusuf did not appear on the screens. Rather,
a stand-in was used. So there we were, Sue and
myself, watching a quite handsome young man
(if you’re reading this, You know who
you are! ) standing behind the main mic and
holding a guitar while Janet directed various
cameramen, lighting techs, et al, in preparation
for the night’s event. Sue asked whether
it would be alright if she took some photos,
and they had no objection. She even managed
to take a bit of video. After a bit, Sue popped
back to the queue intending to send Doreen out
to take her place in the truck, but unfortunately
just then additional personnel began to arrive
and we needed to leave to make room for them.
and his lovely daughter Rachel joined us in
line, and Marie followed soon thereafter. Six
of us, all from the site – perfect!
enough, the velvet rope was unhooked from the
stanchion and we were checked in two by two.
Once we were issued our table numbers, we were
directed to a small bar area where we were able
to buy a drink. (There may not have been alcohol
during the actual performance, but it wasn’t
entirely absent. I truly think one main reasons
for the "no alcohol during show time"
rule was to minimize foot traffic during filming.
But I digress…)
we had finished our beverages, it was time to
take our seats. I made a quick trip to the ladies’
room and took a moment to speak with Yusuf’s
brother, David, before heading back to the bar
area. As I made my way up the stairs, someone
introduced me to Alan Yentob (from the “Imagine”
documentary), telling him about my journey.
Seems my little tale had made the rounds a bit.
LOL We briefly saw Muhammad in the entryway
to the performance space, and, once inside,
were pretty much flabbergasted by our table’s
proximity to the stage! Really, it couldn’t
have been any more perfect!
thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the set had developed
from the nascent stage I’d seen it in
earlier in the day. John introduced me to Alun
Davies, who was mingling among the guests prior
to the show, and, as Sue has already mentioned,
we each took the other’s photo with him.
He’s a lovely, lovely chap, quite friendly
we settled into our seats and things got underway
shortly. A PA made a couple of announcements,
including one asking us to remain seated during
the performance (hence my opinion on the beverage
service situation) and another letting us know
we would be permitted to take photos prior to
the performance but not during. Another woman
appeared a little while later to introduce Yusuf…and
this is where I am at a loss for words, quite
frankly. My immediate impression was: Wow! He
looks great! So relaxed, at ease, great outfit,
the colors really suit him, etc. Then I thought,
“I’m really here! We’re all
really here!” LOL
then he began to sing…what can I say?
Sublime! The set list, which Doreen has already
kindly posted, included so many wonderful pieces!
A real pleasure, for me, was to again hear “Wind
East West”, this time with additional
instrumentation. The rendition back at the Royal
Albert Hall in ’03 was beautiful, as was
this newer one. I can’t say as I have
a preference for either; they are both gorgeous
in their own right.
to hear “Don’t Be Shy”! Pure
bliss! “I Think I See the Light”,
“Heaven/Where True Love Goes”, and
“The Beloved”, all from the new
album, were, quite simply put, magnificent.
Joyous, joyous music, meant for sharing live.
Rollicking is the word that springs to mind.
“How Long/Peace Train Blues” was
a special treat – a truly unique take
on a song which he’s now re-worked into
several variations over the course of his career.
can’t tell you how often I felt tears
trickling down my cheeks as wave upon wave of
a variety of emotions coursed through me, the
dominant one being joy. Pure and simple joy
to be experiencing such beauty as this music,
this happy noise, this connection of ideas and
philosophies that we are indeed all one, all
essentially the same even with, or perhaps in
spite of, what we think of as our cultural differences.
the lights went a bit wonky and only the band
was properly lit, I must confess I found it
quite appealing. It seemed to me that this was
how someone would have seen him “back
in the day”, before the more elaborate
productions later in his career. And having
never had the opportunity to attend a show back
then, I got a kick out of visualizing that.
the show had ended, I was extraordinarily pleased
that my friend who had arranged my tickets managed
to locate me and say hello at last, having never
met before. I do hope I thoroughly expressed
my immense gratitude; I felt truly blessed to
be there. My friend told me that when he’d
told Yusuf that I’d be coming to the show,
Yusuf said he was “so happy” to
know I’d be there. LOL! Not half as happy
as I, I thought! Haha! Really, I was a bit flummoxed
when he told me that, yet really pleased.
will say it was lovely to meet everyone and
that, while we posed for our photos, I whispered
to Muhammad that I was enjoying his new album.
When Yusuf asked what I thought of the set design,
due to my long friendship with Jon (a production
manager here in Boston), I was put right at
ease, feeling somewhat conversant on the subject.
I told him I liked it very much, pointing out
the “cupolas” when I think in fact
the word I’d wanted was “arches”.
(I still think there is a more specific term
I wanted to use, but for the life of me I can't
think of it!) No wonder a blank look crossed
his face. “Coversant” my zzz! LOL
He said thought was being given to doing similar,
small “café-style” shows
such as the one we’d just enjoyed, perhaps
with a question and answer session included
and wanted to know my thoughts on that. Well!
Haha! I remained calm (I think!) and told him
I thought it a wonderful concept, remarking
that the set certainly looked as though it were
built for travel.
and as we left the backstage area, I remembered
to say, “Vivian says ‘Hello!’”
which got a lovely smile from Yusuf.
had to make her way home, but Doreen, Sue and
I went round to the Porchester for a quick drink.
A man and woman sitting on a bench waved me
over. I approached and said, “Do I know
you?” LOL The man said, “We were
just at the same concert and backstage.”
I was slightly embarrassed, but I’d honestly
not noticed them. We all three joined them for
a drink and it turned out his name is Martin
(Hayes?) and he’s working with Yusuf on
the Moonshadow musical production. If I recall
correctly, he said he’s Yusuf’s
musical director. We had a great chat with him
and his wife, Holly. Lovely people. At one point,
Martin asked how I’d gotten “into”
Yusuf’s music and what was it about it
I liked so much. I gave him the brief version
of how I rediscovered Yusuf a few years ago,
and attempted to explain just why I continue
to find the complete body of work so immensely
appealing. The best I could seem to do was to
say I found it to be incredibly genuine, heartfelt,
and real. The intimacy of the recordings, being
able to hear an intake of breath, lips parting
to form the next word, etc. I said I like that
the humanity is “there”, the music
is, simply, “present”. I think he
understood what I was getting at, at least I