Front Row Review
Stevens-Theatre Royal London-Sunday 12th December 1971
By Roy Carr
As a first attempt
in revealing all his assets at such close contact, Cat Stevens was for the most
part successful when he took the stage at Londons Theatre Royal on Sunday.
Admitting to being slightly
nervous and apprehensive he nevertheless dispelled any butterflies as with some
unobtrusive help from an assortment of talented musical friends, he played safe by
sticking to the more popular cuts front his trilogy of excellent albums, "Mona
Bone Jakon," "Tea For The Tillerman" and "Teaser And The Firecat."
Though this may have been the case, I personally felt that it was a number
written some time ago but premiered that evening "The Boy With
The Moon & Star On His Head" which through its delicate story line
exposed the consummate perception that Stevens is capable of
There was some skilful use
of underplayed theatrics like the backcloth lifting slowly at a given moment during
a dramatic chord in one song to reveal a string orchestra under the
direction of Del Newman. Again, the augmentation of bouzouki players
Andreas Toumazis and Angelos Hatzipavli to his regular accompanists Alun Davies
(vocal & guitar), Larry Steele (bass) and Gerry Conway (drums) added just that right
amount of colour to the proceedings.
Switching between acoustic
guitar and a grand piano, Stevens ran through such well received originals
as "Wild World," "Miles From Nowhere" and new song "King
Of Trees," "Tuesdays Dead," "Father and Son,"
"The Wind," "Lady D'Arbanville," "Morning Has
Broken," "Lillywhite," "Hard Headed Woman" and "Longer
Boats" ... there were others.
Thankfully, Stevens has
kept well away from the voguish shuffling millionaire hobo imagery adopted by so many of
his nearer rivals and, as such the diversity of his songs and his use of
dramatics in both his performance and conception enables him to maintain the listeners
attention. By no means an easy or enviable task.
However, when artists such
as Melanie and Stevens put all their eggs in one basket by allowing
themselves the luxury of indulging in one-artist concerts, they have to
be prepared to stand or fall entirely on their own merits. At the moment, both
artists have no worry but in the coming years they will have to learn the art of
under-exposing their talent and the sin and consequence of over-indulgence.
- New Music Express Magazine
- 18 December 1970
- Courtesy Linda Crafar