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I raise my hand and touch the wheel of change
taking time to check the dial

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"The Montreal Star"
Written By David Freeston
March 11, 1976
Courtesy of Charles Gauthier


I must confess that I wasn't entirely prepared to delight in Cat Stevens' Forum concert last night. During the course of the last four or five albums (has it been that long?) he's come more and more to resemble a blissed-out zombie who's run out of things to say and doesn't know it yet. Of course, I didn't actually delight in the concert after all, but it at least held a few pleasant surprises and drove home most of his redeeming features.

It was an extravagant concert by Forum standards. The bandshell-circus tent hung over the stage was paired off with a good lighting system and, both to keep things light and lively and in line with his current "Majik" phase, he had an intriguing magician perform on and off throughout the show.

Thankfully, his development of the magic number was restricted to these effects and no more than a couple of songs from the "Numbers" album. The majority of the 20-odd songs were old standards such as "The Wind", "Wild World", "Hard Headed Woman" and "How Can I Tell You".

With the stage show intermittently deflecting attention from the redundancy of his material, we had a chance to appreciate how delicate and lively his melodies often can be. Stevens was in energetic good voice, though occasionally breathy, as he alternated between the piano and guitar. His band, while unexecptional, was proficient and provided a nice contrast to the pristine Stevens recorded sound.

With bass, drums, percussion, two guitars, keyboards, and soul-chick singers behind him, the music had a nice, unexpectedly rough edge that complemented his pretty but obtuse songs, and Stevens ended up singing with
more verve than I would have hoped for. END






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