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Cat Stevens - July 1, 1971 Concert
Santa Monica, California
Reviewed by Bruce Lawrie.


This boot is unique, although it is very rare, it’s uniqueness stems from the quality of the sound. It is far superior to any of the known LP bootlegs or audience recordings in circulation. Whoever recorded it somehow managed to plug into the sound system. The sound quality is phenomenal.

The concert was held at the Santa Monica Auditorium, and from the overall audience reaction and general sound it appears to have been a small intimate gig, however the atmosphere is electric. The whole aura seems to have inspired Cat to produce one of his most confident and remarkable performances.

The boot starts with a wild and frenzied bout of applause from the crowd, however no introductions by Cat, instead he goes straight into one of his favourite opening numbers: Moonshadow. A perfect opening, maybe due in part to Cat’s affection for the song, one of his favourites. He ends the song and immediately thanks the audience.

Without any hesitation Cat goes straight into his next number: Where Do the Children Play? Again the song is performed to perfection, you can hear the emotions of the song emanating from Cat’s voice, this rendition is an improvement over any studio recording. The crowd show their appreciation with an enthusiastic round of applause.

Cat thanks the audience, and says a cheeky "hello, I always say hello to my friends" to the audience, followed by "hi, hi," you can tell Cat is in a good mood and is enjoying himself. He then introduces Wild World, however he starts telling the audience of his disappointment at Father & Son being a flop sales wise in Britain, he states that "just because songs are released as singles it doesn’t mean they are better," but he states I still like this song (Wild World). The song is obviously well received, the crowd go wild.

Again without any pause, Cat goes straight into: Time > Fill My Eyes, however, while singing Fill My Eyes, Cat intentionally pretends to bring the song to an end, the crowd start their applause and Cat follows by saying "no, no, no" and continues to perform the song to a finish. Cat announces "bad timing, get in together" and laughs.

"I like to do a song now, hum," he turns to Alun Davies, who reminds Cat that its: Into White. Cat then tells the audience about his house in London that is being renovated, and it is taking forever. However, "if I get through this lifetime thing, there is no grey only white." Then performs: Into white. Again the crowd go wild with applause.

Once again Cat wastes no time, and sings: On The Road To Findout. Followed by the ubiquitous applause.

Cat then performs: Miles From Nowhere. His voice is so strong, the words are sung with a certain crispness and precision, outstanding !

Cat introduces the next song: Tuesday Dead. He remarks "how hard he finds it to stay on this Earth sometimes." You can hear by his voice the emotion, he appears to be overwhelmed by the atmosphere.

Cat thanks the audience, and states "this is called Longer Boats," he starts the intro, but makes one of his legendary mistakes, "oh really" he replies. Starts the song again, the crowd are in for a treat, it has the addition of the celebrated extra verse. The song is suitably received.

Now for a rarity, Cat introduces his next song, "I am going to sing you an old song, not sung it in years, I wrote about 4/5 years ago, I wrote it with a guy called Kim Fowley, I like the melody and I am going to sing it anyway" Portobello Rd, Cat sings it with such excitement, truly beautiful. Hopefully one for the boxed set ?

Hard Head Woman – Cat’s voice is really on top form tonight. Each word is sung with and certain passion, he was born to perform live. You can tell the audience enjoyed this one, clapping and shouting.

No messing here, Cat shouts "Changes" and performs the song without any further ado. Applause, "thank you."

"Around this time of night I get toothache, which is a bad sign, it means my voice is about to go." Then, " I will have a beer, what a good idea." The audience start shouting for Maybe Your Right. Unperturbed Cat just moans " I’ve only got half a bottle of beer, thirsty, thirsty oh I know what I’ll do a little song called The Wind, it lasts about one minute" The audience are really warmed up, Cat is performing brilliantly.

Peace Train, another favourite performed in his usual and inimitable style. The crowd adore it.

"It’s going" (his Voice) Cat tells the audience, then somebody shout "come on," Cat jokingly responds "what do you mean come on, what am I going to do about it." "More beer" and then tells the audience he his going to drink the bottle in one, which he does, the crowd go wild.

Now for another gem, Katmandu. Rarely sung live, a pity. Once again Cat starts by making a mistake, and states "more beer," he continues and finishes the song. The crowd are intoxicated, not by Cat’s beer, but by Cat’s performance. Exquisite.

Cat introduces the band, "Larry Steele on bass, he’s getting a suntan, and Alun Davies on guitar. "This is called Father and Son.

You know Cat loves this song, you would think that he is describing his relationship with his own father. The empathy is apparent throughout the song. The song ends the crowd think the concert has finished. They shout and stamp their feet for over two minutes.

Cat gives in, "I’d like to say if I don’t stop very soon my voice will go, I’d like to keep. "I will do one more song on piano and it’s Sad Lisa." Even though his voice is going, he performs the most marvellous rendition of Sad Lisa. The concert ends by Cat saying "thank you, goodnight, goodnight." You can imagine the reaction, the crowd realise just how honoured are, this has been one of Cat’s finest performances, and the crowd really let Cat know they have enjoyed it !

Overall, a momentous occasion, this performance and bootleg is unsurpassed. Hopefully part or all of this bootleg becomes available in the near future to a wider audience. It really is a remarkable concert.

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