- CAT STEVENS - Live in Sydney
- Reviewed by Tarquin Budgerigar
A super rarity this one! I
got this one from a friend who had incredible luck obtaining it. An illegal vinyl release
produced in Australia, probably much rarer than the handful of vinyl releases that were
etched in the States in the early 70s.
Its cover is of
typical bootleg mentality, lots of song titles listed wrongly and spelling mistakes. This
can be forgiven by the delightful cover illustration - a rather cosmic pen and ink
portrait of Cat credited to one Michelangelo.
better than the average audience recording even though Cat sounds ever so slightly speeded
up. Either that or he was on helium at the time!
The venue sounds like a
fairly large auditorium, lots of echo that must have infuriated Steve at the sound check.
The audience is very appreciative throughout this impressive extract.
His opening song is The
Wind, brief and faultless. He then introduces Lady DArbanville, chatting about the
film that was made to promote the single with Patti herself. "Shes no actress
but shes very good", he quips a little nervously. Its an upbeat version,
quite different to the studio cut. Into White follows and its unusual too. Cat and
Alun provide nifty guitar and Jean Roussel adds some very pleasant keyboard flourishes.
Due to the sound its difficult to tell if Del Newmans strings are synthesised
but it does sound like an authentic string section. Alan James provides electric bass.
He begins 18th
Avenue saying "its a new song". Its breathtaking - the timing is
perfect, the band is impeccable and the venom in Cats voice is something to behold.
Theres no delicacy with this one and the animated strings are uplifting!
I Think I See The Light
follows on and its super-charged. Largely different to the recorded version, Jean
Roussels keyboards have a different feel and again its very tight.
A brief tune up and then
Cat jests, "
and now we slow things up with a gentle praise to the
No, please dont take me seriously". Morning Has Broken
rolls out. The guitars are
up front and Jeans playing is a lot different in feel to Rick Wakemans. If I
Laugh is vibrant, its very economically strummed but still manages to have depth
with just the right amount of tension. He introduces Trouble as "an old song",
its charming and simple. Hes had enough of his illness and pulls himself
through the verses very nicely. Sitting is received with rapturous applause and screaming
even - shades of Beatlemania!
Someone asks for I Wish, I
Wish, which Cat obliges with. He sings it boldly and even though it deviates from the
melody we know on Mona Bone Jakon, its still great pop! Theres a pleasant
piano break and Gerry Conway beats out the skins forcefully. Cats knackered and
calls out "calamity"! He says "ere there must be some poofs in this
audience" in broad cockney - theres something visual going on that as a
listeners were not privy to. Cat and Alun debate the tuning, it takes them awhile to
get started on How Can I Tell You. When they do commence its just right, the guitars
subsiding and Cats voice in despair, almost tearful.
Theres a brief fade and theyre
gone, this ones triumphant - highly recommended!