Al Stewart last played Nashville at the Bluebird some 15 years ago. Before that it had been 25 years since his last Music City show. At this pace, the next time he plays here, I will likely have exhausted my retirement account and will be unable to attend!
But, tonight, Stewart and his small combo played to an enthusiastic crowd at the City Winery. Having just concluded a Year of the Cat in its entirety segment of his tour, tonight it was back to a scattering of songs throughout Al’s long career.
Al Stewart is just a delightful person to be in the same room with, and he laced just about every song with a tale from his fascinating life-long musical history. Who else can say that they took guitar lessons from Robert Fripp, purchased their first guitar from Andy Summers, and read the lyrics from his song “In Brooklyn” to Leonard Cohen at the Montreal airport.
As masterful and comfortable as he is between songs, Stewart is equally adept as a fascinating acoustic guitar player. He also finds himself if the fortunate state of singing as fine as he ever has, despite having logged in over 50 years as a performer.
After giving the stage to multi-instrumentalist, Marc Macisso for a song, Stewart treated us to a “Year of the Cat” surprise like he did the last time he was in Nashville at the Bluebird. While that show featured Phil Kenzie on sax reprising his role on the original recording, tonight, Macisso would handle that duty quite well. The surprise was for opening act, Jude Johnstone to play piano on the song giving it the full arrangement this great song so deserves. And, she played it so well, you would have never guessed that she hadn’t ever played it before.
It’s always a special night when Al Stewart comes to town. I just wish that he did it more often.
- House of Clocks
- In Brooklyn
- On the Border
- The Palace of Versailles
- Soho (Needless to Say)
- Flying Sorcery
- Night Train to Munich
- Fever (Little Willie John cover) (Marc Macisso)
- Year of the Cat
- Almost Lucy
Al Stewart—vocals and acoustic guitar
Marc Macisso—flute, bongos, harmonica and saxophone
Jude Johnstone– keyboards on #11 & 12
Dana Rose – violin on #12