Colston Hall, Bristol
My friend Mark Murray-Smith always had great musical taste, readily loaned out his albums and thereby provided a jumping off point for me into new unexplored realms. There I was with my Wishbone Ash, the Moodies, Crimson, Yes and all the rest, and there he was with his soul music and his folk and singer songwriters. My familiarity with, and love for, Tapestry and New York Tendaberry came to me via his record collection, as did my first encounter with the debut Al Stewart album.
It was the Al Stewart that really grabbed my attention, with fantastic lyrical word play and cinematic story songs. The interest deepened over the years, and before long Past, Present and Future entranced me as I set off for university…
…here we are several decades later and I finally got to see Al play live. With his long term collaborator Dave Nachmanoff and Tim Renwick the three of them are touring the “Back to the bedsit” show; three acoustic guitars and that unchanged voice working through a selection from 40 years of albums.
If you have any love for the man’s songs I’d urge you to get to one of the remaining UK gigs in this tour – it was a cracking evening. Google it now!
For my wife, a long term Al Stewart fan, the revelation of the evening wasn’t Al’s amazing and unchanged vocal dexterity but her delight in discovering Dave Nachmanoff’s entrancing songs, singing and guitar playing; he opens the show with a trio of his own songs, and demonstrates that he has a song-writing genius of his own, and that he can really play that Martin (a signature Eric Clapton model he told me). I bought three of his CDs directly from him at the merch table (he was there before the show, during the intermission and again thirty seconds after they’d come off stage at the end!) and have since invested in more via CDBaby – he’s that good.
As you’d expect for a guy who started out sharing a flat with Paul Simon in England in the 60s and who had a HUGE hit twenty years later with Year Of The Cat, Al Stewart’s audience goes back many decades, though being music fans of obvious great taste and sophistication, they carry them extremely well.
It made me think..
I really must dig out Zero She Flies again.