Concert Review: Al Stewart at Anthology – February 4th, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 10:59
Posted in category Concert Reviews, Past Shows
Al Stewart

Al Stewart

by David Moye

If all you know about Al Stewart’s music are hit songs like “Year of the Cat” and “Time
Passages,” it’s like only knowing a hamburger from the ketchup.

Yes, Stewart’s two biggest hits are soft rock classics that tell evocative stories, but they
are just the tip of the iceberg.

Stewart, who played Anthology on February 4, knows as much about history as any
tweed-wearing professor. Except he puts his stories to music.

He also introduces many of his songs with explanations and lectures about the time
passage being covered.

This is the first concert I’ve ever been to where the singer introduced a song by
discussing the four major revolutions – and tying them into Egypt.

He also told stories about how he writes songs; very interesting to someone who enjoys
the songwriter process.

Stewart is an excellent rhythmic guitarist and was ably assisted by guitarist Mark
Rachmanoff, who played some excellent solos throughout and also worked as a comic
foil.

Because much of Stewart’s songs are based on classic folk melodies, even the songs that
are unfamiliar are very catchy.

However, truth be told, I was there to hear “Year of the Cat,” a song that always takes me
both halfway across the world and to my bedroom during seventh grade. It’s one of the
most romantic songs I know and, of course, being his best known song, he waited until
the end to play it.

Stewart has sung this song thousands of times in the 34 years since he recorded it, but
still found a way to keep it fresh. Even more impressive was Rachmanoff’s incredible
recreation of both an electric guitar solo and a sax solo.

Very impressive on both counts.