Yusuf a.k.a. Cat Stevens
Chicago Theater
Chicago, Illinois
December 9, 2014

Source: Audio Technica AT-899 omnis => Edirol R-09 (24-bit)
Transfer: R-09 => WAV => Magix Audio Cleaning Lab => FLAC

Location: Balcony, 3rd row, center

Disc one (41:09):
(1) Intro (1:30)
(2) The Wind (2:04)
(3) Here Comes My Baby (3:13)
(4) The First Cut Is The Deepest (3:58)
(5) Thinking About You (3:10)
(6) Sitting (3:34)
(7) Maybe You're Right (3:42)
(8) Where Do The Children Play? (3:57)
(9) I Love My Dog (2:40)
(10) I Was Raised In Babylon (3:30)
(11) (Remember The Days of the) Old Schoolyard (3:11)
(12) People Get Ready (3:16)
(13) If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out (3:18)

Disc two (69:05):
(1) Big Boss Man (3:29)
(2) Trouble (3:06)
(3) Oh Very Young (3:06)
(4) Dying To Live (3:40)
(5) Moonshadow (3:59)
(6) You Are My Sunshine (3:25)
(7) Foreigner Suite => Heaven => Where True Love Goes (6:32)
(8) Wild World (3:26)
(9) Band introductions (1:49)
(10) The Devil Came From Kansas (4:19)
(11) Take This Hammer (3:45)
(12) Another Saturday Night (3:24)
(13) Peace Train (4:09)
(14) Father and Son (3:440
(15) Encore break (1:36)
(16) Banter (0:36)
(17) Editing Floor Blues (3:52)
(18) Miles From Nowhere (4:13)
(19) Morning Has Broken (3:29)
(20) All Kinds of Roses (3:18)

Md5 signature file is included. Sorry, no artwork (feel free to make some)


Well-rested from a 38-year hiatus from public performance, Yusuf/Cat Stevens has finally returned to the stage for a handful of European and North American theater dates in late 2014. The combination of his lengthy absence and the tour's limited scope (the Chicago Theater is a mid-size venue; he could have easily played multiple nights at a larger venue in this city), the demand for tickets was insane -- I was fortunate to have my two tech-savvy children helping me when tickets went on sale and was thrilled when one of them pulled not only tickets, but in a good recording location, no less.

Considering the limited nature of this comeback tour, I was expecting a fairly ragged performance with a very sparse stage set-up -- but I felt like the thrill of seeing him would justify even an average performance. I was pleasantly surprised at the elaborate stage set-up, intricate and thoughtful arrangements, and beautiful sound quality -- as if he'd been honing this show for a long time. Most importantly, his voice sounds near-perfect, as good as his last tour nearly four decades ago.

By a rough count, I would guess that I have seen somewhere around 600-700 concerts in my life; I would easily put this one in my top 10. Song selection was fantastic, with a great mix of recent material, greatest-hits, and inspired covers; the arrangements and performance were flawless. I can't say enough good things about this show.

I ended up defaulting to a recording rig I used a few years ago in order to reduce my "metal content" for the walk-through metal detectors. The Audio Technica mics are not my preferred mics, but offer the advantage of pretty good sound quality with no battery box/pre-amp. I was in one of the best locations, sonically, at this venue, so they did a decent job capturing the overhead PA on both sides of the stage.

My luck with the audience could not have been better -- I was in the last row before the break, in an aisle seat; there were a pair of empty seats both in front and to the side. Aside from my (silent) wife, I had no nearby neighbors. Other than a few very minor disturbances at the beginning of both sets, there is no interference close to the mics. Overall, I am extremely happy with the quality of this recording, particularly since (due to the heaviest security presence I have ever seen) it was so difficult to come by.

Please remember to support the artist, particularly his newer material -- after this show, I have a fresh appreciation for the music he has created over the last ten years.

Mp3 samples are included.