Al Stewart – Live at Eddie’s Attic

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I received an alert from Songkick, a smartphone app that informs the user about concerts from artists on in your music library, that Al Stewart was going to play at Eddie’s Attic.  That was in 2013, and I was disappointed when I never saw it confirmed.  I hadn’t thought much of seeing Al Stewart in concert, but was intrigued.  And that’s odd, because I was only a casual fan of the few singles he had when I started listening to music, “Year of tuntitled-56-4he Cat” and “Time Passages.”

It’s curious that as I explored music in great volume in the late 70’s that I never picked up his albums.  Still...

So here it is in 2014, and I once again see that ‘s scheduled in 2014.  With another couple, we ventured to Atlanta’s best intimate, acoustic (artists can play electric also) performance environment.

“Intimate” means small, here with 165 maximum occupancy.  “Intimate” also means that if you want a reserved table, best not linger.  I lingered.  After a maddening 2 hour commute from the north side of Atlanta, all the bar stools were taken as well.

So, we settled for dinner on their roof deck.  This was better than average bar food.  Also, the opening act music was piped in via speakers, and those seated at the bar could watch a closed circuit video of the stage – a good way to enjoy a show if it’s sold out or you’re cheap, I suppose.

We entered and found ourselves standing almost literally at the back, which isn’t that far away at all.

Dave Nachmanoff was co-listed on the bill.  Dave has been Stewart’s right hand man for a good number of years handling all of the lead guitar work.  He breezed through several of his own songs, then Al Stewart came on stage.

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I’m not sure what I expected, but this show was a winner through and through.  Stewart’s voice is in the higher registers and hasn’t diminished a bit since his heyday. 

Secondly, I’ve listened to some of Stewarts catalog since the concert.  It’s enjoyable, but for the most part, acoustic presentations play to his strengths.  For one, there’s plenty of room for his voice to be heard, but the music also benefits the lyrics, especially as...

... and thirdly, Dave N. can really add color to songs.  He played a wide variety of styles that suited the evening perfectly.

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Fourthly, and spellcheck says that’s a word, if you were to imagine an intimate performance with an artist, you might expect an up close, eyes on eyes, kind of thing.  That’s part of it.  But some artists don’t want to relate.  They just want to play their songs, hope you enjoy them, and collect a check.  Stewart engaged the audience before every song, usually telling a story about all sorts of things, occasionally followed by a “none of that is in the song.”  In any case, there was ample warmth and approachability.

Fifthly, he took requests.  Or, maybe he was planning on singing them anyway, but it seemed of the moment.

Sixthly, he is apparently open to others joining him on stage (with some pre-arrangement).  A local bassist and then a saxophonist joined him for a few songs, the latter amply benefitting “Year of the Cat.”  In his self professed  historical folk rock profession, inviting others to play is the norm.

And, lastly, he hangs around for autographs and, again, engages with each person unhurriedly.  As entertainers go, that makes him a pretty cool guy.

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I’ll probably catch every show he puts on locally in years to come.  For those who like to hear music without losing their hearing, it’s hard to imagine a better show than this.

5 of 5 STARS

 

 

Songs I’m pretty sure he played (there were others):

House of Clocks
The Palace of Versailles
Elvis at the Wheel
Night Train to Munich
Katherine of Oregon
Antartica (very humorous intro)
Last Days of the Century
If it Doesn’t Come Naturally, Leave It
Broadway Hotel
On the Border
Year of the Cat

1 comment :

  1. Let me know next time and I'll join as well if you like. Never disliked his music, just never was in my forefront. Still, I remember his music when someone plays it. Sure "N" enjoyed it as well.

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