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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Al Stewart

Wednesday I went to see Al Stewart (of Year of the Cat fame) at Hugh's Room, and man, what a great show!

I met my brother there for dinner (which we decided to do to ensure we got good seats, and also, seats at all), and Aaron, Janet and Hope showed up later. Al must be in his mid-fifties by now, but he sounded just the same as he always has, and he's an amazing guitar player.

We got to hear Flying Sorcerers, Night Train to Munich, a new one called Catherine of Oregon, Antarctica (a favourite of mine), Year of the Cat (no surprise, although I would have preferred Time Passages) and a pile of others. We were also treated to his impression of Bob Dillon's All Along the Watchtower, which was worth the cost of the whole evening alone.

I love Al's incredibly intricate lyrics and wordplay, which leaves practically everyone else in the dust. As he says about pop music: "I love pop songs, but I can't write them. Whenever I try I end up using 300 words when I should use 10, and then I throw in a reference to Stalin and that's the end of it".

He said he's rarely in Toronto (last time must have been when I saw him 11-12 years back at the Spectrum) because of lack of good venues, although (referring to Hugh's Room) that's changed now. Let's hope it's not as long before he's back again.