Cat Stevens

Majikat: Earth Tour 1976 [DVD]

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Cat Stevens did Jim Morrison and the fictional Eddie Wilson from Eddie and the Cruisers one better when he walked away from fame and fortune, changing his name while still in the public eye and evaporating into the mist. The Greta Garbo move and transformation into Yusuf Islam disappointed his fan base, and is chronicled in an informative -- actually a tremendous -- 35-minute, three-part interview with Yusuf where he discusses his life, "breaking" the self-imposed "28-year silence" on a disc entitled Majikat: Earth Tour 1976. The DVD concert performance is brilliant -- a wonderful live appearance captured to perfection February 22, 1976 at William & Mary College in Williamsburg, VA. The video is prefaced by historical information about the year 1976 written in text over images of the audience from that concert. This DVD is loaded with features -- a colorful replica on glossy paper stock of the 16-page "Earth Tour Official Program," from 1976, an elegant, six-page foldout cardboard sleeve which fits inside a glossy cardboard box, and lots of information printed on both . Every aspect of this project is first class giving the DVD a luster that vinyl LP jackets had and still have, something diminished by the microcosm of CD packaging is re-discovered in this tasteful and important collection of media. There are bonus tracks that include a 1971 BBC "Old Grey Whistle Test" and "In Concert" footage, an animated "Moonshadow" film, an Island Records promo film of "Father & Son," song lyrics that are cleverly displayed, and a discography that allows one to click on the spines of Stevens' various discs to see the album art. The heart of this DVD -- the concert footage and interview with the artist -- is essential folk/rock history. His music annoyed some when it first made its way onto the airwaves, and his public struggle with the spiritual and the material did much to encourage his detractors, but Cat Stevens' huge fan base still embraced him the way the rest of the world understood George Harrison and his fusing of religion and rock superstardom. This impressive release lets the artist speak directly to his fans, while delivering the music without distractions. A unique and complete historical work that also succeeds in entertaining.

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