Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). The El Rey. May 11, 2009.

The El Rey was swarming with music industry insiders for Cat Stevens' invitation-only showcase - his first Los Angeles performance in about 30 years. We were clearly the youngest people in the audience. I envisioned Stevens to be wearing 60's garb - a beaded headband, a frayed buckskin jacket, chest hair showing underneath a linen button up and a full beard. The only thing that came to fruition was the full beard. He walked on stage, humbly picked up his acoustic guitar and gave the adoring audience a thumbs up. "It's beautiful in here," Stevens later commented.

His voice sounded exactly the same. I suppose it is possible for musicians to keep their youthful voice/talents..that is, if they drop the drugs and alcohol and convert to Islam like Stevens, ahem, Yusuf. On the 3rd song of the night, Don't Be Shy, he already had commanded a standing ovation. The show was great and transported us to another time for the hour and a half. Our only disappointment of the night was the exclusion of Moonshadow from the set list.

Set List: Welcome Home Lilywhite Don't Be Shy Where the Children Play Thinkin' About You The Rain (newish) World of Darkness Be What You Must The Wind Wild World Road Singer All Kinds of Roses Boots & Sand Ruins Father & Son (encore) Peace Train (encore)

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