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Welcome back to the '70s.
His sound is distinctive and his voice easily recognizable. He is Cat Stevens, one of the 1970s most iconic pop (or, if you prefer, folk-rock) music makers. In 1976, Cat Stevens embarked on a world tour that featured many of his biggest hits, including "Another Saturday Night," "The Wind," and quite possibly his signature song, "Wild World." Though he's since dropped out of the music business to become a devout Muslim, Cat Stevens music remains as popular as ever (evident in such songs as Sheryl Crow's hit cover of Cat's "The First Cut is the Deepest"). Eagle Vision has brought one of Stevens's concerts to DVD, part of his "Majikat" tour in 1976. Included on this disc are the following songs:
• The Doves (Majikat Tour Theme)
Cat Stevens is one of the most enigmatic musicians in recent memory. A man of many talents, Stevens made nearly a dozen popular albums that featured a large array of hit songs. In 1977, the singer decided to become a Muslim, changed his name to Yusuf Islam, took part in an arranged marriage, had five children and, for all intents and purposes, dropped out of the music scene permanently. In other words, the odds that a tortoise could beat Smarty Jones are better than Cat reappearing on the popular music scene.
With that in mind, I present to you Cat Stevens: Majikat, a video record of a concert he performed during his last tour in North America (featuring, among other things, live magicians and synchronized film projection). For those of you who love Cat Stevens's music, this DVD is a true treasure. Included in this concert is Cat singing almost all of his popular tunes, plus smaller, lesser-known songs from his various albums.
While I'm not a diehard Cat Stevens fan, I've always enjoyed his music more than most self-serving pop from the 1970s (hell, give me Cat over the Bee Gees any old day). On this concert the particular gems are "The Wind," "Another Saturday Night," and for kicks, "Banapple Gas," a ditty that featuring film footage of Cat giving children smoking ice cream cones, goofing around with the police, and acting like a still life painting on a museum wall (you just have to see it to know what I'm talking about). It gives The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" a run for its money.
If you're a Cat Stevens fan, this DVD is a definite must for your collection. The music has aged well, the concert is fun and giddy, and Stevens is at the top of his game. Come on and catch some Cat scratch fever!
Cat Stevens: Majikat Earth Tour 1976 is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, the original aspect ratio of the film. While this isn't a perfect transfer, I am pleased to say that the picture looks very nice. Though there are a few areas where the image looks soft or too dark (most likely due to the original elements, not Eagle Vision's work), overall this is a fine looking transfer that boasts strong colors and dark black levels.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and DTS Surround, both in English. Eagle Vision has done a great job reproducing this concert in 5.1 Surround (both the DTS and Dolby are great tracks). The music is clearly heard through both the front and rear speakers without any major hiss or distortion in the mix. For a concert well over 25 years old, Cat's music certainly sounds great. Also included on this disc is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track in English.
Fans will be happy to see that there are a few fine extra features on Cat Stevens: Majikat Earth Tour 1976. The best is a nearly 40-minute interview with Cat Stevens (now as Yusuf Islam), which gives Cat a chance to discuss his past, present, and future, as well as his thoughts on his music that he no longer plays. This interview is broken up into three parts ("West End," "Stardom," and "Answer Within"). A menu of archive materials features Cat performing various live songs throughout the years (including "The Wind," "If I Laugh," "Maybe You're Right," "Tuesday's Dead," "Father & Son," and "Moonshadow"). Finally, there is a discography of Cat's music and a list of lyrics to the songs featured in the DVD's concert.
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• "If I Laugh" from BBC Old Grey Whistle Test 1971
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