Thursday, March 5, 2015


Al Stewart played the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix this past Tuesday and Wednesday, and I splurged for both nights.

He'd played a two night stand a couple of years ago, and I went to both nights then as well.  I've always loved Al's music and try to see him whenever I can.  

I was introduced to Al by my older brother, who played the Modern Times album a lot (even though I think the album actually belonged to our oldest brother-moot point since it's sitting up on one of my shelves as I type this).

I did not see Al live until the Time Passages tour, have seen him probably a dozen times since, and had never heard "Apple Cider Reconstitution" (from Modern Times) played live.

I called out for it once at the Chestnut Cabaret in Philly, and a drunk guy heard me and started yelling "apple sauce," and needless to say, it was not played.

So I called out for it at the MIM. 

At both shows in 2013. 

And Al did not play it.

After the second 2013 show, I asked Al to sign a poster "No apple cider for you."

He said he would not do that, and that he'd play the song next time he saw me.

So last Tuesday night I called for it, and he did not play it (he rarely does). After the show, I had a few CD booklets to get signed, and mentioned his "promise" from 2013 and that I'd be there the next day, and he told me to remind him (call out for it).

Which I did after the first song.

Tuning the guitar for the song was tricky, as Al had not played it for some time, but Dave Nachmanoff (an Al fan as a youth who has played alongside him for more than a decade) remembered the song and reminded him. 

They both made a lot of jokes at my expense, and thankfully the audience did not seem to mind the delay in the performance while they worked it out (a few people thanked me for requesting it at the intermission).

In case you have not guessed, he played it.

And I loved it. Although it would be nice to see Al play with a full band again, Dave is a great player, and brings a lot of life to the acoustic shows.

Al is a well-read history buff, a great storyteller, funny, a great performer, and seems to still love to perform live.

Dave, who also does solo shows, played a few songs to open each show. 

Thank you, Al and Dave-hearing that song live after forty years was a treat.

To quote one of Dave's songs, I am grateful!

Here's the album version of the song...

And here are Al and Dave playing it live a couple of years ago...similar arrangement to what they played Wednesday night...


  1. Okay, I had this typed and I THINK I clicked off without posting. Go ahead and boot this version if I did indeed post it.

    I fell in love all over again with Sparks of Ancient Light. An underrated Hall of Famer IMHO. Thanks for posting!

    1. If you like "Sparks," he also did one in 2004 called "A Beach Full Of Shells" you'd probably like.

      There was one in 2000 (Down In The Cellar) but you'd have to search the used bins-I am pretty sure it is out of print.

    2. And I'd also recommend Dave's stuff. He did an album of acoustic instrumentals of Al Stewart tunes, but I'd go with his most recent (Step Up) since it shows his songwriting chops.

    Your persistence finally paid off. Good for ya!

    Never heard this 'Apple Cider' song before, but it's pretty good. I especially like that bass line and the tinkling piano. The only Al Stewart album I ever owned was 'Year Of The Cat'.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. The two albums prior to Year Of The Cat were great, but it was YOTC that gave him his big hit.

      Interesting trivia-he had the songs and arrangements all written before writing a singly lyric.

      Time Passages was quite good too-Al's work with Alan Parsons (Modern Times, Year Of The Cat, Time Passages) as producer really fired on all cylinders.

  3. Al looks kinda old and... less warm up top.

    Time Passages, eh?

    ~ D-FensDogg

    1. Hair today, gone...
      fishin' tomorrow.

      See ya tonight. I didn't sleep worth a damn, so I'll be damned tired, but I'll be there.

      ~ D-FensDogg