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Published: December 14th 2014
Upper Darby, PA
Life’s Bucket List………
All of us have one. For some it is short, for some it can be lengthy, but we all have one. Those things we want to do and see during our short time on this mortal coil. Now, on each person’s list are usually one or two items that really stand out. Some are within reach, some maybe not. Some exist only in a world of dreams as reality prevents them from coming to fruition. But life is an amazing journey full of people, experiences and travels.
And as you can well imagine, we have ours as well. Now we consider ourselves to be two incredibly lucky individuals who have fulfilled many of our travel dreams already. That’s not to say that there are not more out there, but when you sit back and actually take stock of where we’ve been and what we’ve seen, we are very fortunate…..and know it.
Even with all that, there are still those things that are out there that we both want to do. In this particular case, MJ has gone through the past 35 plus years always yearning to be in the
Yusuf On Tour
15 cities worldwide, 5 U.S. cities
presence of one particular individual. Those who know us well are keenly aware of our love for music and would certainly understand how MJ feels about one certain artist. He has gone by the name of Yusuf Islam since the late 1970’s, but is recognized instantly by the name he used before then…..Cat Stevens.
Merry Jo was introduced to Cat Stevens in 1970 by the neighbor girl who lived across the street; Karen Swinger. She quickly bonded with his music and somehow he has forever been a part of her soul. His music speaks to her. She always longed to see him in concert and when he stopped touring in 1976, MJ feared her dream would never be realized. One of Merry Jo’s favorite movies is “Harold and Maude,” which features his music. A special note to her good friend Denise Dunn who had to endure listening to hours of Cat Stevens on the 8 track play over and over and over on the endless repeat day after day after night…..week after week…in the house, in the car, in the house, on and on.
Up until a few days ago, we were living in
separate cities because of our work. We were not happy with the situation, but realized that it was short term. Dave was working just north of Philadelphia, MJ just south of Baltimore, Maryland. MJ has followed Cat Stevens as Facebook sends her updates and such. One day, she learned something that seemed both surreal and quite frankly, almost unbelievable. He was going on tour in the U.S.! He has not performed in the States since 1976. She went on his website and learned he had scheduled a show in Philadelphia……seriously? Sadly, she was unable to get tickets as the small venue sold out quickly. Upon this realization, she found herself in a quandary. How can she let this opportunity pass? A few weeks passed and she decided to go on Craig’s List and scoured the site and tried to pick someone who was selling extra tickets and not someone who would buy groups of tickets to make a lot of cash.
She found someone who was willing to sell us two tickets. He could easily have waited and sold them for more money, but since MJ had emailed him first, he agreed to sell her the tickets.
Musical Magic on December 4th
We were close at this point. Arrangements were made to put transfer some money, then pay the rest the night of the concert. Naturally, we wondered if we were about to get ripped off, but tried to stifle such thoughts.
Now, since the concert was held on a Thursday, that meant we both had some traveling to do. Somehow that added to the excitement of the evening. We made arrangements to meet young Matthew in front of the venue at a prescribed time.
The show was booked at the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby a Philly suburb. The theatre was built in 1927 as a movie house. It has experienced hard times over the years but after a remodel in 1972 it has hosted a number of amazing performers and music history. The acoustics and ambience are all one could ask for.
It was a cold December day when we got up and went to work. Talking to each other hourly about the upcoming concert and discussing when we needed to leave work to rendezvous on time. In this part of the world the highways are completely unpredictable and
T shirts a plenty
Oh Baby It's A Wild World
a 40-mile drive can routinely take two hours. No way we intended to be late for this performance. MJ’s drive was 2.5 hours and Dave’s drive about an hour. We arrived in plenty of time to dine in a local waterhole called the Waterford. When in Philadelphia, order the Philly cheese stake and we did.
MJ took photos of the Yusuf empty equipment boxes stacked in the back alley of the theatre.
We found Matt and his father Michael outside the theatre. Security was on high alert. Whoever purchased the tickets had to show the credit card they used, it had to match their driver’s license and all those sitting together had to enter together, everyone showing their driver’s license. We emptied our pockets and passed through scanners, pockets and purses searched. We were in!!
As we entered the theatre we became aware of the beauty of this historical building and as we saw a table full of Yusuf – Cat Stevens. MJ stopped. The look on her face stunned and absolute joy.
Yusuf had selected small intimate venues around the world for his 15-stop tour with only a handful
of them in the U.S. The Tower Theatre was an amazing venue to experience a concert. Not too big, not too small, great acoustics. It felt intimate. It felt like we were spending an evening with old friends.
We were instructed no photos, no video. We were allowed to take photos of the theatre before the performance began. They made it clear they might ask you to leave and it was not worth the risk of missing a moment of this performance. MJ took one photo, though. Temptation was too much for her. Got to have at least one memory of this fine evening.
The stage setting was a train station. The peace train is coming. His voice hasn’t changed. Still strong and vibrant. His calm demeanor permeated the audience. He mixed old and new and we both enjoyed a great show. The crowd was enthusiastic and we imagined many of them were in the same dream state as we were, seeing a fine musician. MJ would occasionally shed a tear of joy, as she had realized a dream she thought would never come true.
FYI he sang MJ's favorite
song, Morning has Broken and Dave's favorite song, Trouble!
DECEMBER 4, 2104 Cat Stevens in concert….bucket list . …Check
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