There’s a saying that a cat has nine lives and, if so, then the artist many have known and loved as ‘Cat’ Stevens has lived at least three of them.
Born Steven Demetre Georgiou on 21 July 1948, Stevens changed his name to Cat Stevens in an attempt to conquer the music industry. After a near death experience with Tuberculosis, Stevens questioned what life was about and experimented with varying forms of mysticism and spirituality until one day, his brother David handed him a copy of the Quran. The artist we once knew as Cat Stevens was to be no more, and Yusuf Islam became the new identity of a man with an adamant quest for deeper meaning in his life.
Told through anecdotes and, of course, the unmistakable songs that serve as bookmarks of our lives, Darren Coggan delivers a most beautiful tribute imaginable to Stevens/Islam and his life. Supported tightly by The Firecats band and the delightful Simone Kay on backing vocals, Peace Train is a triumph in every way.
Coggan’s voice is so similar to Stevens’ that if you closed your eyes it would be easy to imagine it was the great man himself singing. The show highlighted hits such as Another Saturday Night, Moonshadow, Father and Son and of course Morning Has Broken but also featured songs that were poignant reminders of the emptiness of fame and fortune in I Never Wanted to Be a Star.
Although Cat Stevens does not officially endorse this show, Darren Coggan was invited by him, through Stevens’ nephew, to visit him in London, where he gave the show his blessing. Such is the story of a man who had the world at his feet but instead found the meaning of life by giving it all away and starting anew.
Peace Train is not just a musical experience; it is a story of understanding, tolerance and the search for meaning. Australian artist, Darren Coggan, emanated the heart and soul of an equally brilliant man.
Reviewed by Darren Hassan
Venue: Festival Theatre, Adelaide
Season: 9 November 2013
Duration: 2 hours approx (20 minute interval)
Photo source: Peace Train website