Al Stewart & The Empty Pockets bring new level of Storytelling to Celebrity Theatre

Al Stewart & The Empty Pockets at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on January 11th, 2024

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents ( )
Venue: Celebrity Theatre ( )
Date: Thursday January 11th, 2024

Al Stewart & The Empty Pockets at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on January 11th, 2024

Wow, I can’t believe it has been almost 50 years since I first saw Al Stewart at the Celebrity Theatre.  I believe it was the summer of 1975 and he was little known here in the USA.  I loved his songs and the stories they told.  Over the past 40+ years, I have seen Al more times than any other artist.  For a long time, Al toured as a solo artist.  In the past few years, he has joined with a new band, The Empty Pockets.  Al is good as a solo artist, but he is even better with a band backing him up.

Blu Parr & Tim Mohn with signed guitar for auction for St. Mary’s Food Bank prior to Al Stewart & The Empty Pockets concert at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on January 11th, 2024

We started the year off with a fantastic concert at The Celebrity Theatre.  In conjunction with Danny Zelisko Presents (DZP), The Celebrity Theatre & St. Mary’s Food Bank, they auctioned off a signed guitar by AL Stewart.  Last year they raise enough money to provide over 400,000 meals by auctioning off signed guitars.  So, this year we started off again on a great note, the signed guitar went for $3000, enough to provide 15000 meals.  I want to thank DZP, Celebrity Theatre, Al Stewart and the winner of the guitar for this fantastic beginning.  So, if you are at one of DZP’s shows at the Celebrity, bring your wallet and bid on the guitar signed by your favorite artist or band.  Let’s see if we can beat last year’s donations.

The Empty Pockets at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on January 11th, 2024

The show started with The Empty Pockets.  They are a 4-piece band from the Chicago area.  The Empty Pockets consists of Josh Solomon [guitar, vocals], Erika Brett [keyboards, vocals], Nate Bellon [bass, vocals], and Adam Balasco [drums].  They are a rock and roll band with a mixture of folk and soul rolled in.  They performed for about 30 minutes.

After about 15 minutes, The Empty Pockets and Al Stewart came on stage.  The Empty Pockets are a perfect band to work with Al Stewart.  They complement Al’s music and provides additional depth to his songs.

Al Stewart & The Empty Pockets at Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ on January 11th, 2024

One of the things I love about seeing an Al Stewart show, is that he tells stories about his songs.  Most of his songs are based on historical events so getting an explanation of how he came up with the song it really nice.  At tonight’s show he told us stories about the songs and his life and even told jokes.  One of the stories I love is him telling about how he got guitar lessons from some that lived in his small town in England.  After a short period of time, he quit because he was not playing the style of music he like.  Then later this teacher was asked if he ever taught someone famous.  He said, yes, and he didn’t listen to anything I taught him.  This teacher was Robert Fripp, founder and lead guitarist of King Crimson.

We got all of the classic Al Stewart hits starting with “Sirens of Titan”.  They performed “Time Passages”, “Broadway Hotel” and his biggest hit, “Year of the Cat”.  To mix things up he added some lesser-known songs, “Antarctica”, “Midas Shadow” and “Almost Lucy”.  Since Al wrote “Almost Lucy” from a woman’s perspective, he had Erika sing it.

From the audience reaction, they all seemed to enjoy the show.  Al was fantastic and like I said, The Empty Pockets are a perfect band to perform with him.  If you get a chance to see them, I very highly recommend it.  You can find out if Al Stewart and The Empty Pockets are coming to a city near you by checking out their website for tour dates.

Al Stewart’s Social Media sites:
YouTube Channel:

Al Stewart

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Rights Reserved

The Empty Pockets’ Social Media sites:
YouTube Channel:

The Empty Pockets

Photos by Fred Kuhlman 2023, All Rights Reserved

Al Stewart Setlist:                                          (Album)
Sirens of Titan                                                 (Modern Times)
Antarctica                                                        (Last Days of the Century)
The Palace of Versailles                                  (Time Passages)
Time Passages                                                 (Time Passages)
On the Border                                                 (Year of The Cat)
Midas Shadow                                                 (Year of The Cat)
(A Child’s View of) the Eisenhower Years        (Sparks of Ancient Light)
Broadway Hotel                                              (Year of The Cat)
Modern Times                                                 (Modern Times)
Almost Lucy                                                    (Time Passages)
(Erika Brett on vocals)
Year of the Cat                                                (Year of The Cat)
One Stage Before                                            (Year of The Cat)


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