Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, kicked off his first tour in 33 years on Sunday and numerous sources are reporting that the gig did not go smoothly. As the Irish Times notes, Islam’s first set of new and old songs at Dublin’s O2 arena went well, but the second act, which consisted of an abridged version of his new musical Moonshadow where actors performed and sang a number of his most beloved songs (“Wild World, “Father and Son,” etc.) had to be cut short.
“[A]ngry sections of the audience walked out, shouted out, booed, whistled, slow-handclapped,” writes Tony Clayton-Lea, while some sites are claiming an audience member heckled, “we are bored.”
I’m not going to claim that I understand why famous musicians are infatuated with musicals these days, but to Islam’s credit, he took the negative crowd reaction humbly by stopping the musical and quipping “Now I know how [Bob] Dylan felt.”
Though he did save face with a more traditional set, Islam took also to his blog to defend himself, reflect on his career, and reassure ticket holders that changes are being made to the production:
I must admit, it was something I’d never experienced for most of my musical career – apart from Greece perhaps, where I stormed off stage because of the half empty halls back at the end of the 1976 Majikat Tour. One thing is clear: many of the fans didn’t know much about the Moonshadow section – and some thought I wasn’t coming back on stage. That can easily be fixed with a free program for the night and me personally informing the audience of what’s going to happen.
And in a brilliant line that could be used to address many of the non-troversies from his storied career: “I didn’t go through my life, altering my pattern of behaviour, building my faith and getting close to Divine consciousness without making serious changes to the way I do things.”
Yeah, we heart Cat Stevens ‘round here. I mean… Yusuf Islam.