Cat Stevens to tour US for first time in more than 35 years
Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens, announces a new album and tour that will take him to the United States for the first time since 1976. Roselle Chen reports. Reuters
Yusuf/Cat Stevens hasn’t played a concert in Nashville in 40 years, which makes Tuesday night’s 30-minute delay after his show’s scheduled 7:30 p.m. start time seem short in comparison.
Known for folk classics like “Wild World," “Peace Train” "The First Cut is the Deepest" and “Father and Son,” Yusuf made up for lost time during Tuesday night’s show at the Ryman Auditorium, playing two hour-long sets. The singer-songwriter is currently on his “A Cat’s Attic” tour, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of his first single, “I Love My Dog.”
Standing in front of a set that was designed to resemble his childhood home, which was located above the restaurant his parents owned in London’s West End, Yusuf shared his musical journey with the adoring audience, beginning with his fascination with the musical "West Side Story" and the Beatles and continuing through his battle with tuberculosis, his religious conversion, and his hiatus from, and subsequent return to, music.
The set (which even included smoke billowing out of the chimney), and the stories Yusuf — an engaging storyteller with a dry sense of humor — told about his life between songs, made the performance feel like half-concert, half-one-man show.

During his performance, Yusuf invited a couple of surprise guests onstage: Jack White joined Yusuf for “Where Do the Children Play” near the end of the first set, and Bonnie Prince Billy contributed vocals for two songs during the encore. In another one of the show’s other unexpected moments, Yusuf cited the animated film “Zootopia” as a source of wisdom. He then recited a block of dialogue — said by the movie’s anthropomorphic rabbit turned rookie cop — that ended with the message “try to make the world a better place...change starts with you” before seguing into “People Get Ready and “Peace Train.”
Yusuf and his two-man backing band returned for a lengthy encore, closing the show with "Morning Has Broken" before flashing a smile and a peace sign to the crowd.