The Cat Is Back

An invitation-only group of 400 fans were treated to classic Cat Stevens songs yesterday when British folk singer Yusuf Islam put on his second U.S. concert in 33 years at Los Angeles’ El Rey Theater.

The crowd cheered for Islam when the 60-year-old sang “Look at me, I am old but I’m happy,” from “Father and Son.” He played his acoustic guitar with a backing four-man band. The performance also featured hits such as “Peace Train,” “Wild World” and “Where Do the Children Play” and songs from his new album, Roadsinger, according to Reuters.

Islam, who retired the name “Cat Stevens” and his pop star life when he became a Muslim in 1977, said he plans to promote Roadsinger with a number of international shows. The album hit stores last week and is only his second mainstream pop release in three decades.

Photo: AP Photo
The artist formerly known as Cat Stevens performs during a soundcheck at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles.

Islam only has one upcoming show on the books, an appearance at Island 50 Festival May 28 at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire.

He had planned to play a May 3 in New York but it was canceled because of an unspecified work-visa issue.

Islam was previously shut out of the U.S. in 2004 when he was deported because his name appeared on a “no-fly” watch list for suspected terrorists. He had been accused of supporting charities that give funds to terrorist groups but he denied the allegations and spoke out against terrorism.

The singer last toured the U.S. in early 1976. Before yesterday’s comeback, his first U.S. show in 33 years was a 2006 New York gig to promote An Other Cup, his first pop album since the 1978 Cat Stevens album Back to Earth.

Islam was recently in the news for claiming that Coldplay didn’t steal the tune “Viva la Vida,” from Joe Satriani or from Brooklyn band Creaky Board, but that it was rather ripped off from his song, “Foreigner Suite.”

Read the Reuters story here.