Yusuf, the singer formerly known as Yusuf Islam, formerly known as Cat Stevens during the time of his 1970’s hits such as “Peace Train,” has canceled his upcoming concert at the Beacon Theater in New York. The reason for the cancellation stemmed from his frustration over the state’s laws on ticket scalping (the selling of tickets for an event at a price higher than the official one). Next month, Yusuf is set to release a new album, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone, which he will support on his first North American tour in nearly forty years starting in December. The Beacon Theater performance scheduled for December 7th was originally part of that tour, but on Wednesday, Yusuf announced on his website that the show would be cancelled.
Yusuf made the decision after fans alerted him to the sale of “extortionate tickets prices already being listed on some websites.” He went on to explain that he has “been a longtime supporter of paperless tickets to my shows worldwide” and consistently tries to avoid scalpers. He continued, complaining about New York state’s laws on paperless ticketing, one strategy of ticketing, promoted by Ticketmaster, that helps prevent scalpers because of the way it restricts how tickets can be sold. “Unfortunately NY has a state law that requires all tickets sold for shows in NYC to be paper, enabling them to be bought and sold at inflated prices,” he stated on his website.
He went on to apologize for not being able to play in NYC now, but expressed a hope to do so in the near future, saying, “Looks like the Peace Train is going to arrive at New York a little bit later than expected.” He also reconfirmed and added show dates on either side of the now cancelled December 7th show. He was apparently so angry that at one point he seriously considered buying the tickets off the scalpers and redistributing them to his loyal fans. However, the downside of that would be the success of the scalpers. In 2010, as a result of heavy lobbying by the ticketing industry, New York passed a law requiring promoters to offer the choice to get transferrable tickets. This law, however, undermines the point of paperless ticketing (which requires customers to show identification with their ticket when they enter a venue, similar to airline policies). The law has been renewed since 2010.
Yusuf updated his tour schedule in the same statement. The updated Peace Train…Late Again North American Tour dates now include Monday, December 1st at Massey Hall in Toronto, ON; Thursday, December 4th at Tower Theatre in Philadelphia, PA; Sunday, December 7th at Wang Theater in Boston, MA’s Citi Performing Arts Center; Tuesday, December 9th, at Chicago Theatre in Chicago, IL; Friday, December 12th at The Masonic in San Francisco, CA; and lastly Sunday December 14th, at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are still available.