Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, cancels first New York City show in 40 years because of state’s “ban” on paperless tickets


Last week, Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, revealed some very big news: This fall, not only would he release a new album, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone, but also kick off his first North American tour in 35 years. However, just days after the announcement, it appears not all of Islam’s fans will be able to see him in the flesh.

In a message posted to his website (via Stereogum), Islam announced that he would be canceling his New York City show, originally scheduled for December 7th at the Beacon Theatre. A longtime opponent of ticket scalping, he cited the state’s “ban” on paperless tickets as the reason for calling off the concert.

“Unfortunately I will not be performing in NYC this time around but I am looking forward to playing for fans in Philadelphia on December 4 and hope to return to NYC at a future date. My fans will understand and I thank them for informing me about the extortionate tickets prices already being listed on some websites. I have been a longtime supporter of paperless tickets to my shows worldwide and avoiding scalpers. 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. I’m sorry about not being able to now play in NYC but hope to find an opportunity that aligns with my support of this issue in the near future, God willing. Looks like the Peace Train is going to arrive at New York a little bit later than expected.” – Yusuf

To help drive home his point, he also took to Facebook, linking to an old 1974 interview in which he denounced ticket scalping. Said article has Islam (then Cat Stevens) stating:

“I was so angry that at one point I seriously considered buying the tickets off of the touts and re-distributing them to my loyal fans.”

It’s worth noting that although the New York law in question puts heavy restrictions on paperless ticketing, it does not outright ban the practice. (For what it’s worth, I recently attended a Modest Mouse show in Queens using a paper ticket that was sent via the mail.) A TicketNews story on the law explains:

The New York law does not outlaw the use of paperless tickets, but it requires that issuers of such tickets either avoid using restrictive paperless tickets that are not easily transferable, or offer consumers a traditional paper or otherwise transferable ticket as an option at checkout. Transferability is defined by a consumer being able to transfer the ticket “independent of the operator or operator’s agent.”

As a result of the show cancellation, Islam has changed his upcoming itinerary. Instead of NYC, he’ll play in Boston on December 7th. Check out the updated schedule below.

Yusuf Islam 2014 Tour Dates:
11/04 – London, UK @ Hammersmith Eventim Apollo
11/09 – Brussels, BE @ Forest National
11/11 – Milan, IT @ Mediolanum Forum
11/13 – Vienna, AT @ Stadthalle
11/16 – Paris, FR @ Zenith
11/20 – Berlin, DE @ Tempodrom
11/23 – Hamburg, DE @ CCH 1
11/25 – Dusseldorf, DE @ Mitsubishi Electric Hall
12/01 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
12/04 – Philadelphia, PA @ Tower Theatre
12/07 – Boston, MA @ Citi Performing Arts Center
12/09 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
12/12 – San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic
12/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ Nokia Theatre