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Yusuf/Cat Stevens live in Stockholm: a review

The Local · 9 May 2011, 14:55

Published: 09 May 2011 14:55 GMT+02:00

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After suffering through 36 year hiatus from having Cat Stevens out on tour in Europe, his fans could be forgiven for being a little sceptical about his return.

With a new name and religion, who could be sure what to expect from Yusuf Islam this time around?

But Saturday night's performance at the Hovet in Stockholm was certainly worth the wait.

Yusuf played a magnificent and captivating three hour set, featuring some 35 different songs from every stage of his long and varied career.

The 62-year-old showed no sign of slowing down, and was talkative and playful throughout, delighting the crowd with Swedish phrases and anecdotes.

“Did anybody here go to the same school as me in Gävle?” he asked the crowd, referring to his 6 month schooling stint in his mother's home town, 150 km north of Stockholm.

He continued: “Sweden is where it all started for me. Here is where I saw Elvis for the first time in Jailhouse Rock. It began from there.”

“I had an uncle here, an artist, his name was Hugo Wickman. He was my first encouragement in the arts. I started my little career in music when I decided that a guitar is a quicker way to make money than a paintbrush.”

And the guitar made more than just money for the singer. His string of hits from the 1970s was certainly enough to attract a capacity crowd of Cat Stevens fans to Stockholm's Hovet in hopes that Yusuf could recall some of the magic that had attracted them to his music so many decades ago.

The evening began with a solo acoustic set, including a slow version of Where Do the Children Play which he dedicated to the memory of his Swedish mother.

He was soon joined by his original back-up guitarist, Alun Davies, to rapturous applause.

It was clear from the outset that Yusuf had not left Cat Stevens behind in the waters of Malibu beach, where a near drowning started him down the path to conversion to Islam.

He glided through the hits, sometimes blending multiple songs into new medleys (I Love My Dog/Here Comes my Baby/The First Cut is The Deepest).

He dedicated a portion of the evening to his current project, 'Moonshadow The Musical', which features many of his 1970s classics in a one story. Perhaps this idea owes something to Sweden too – it had traces of the hugely successful musical adaptation of Abba hits, 'Mamma Mia'.

Between songs, Yusuf was playful and in good humour, at one point spontaneously singing lyrics from a traditonal Swedish folk song (Kom lilla flicka valsa med mig) explaining that it was the first song he had ever learned.

The evening built in tempo as the night wore on, with Yusuf fusing more old hits with his recent releases, with a few stints on the keyboard thrown in.

But he was saving the best last. The concert ended with a build-up of the old favourites, Morning Has Broken, Wild World and Father and Son, the latter complete with photographs projected on the big screen of the audience's own fathers and sons.

He returned for an encore after a thunderous standing ovation.

Story continues below…

“Have pity on an old man,” he pleaded, then finished with Moonshadow, his latest release My People, and Peace Train to a standing audience.

Yusuf had lost nothing during his long absence from the stage, and despite all the changes, the only thing different about Cat was his hair colour and the expanded setlist.

The night was still all about the music.

“Hej då, Stockholm. I hope it won't be another 36 years,” he said, leaving the stage.

And judging from the response of the capacity crowd, it's safe to say they shared the same wish.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

20:50 May 9, 2011 by planethero
The 600kr tickets sold out and i couldnt stretch to 800kr x 2, pity! Nice write up, thanks. What a legend.
00:08 May 10, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
The only thing sad about the whole affair is his turn toward Islam . . . sad.
09:31 May 10, 2011 by Keith #5083

As a role model for young jihadists - singing songs about love and being loved by so many for his talent and skill- I think he's a pretty good ambassador for western values.

Resistance to change and integration are the fundamentalists' best weapons, weapons that are difficult to load when confronted by such as CS/YI.

In the same way that the Bible speaks of extremes, so does the Q'ran. Yet both have a powerful message of lovingness for those who wish to see it.

Maybe CS sees it, huh?
11:35 May 10, 2011 by Jes
If Judas Iscariot arranged a gig today , he would pull bigger crowds than Judas Islam the Cat .
11:49 May 10, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
@Keith #5083

Good point . . . let me adjust my philosophical statement a bit then . . .

--the best thing about Islam is Cat Stevens.

--the worst thing about Cat Stevens is Islam.
16:01 May 10, 2011 by Harry Q
Hate is all u have Dr Dillner ........

Its a shame when learned poeple speak without thinking ....
20:15 May 10, 2011 by regine masson
aLlot of us now are following him some closer and a few of us has met him and his family sorry you are totaly wrong about Yusuf ,he is a great person and maybe you did never listen well to his songs because then you should now what a person he really is ,look further then your nose;not all moslims are terrorist .He is a builder of bridges and he wonts Peace
15:30 May 11, 2011 by Frank Arbach
I think a man's religion is a private matter for him. I was just glad to see Yusuf/Cat Stevens picking up his music again.
16:58 May 11, 2011 by Jes
You are wrong Frank Arbach !

´To a muslim . especially a convert like this Judas , Islam is not a "believer`s" private matter . The man wears a beard and behaves like an Arab to prove that point . Islam " is a way of life" he has said that many many times .

If you knew what he said after 30000 innocent people were killed by muslim extremist , you would know what kind of a fool this crook is .
17:58 May 11, 2011 by eton75
Sometimes the bigitory that I read from certain people is amazing . So what if he is a muslim . What the hell has this got to do with his music ?? This is such a racist country Jesus !
19:08 May 11, 2011 by Smiling Canuk
Always liked his music. His songs from the 1970's are still wonderful to listen to. He sure has aged however.
23:35 May 11, 2011 by Frank Arbach
Naahh : you're not supposed to just like his music - you're supposed to make all manner of value judgments first about his religion, ( & maybe other things): only THEN can you like the music...

23:51 May 11, 2011 by Keith #5083
nice one Frank :-)
11:04 May 12, 2011 by Jes
@eton75 , if you continue to use the word "bigitory" & "racist " so extravagantly , these words will soon loose their intended meaning .

This is not about Islam or muslims ; it is about Yusuf Islam , the former Cat Stevens as an individual . His actions do not represnt Islam or muslims . It would be equally wrong to say that liking his music is the same as embracing Islam

To criticize him as a man does not ammount to "racism" If anything , it is Yusuf Islam who can eazily be accused of racism after his silly act of going out of his way to immitate and patronize Arabs . Does he mean that Islam is all about facial hair and sandals ?

This chap is a fake . When he is Dubai , he talks another language .But when he comes to Sweden he fools and charms you with a Swedish word here and there because you are too unitelligent to see through his bluff .
12:17 May 12, 2011 by eton75
Sorry mate but he is an amazing musician and that will always be the case . I am a Christian and look at all the things done in the name of the Church . Where are the Inca and Aztecs now ?? He is not a fake and if you lived in England you would know that he has done a lot of Charity work for those in need for years .
13:00 May 12, 2011 by Jes
eton75 , I lived in England and I know that Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam is not only a fake , but a definate Islamo-fascist .

Unfortunately for him and you , Jusuf has not been a quiet man since he converted . He is on record for having offered half a million pounds to Hamas after he has said that Al-Qaida is the name for Jerusalem . He pretended that he was unaware that Hamas had terrorism tendencies .

He offered money to those who would carry out the Fatwa of Salman Rushdie . Yusuf openly said that those who betray Allah . like Rushdie did deserved to have their heads chopped off !

Cal Stevens may donate something to a Church ; but Yusuf Islam says : " only Islam can bring peace back on earth "

Cat Stevens may sing love to a Swedish audience ; but Yusuf Ismal hates Jews and Infidels .

This is a man who has develpoed the art of talking from both sides of his ugly mouth . That is why he is a fake

If you think I am making this up , ask his best friend and mentor Shiekh Hamza Yusuf
15:35 May 12, 2011 by Tamm O'Shanter
....so you WEREN'T at the concert then, I take it...?
17:40 May 12, 2011 by fridlystamia
@Jes, aka Just Enough Stupidity, this is not about Yusuf Islam as you say. This is about his concert. Read the article. It was a good concert, that's the story. Find another place to voice your frustrations. Please
20:34 May 12, 2011 by Jes
It is about his concert ?

Allright then : Cat Steven used to sing way back in the 60and 70s . I suppose that there are people who enjoy listening to an old expired voice . just as there are people who would pay to look at a skelon of a dinasaur .

Sorry fellas , it is 2011 now ; some of are intelligent enough to examine and consider the source of all the noise .

If you are one of those that are allargic to that sort of revelation. may be it is who is suffering fron a phobia but are too sick to even notice it ?
14:46 May 18, 2011 by AbangBeruang
Jes, if you dont like his music, then you have the freedom to not to listen to it. But, it is not right to say things such as "Islamo-fascist" and so on.. This is uncalled for..

Also, "I suppose that there are people who enjoy listening to an old expired voice ." Why are you trying to tell and instruct people what they should listen and what they should not? I dont get annoyed when I see people has other opinions, but I really get annoyed when I see that people are getting annoyed and rude to others for their opinions..
13:55 May 19, 2011 by Rishonim
For a second I thought the guy in the pic with the white beard was Fidel Castro
00:03 May 22, 2011 by What?
I grew up with his music and enjoyed his hits. Until today, I did not know that his mind was stuck in the sticky mindtrap and brainwashing called Islam. This suddenly gave me a bad flavor in my mouth and all this hits are nothing I ever want to hear again!

If I start to listen to his lyrics and analyse them there are probably som hidden messages and religious islam crap.

Allah is not dead - and he can never die as he never existed! It's a brainwashing scam for thousands of years and it is crazy how they can believe in something that is so stupid!
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