The upcoming Cat Stevens North American tour -- the first by the musician now known as Yusef Islam in 35 years -- is one of the year's most highly anticipated treks, and it will also be one of the most highly secured.
The Toronto Star reports one fan is upset by the requirements fans attending his Massey Hall show on Dec. 1 have to meet to see the singer of "Peace Train" and "Wild World." Ric Doedens, the fan in question, revealed the list which includes no exit from the building "for any reason" upon entrance as well as arriving two hours before the 8pm start time.
The venue's official site says doors open at 6 p.m. with the following: "We strongly advise early arrival." Prices range for the Toronto show from $84.09 to $293.59 including service charges according to Ticketmaster.
While showing the same credit card used to purchase tickets as well as photo identification isn't a new policy and is often used to curb the amount of ticket scalping, concertgoers will reportedly also receive an "airport style search, including walk-through airport metal detectors." And the following items are also restricted: backpacks, waist packs, cans or bottles, blankets, cameras, GoPros and iPads, handbags (larger than 12 inches by 14 inches), weapons, chains or video/audio recording equipment.
"You have to wonder if he (Yusuf) is doing this because he feels threatened," Doedens told the Star. "I've been a fan since I was a kid so I find this rather ironic. If you follow (Yusuf's) own website and you read his background, you see that he's very clearly a man of peace. And yet this sends exactly the opposite message."
The singer, however, dismissed the controversy today on Twitter.
Yusef sparked outrage back in 1989 at Kingston University in London when he was alleged to have said he supported the death of author Salman Rushdie for writing "The Satanic Verses." Rushdie had a fatwa issued against him by the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The musician released a statement a day later saying he was not calling for vigilantism but was merely stating that blasphemy is punishable by death according to the Koran.
In 2004, he was also denied entry into the United States as his name was placed on a "no-fly list" in July of that year. "Yusuf Islam has been placed on government watch lists because of concerns of ties he may have to potential terrorist-related activities," then Homeland Security spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said according to a Washington Post article. "More recently, the intelligence community has received information that further heightens this concern." The singer would eventually enter the U.S. in 2006 without incident.
The Tell 'Em I'm Gone tour, in support of his latest studio album, hits Berlin Thursday (Nov. 20) before stops in Hamburg and Dusseldorf. The six-date North American trek begins in Toronto before concluding in Los Angeles Dec. 14. Set lists from the shows indicate the performance being split into two sets and averaging 30 songs including an encore.