Why Neil Young Still Has No Plans to Tour
Neil Young remains reliably busy in the studio, with a new Crazy Horse album arriving this week, a massive Archives III box in the works and plans to expand Harvest for its 50th anniversary.
What he's not interested in doing is playing any of it onstage. Young has no future shows scheduled and no plans to announce any.
"I don't want to put people in danger," he told Rolling Stone. "I don't want people to see me out there and think I think everything is OK. I don't think everything is OK."
His most recent in-person show, according to Setlist.fm, dates back to a pre-pandemic appearance in September 2019. Young set a return date for April at Farm Aid but decided to cancel.
"It was too soon," Young admitted. "I just I told my buddies there, Farm Aid, I said, 'I can't do it. It gives me a sick feeling.'"
His chief concern remains watching in horror as one of his concerts turns into a super-spreader event.
"First of all, I charge a fortune to play. Whatever it is, even the lowest-priced tickets are ridiculous," Young said. "So, people come to this thing that they really want to see because they paid a lot of money, and they’ve been looking forward to it for so long. And then they all go there – what if something goes wrong?"
Instead, Young has busied himself with recorded music both new and old. Barn, the upcoming LP with Crazy Horse, follows a virtual avalanche of COVID-era archival releases – including Homegrown, Return to Greendale, the 10-disc Archives Volume II: 1972–1976, Way Down in the Rust Bucket and Young Shakespeare. He also issued Carnegie Hall 1970, an old live recording, in October.
Looking forward, Young said he'd like to have a better sense that the pandemic is finally in retreat, and that begins with a more uniform message about how to combat the coronavirus threat from our leaders. Then perhaps he'll hit the road again.
"We need to sit down and let it settle out for a while, let things calm down and then talk about coming back," Young argued. "I would hope that when I do come back and start playing again, knock on wood, that everything is safe, but things have to be under control and going in one direction for a while before I'm going to go out and play."
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