Although the mighty Neil Young has been keeping himself busy in the studio, he currently has no intention on touring. Young is set to drop a new Crazy Horse album this week, with an Archives III boxset is in the works.
The Unknown Legend even has plans to expand Harvest for its 50th anniversary but, remains uninterested in performing. With no current or future shows scheduled, the guitarist has no intention of announcing shows any time soon.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, Neil said “I don’t want to put people in danger. I don’t want people to see me out there and think I think everything is OK. I don’t think everything is OK.”
Setlist.fm lists the Canadian-American’s most-recent show as far back as September 2019, before the current pandemic came into existence. Although a return date had been penned in for Farm Aid in 2021, Neil decided to cancel.
“It was too soon,” Neil admits. “I just I told my buddies there, Farm Aid, I said, ‘I can’t do it. It gives me a sick feeling.’” The musician’s main 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,” Neil 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?”
All was not lost for the gifted musician as taking time away from the road has given birth to a whole plethora of releases and reworks. 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. Neil has also issued an old live recording from Carnegie Hall 1970, sharing it in recent months.
Going forward, Neil has revealed he would like to get back out there but only if the pandemic is finally in retreat. He feels a more uniform message from our leaders is needed to explain how we can defeat the coronavirus threat.
“We need to sit down and let it settle out for a while, let things calm down and then talk about coming back,” Neil argues. “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.”