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Thursday, December 01, 2016


Earlier this year, we posted news that Neil Young + Promise of the Real would headline Australia's 2017 Bluesfest line-up.

In addition, there were indications of a possible 2017 tour of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South America.

Now comes official word from Bluesfest Festival Director, Peter Noble on Facebook:

"It is with a heavy heart I announce this morning that Neil Young has cancelled his performance at Bluesfest 2017. Although I have been aware of this as a possibility for a couple of weeks now, I have been appealing to Neil's management for him to play the confirmed concert. Unfortunately, this is now not going to happen. Whilst details for the cancellation remain sketchy, from what I can gather Neil has decided to take 2017 off from touring.

At the moment, there isn't an official statement from Neil's management regarding the cancellation. I have no reason to believe this is due to any illness, I have been advised he is tired from recent touring, and I surmise wants to have some down time.

Bluesfest had its own contract with Neil's representatives for the performance, we paid the required deposit, and had full permission to announce the Bluesfest performance.

I note that an announcement saying Neil would not be touring occurred recently by Frontier Touring. I do want to say again, that the Bluesfest contracted performance occurred directly with Neil Young's representatives.
Bluesfest is a major festival with one of the best line-ups in our history scheduled for 2017. The Zac Brown Band, Santana, Patti Smith, The Lumineers, Mary J Blige, The Doobie Brothers, Madness, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Bragg, and score of other artists, including the king of the Blues, Buddy Guy are all performing at Bluesfest 2017, as well as the hits of Bluesfest 2016, St Paul & the Broken Bones and Rhiannon Giddens.

Of course, we are in negotiations with other great artists to play, and we will be releasing a new artist announcement soon. I understand that no one can replace Neil Young, and that there will be disappointment as a result of his cancelling.

Refunds are now available for Single Day Ticket buyers for the day of Neil's performance. They will be available until a week after the new artist announcement.

We ask ticket buyers to hold their Single Day Friday Tickets until the new announcement has been made!
The Bluesfest Ticketing Team can handle any enquiries you may have. The office is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and can be reached on 02 6685 8310.

I would like to say in closing, that we are very disappointed at making this announcement.

I feel I have done everything I can, to cause the concert to be performed.

We value our audience, and their assumption, that when buying their ticket, they should have an expectation the advertised performance will occur. In this case, that has not occurred, and I apologise, even though the events were out of my control.

I want to wish Neil Young the very best and appreciate what he is doing for First Nations People at Standing Rock. We look forward to presenting him soon at Bluesfest."
So it looks like no tours for 2017, which is a shame given how on fire Neil + Promise of the Real had been this year on the road.

So what will 2017 bring for Neil Young? Time always tells..

Labels: ,


At 12/01/2016 09:45:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Damn you Desert Trip

At 12/02/2016 12:15:00 AM, Blogger TOM said...

Health concerns?

At 12/02/2016 12:29:00 AM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

According to the statement, "I have no reason to believe this is due to any illness, I have been advised he is tired from recent touring, and I surmise wants to have some down time."

At 12/02/2016 01:15:00 AM, Blogger TOM said...

I call "bullshit" on that statement

At 12/02/2016 08:55:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Tom: The statement smells bullshit-y because it's so obviously going out of its way to preempt speculation. The speculation is likely unavoidable, regardless. It's likely the author of this statement knows little more than we do about Neil's reasoning or intent, but I'm guessing they're trying to avoid spreading rumors or inciting fan panic. The statement was written in PR Mode, but that doesn't mean there's a looming crisis. Based on all of this, we can't categorically rule out health concerns, but I'm not going to assume the sky is falling. And I don't regard it as being entirely my business, either way.


~A Metamorphic Rocker

At 12/02/2016 09:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the history of Neil Young, you never know until show time if he is playing or not. Classic Neil.

At 12/02/2016 10:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Classic Neil Young, I agree.

I think the most likely explanation here is the obvious one: after two years of extensive touring with the same group, he's worn out and needs either a rest or (more conceivably) a change.

Neil wrote in Waging Heavy Peace that the long 2008/2009 tour exhausted him, not physically, but mentally:

"I am currently tired of my musical self...I have OD'd....It has happened a few times before. The last time was near the end of 2009; I finished that tour and had to stop. Too much of a good thing".

I think the same thing may well be happening here.

So hopefully there are no medical concerns other than those generally asociated with 71-year-old musicians who "ought to know better and thankfully don't" (McDonough).

So what comes next? That's the exciting question! 2016 has again been a good year for Neil musically. I think his touring with POTR has generally been solid this year, and Earth is a very rewarding album to my ears.

David Briggs on his death-bed told Neil to "put as much of himself into the music as possible". By that, he didn't mean "don't play with bands". He was in fact talking about a very distilled, intense form of musical greatness which (to my ears) has been just a little bit diluted recently with impressive but ultimately superfluous layers.

Rule #1: Alone in the spotlight, Neil Young rises to the occasion. That's why the Horse is so powerful: because they give him a rock solid platform and push him to the forefront. They put him alone onto that precipice of greatness and give him a safety net. The same is true of Neil's solo acoustic performances. Or even his shows with 'Poncho and the MGs' or the Bluenotes (a very big band who again had the ability to put Neil Young's guitar playing at the centre of an exciting but uncrowded musical picture frame).

So I'm hoping that when Neil returns to the studio or stage, refreshed and invigorated, we are going to hear some more of this distilled magic, whatever exciting form it may take. And until then, I hope he enjoys a rest and has a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


At 12/02/2016 11:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...And to demonstrate my point above, do yourself a favour and watch this particularly rich version of Ramada Inn from Melbourne 2013:

Hard to believe this was less than 4 years ago.

It demonstrates just how magical Neil still can be when he combines the right ingredients. BANG! Like a chemical reaction. It's deceptively simple, it's straightforward, everything slots together and has room to breathe.

All the emotional depth and urgency, the hard-boiled rhythmic gutsiness (Poncho is a huge part of this song's greatness), the sense of wide open wondrous space and the heart-twisting eloquent guitar solos are captured perfectly in this magnificent performance. Some of these qualities have been missing recently. It's soulful, but unlike some of Neil's more recent songs, it's also profound and substantial. You can get your teeth into it. By all means, go and experience it for yourself.


At 12/02/2016 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Art Carey said...

Apparently he's going to be working on the Archives sets.

At 12/02/2016 01:07:00 PM, Blogger Llamajacket said...

NY just had another grandchild, he's a family man

At 12/02/2016 01:26:00 PM, Blogger mike d said...

What a very cool diplomatic way to inform everyone. No throwing anyone under the bus. Just a cancelation with reimbursement, if you want, but hold on till we fill the bill. This person is a master publicity agent. If it would have been the future leader of the free world it would have been announced on Twitter as follows: Neil Young has canceled Bluefest 2017. He's a loser and we didn't really want him anyway!

At 12/02/2016 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Maybe he's going to kick some as over at the long "under construction" Pono Store.

At 12/03/2016 02:26:00 AM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Need of rest seems a poor excuse. The Au/Nz tour was scheduled for April 2017, plenty of time for Neil for resting. In every case, it was just a month of work. I couldn't exclude some health scares. Ireally hope that Neil takes the year off for completing and releasing the Archives and everything will be fine for Neil.
So Tired.

At 12/03/2016 05:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Worth remembering that Neil has spent the last 50+ years relentlessly following "The Muse". This has generally been good for his art and not so good for his relations with other people. People never know where they are with him. In the past, whole tours and bands have been abandoned at VERY short notice because Neil changed his mind and wanted to do something else. As Niko Bolas said about the Bluenotes: "they planned their life around this band that we knew was just another one of Neil's toys".

Or as Poncho puts it: "Neil doesn't turn corners, he ricochets". He's also very impressionable. People consistently make the mistake of thinking that because NY wants to do something now, he will also want to do it tomorrow. But listen to Don't Take your Love Away From Me on Bluenote Cafe for a chilling and honest confession of how just how fickle he can be.

Look at Neil's touring career and you will rarely find 3 consecutive years where he has essentially done the same thing in a row. And his usual way of dealing with his instinct to shake things up is to make a sudden hard turn, one that inevitably puts a spanner in the works for other people's plans.

This is why some of us scoffed at all the "POTR are putting the Horse out of business" talk. The same was naively said about the Lost Dogs, the MGs, Pearl Jam, the Electric Band etc.

So obviously we can't rule out health concerns (I wish we could), but it seems to me that we're just seeing the continuation of a pattern that has repeated itself for several decades now. In some ways, it's reassuring.

Also worth noting that Peace Trail has already been recorded with a different band (again, for some reason, many people were surprised by this). I wouldn't take this use of a different band as any intended insult to POTR whatsover; their live versions of these songs are clearly accomplished. But it's fair to observe that a change of style was already underway long before this live cancellation.


At 12/03/2016 01:14:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Neil is in his 70s so must be feeling the pace - and I hear that Ms Hannah likes him home to wash up of the evening, ask Jackson Browne about that!

As a fan since 1970 Neil I'm hugely disappointed when Neil releases sloppy records and we have one coming this week - in the 70s he made crap records but these were never released these days he doesn't have that luxury as new songs appear very quickly and let's all be honest here there's not been much to galvanise his reputation in the last 10 years. Let's have Archives 2 and then retire, rest,spend time with the family, protest but stop making below par record.

At 12/03/2016 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

Andy, I'm not exactly sure what galvanizing his reputation means but Psychedelic Pill & Monsanto Years are both good albums. If alleged rock n roll radio stations weren't programmed by some conglomerate songs like Ramada Inn & Workin Man would get airplay & would become classics like Neil's earlier releases. Thank god for public radio.

At 12/03/2016 06:06:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

To Peacelover - PP is ok, and Monsanto is dreadful - just my view - we're now settling for 'good' albums. Galvanise means to enhance his reputation - the records are lazy and sloppy. Here's a message scant regard for the lyrics or melody. Peace.

At 12/03/2016 06:51:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

I wish you Peace as well Andy. Thanks

At 12/05/2016 03:04:00 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

I completely agree, Andy.

At 12/07/2016 12:20:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

I just think we can't dismiss Peace Trail as "sloppy record" yet. We haven't heard all of it. As far as I'm aware, four tracks have been made available so far: Peace Trail, Indian Givers, Show Me, and My Pledge. These make up just fewer than half of the album's ten tracks. And speaking personally, at least two (Peace Trail and My Pledge) strike me as strong positive indicators. I'm curious how this batch songs will hang together.

Can we at least wait until it's released before deciding about any excessive sloppiness?

~Metamorphic Rocker

At 12/07/2016 12:37:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Additional thought: As far as "Crap albums" that went unreleased in the '70s, it's actually possible that some of the best, most interesting material never saw light of day at the time. Thinking of what I've heard/read about the legendary Chrome Dreams and Homegrown albums... some of those tracks have been redistributed across various albums in the intervening decades, but plenty remain in the vaults. Presumably we'll be able to judge this material for ourselves whenever Archives II finally shows up.

On the flip side, some (in my opinion) mediocre material squeaked out even in the heyday of the mid-late '70s. Side 1 of Stars 'n' Bars comes to mind--pulled together in the spring of '77 to create something complete in place of the album that would have been Chrome Dreams. Does anyone remember Saddle up the Palomino? Even tracks like Hey Babe and Hold Back the Tears, while not bad, are just fairly bland. You can't always hit it out of the stands, but on the other hand, part of the reason I go is just for the fun of the game.

At 12/07/2016 02:16:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

So Glad I saw Neil again with PotR in Boise when I had the chance! That was a hell of a band. I am sad they are parting ways but I am hopeful as always for the next album. I love his output. I think its much better than a lot of stuff that came out in the 80s. I think the new songs from Peace Trail were very strong live with the band. I must admit that I was hoping he would record a new record WITH PotR. Oh well, its Neil Young. You take what he gives you and enjoy it unless you cannot. I CAN, and I DO. Those of you who see poor output, I say, there's no accounting for taste. Take what you can use, leave the rest. I for one am very happy with Neil's music in the last 10 years. I am a long time fan and I must tell you that the latest Promise of the Real shows I have seen have been among the best I have seen. Yes, it'd be great if Neil got back together with Crazy Horse. I loved Psychedelic Pill and the live show on the tour was EPIC. I even loved Americana and Le Noise. See you on the Peace Trail. Alan in Seattle.

At 12/07/2016 12:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Ian Kertis:

"Does anyone remember Saddle up the Palomino?"....yes!...and Hey Babe and Hold Back the Tears....some of my favourite NY songs on one of my favourite albums by him.

"fairly bland"...!!!....unbelievable!

At 12/07/2016 12:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Ian Kertis:

"Does anyone remember Saddle up the Palomino?"....yes!...and Hey Babe and Hold Back the Tears....some of my favourite NY songs on one of my favourite albums by him.

"fairly bland"...!!!....unbelievable!

At 12/08/2016 10:17:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Edward Lawrence,

Differing tastes among Neil fans are always a fascinating part of the conversation. Apologies for perhaps being overly sweeping in my comments. As Alan said above, there's no accounting for taste. I'm glad that for every Neil Young album out there, there's someone to enjoy it. My favorites include Sleeps with Angels and Trans, so I'm familiar with the feeling of appreciating what other people don't get. I've just always found Stars 'n' Bars, with a few exceptions (mainly Like a Hurricane and Will to Love) to be unremarkable and one of the lesser albums of that period. That's strictly my opinion. What can I tell you? Bite the Bullet honestly sounds to me like a (somewhat) more adult version of Kenny Chesney (a name I was hoping never to have to mention on a Neil Young website!)


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