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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Comment of the Moment: "It's over." ... "CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun" Says Neil Young | NYA

 "CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun":  Neil Young on March 19, 2023
Photo @ Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY, April 24, 2011

Neil Young -- once again --  shakes the EARTH.

Earlier this week, Neil Young posted a statement saying that "It's over." ... "CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun". 

Back in 2008, there was some rather heated arguments over ticket prices for Neil Young in concert that prompted an open letter from a fan.

Last time this happened, we thought everything on the subject of for the turnstiles had been exhausted. There were passionate debates and discussion of when art and commerce worlds collide.

While many long time Neil fans had pretty much resigned themselves to this inevitably over the past few years, some younger artists were appalled and outraged by the apparent betrayal by one's rock's elder statesman. (see thread on UMO@Unknown Mortal Orchestra | Twitter).

Which brings us yet again to our Comment of the Moment on "CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun" Says Neil Young | NYA  byBlogger Dionys said...

It's quite well-documented that Neil Young always has been tormented by the fact of his superstar status and his desire to be an honest and ordinary or real life person. 

Nothing sums this up better than a David Briggs statement about the song "Ordinary People": "Neil knows nothing about ordinary people" (McDonough, Jimmy, Shakey, p. 621 footnote). Apparently it took a while for Neil Young to get over doubts and the Briggs verdict, because the song was released out of time context on CD II almost 20 years later. With the debate around ticket prices it is not a mere coincidence that this song currently is being played in the upper right hand corner of the NYA screen. 

While I understand that a musician of a band unknown to me is getting cynical about luxury problems I feel inclined to accept Neil Young's statements regarding this current round of rock'n'roll circus as genuine and sincere positions. With the pandemic hiatus some people took a step back and were looking at their routines and attitudes and some didn't. There are things much worse than every once in a while asking the question "What were we thinking?" Briggs probably was right back then and his statement maybe still holds, but as has been stated above already very few present day superstars even tried to side with the regular kind.

Originally live shows were an operation to support the sales of an album. Then album sales plunged because everybody came to download their daily soundtrack for free. Many bands took to touring to compensate for tanking CD sales. Apparently this business scheme has come to an end now, too. How much money did the the short-changed touring band's audience spend on CDs, vinyl or tapes?

UMO charge a very affordable 37,50 Euros for their concerts in Düsseldorf and Berlin (Germany) in upcoming May, this being the price for a middle class restaurant dinner for one person. Lucinda Williams shows last January in Munich did cost 55 Euros and they are a lot better known to a German audience with much more money to burn than UMO audiences. As a commercial enterprise trying their luck on the European market UMO do not even come close to be playing in Neil Young's league. 

The irate tweet somehow reminds me of Nirvana touring the Bavarian backcountry in 1989, a few months before "Nevermind" came out, the difference being UMO has been around much longer now than Nirvana had been back then.

As always, many thanks for your contributions here Dionys.  Interesting comment  -- and relevant -- quote by Briggs on "Ordinary People".

As we exchanged in our comments back and forth, this is a sad -- yet inevitable -- moment for us in the rustie grain communities.

First, this does not mean that we will never see Neil on stage again. While it sounds like no more grueling city to city tours, benefits, one offs and extended stays are still possible.  So, no, we haven't seen the last of Neil and he's not completely packing it up. Or so we think.

(130+ Comments) 

Way back in 2008, we started compiling our grievances with a series of  documentation on the TicketMaster monopoly and the destruction of the traditional artist and concert business.

Cough Up The Buck$ Crew
HarryO, Volume Drinkers: Brand New Guy, Paul D.
Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY - 12/15/2008

In so many ways, this is nothing new. We saw a lot of this when Neil Young expressed artistic freedom so eloquently on the much maligned and misunderstood -- but beloved -- Greendale.

Neil said...
"Just do what you want to do
Don't listen to anyone else"
(Jack Black w/ sign)

Neil Young Honored As MusiCares Person Of The Year

More on the value of artistic freedom, audience entitlement, and elite fan hypocrisy.


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At 3/25/2023 06:35:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Ticketmaster having a monopoly in the tour industry is a big problem, as they have been dictating their own set of rules since they started. Competition is a healthy thing, as it inspires people to do better than the other guys. When one company calls all the shots, corruption and greed tends to become the status quo. The U. S Government is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Yes there are two major parties, but they have worked out a system that regardless of their differences, they support each other behind the scenes to protect their comfortable lifestyle. The only ones who suffer are those who elected them into power in the first place.
Ticketmaster is just following their lead, and profits are sky high for them, and a deterrent to those fans who don’t have deep pockets. We live in a corrupt world, and the evidence is everywhere you look, and those in power don’t even care that we know. What can be done…… they won.

Peace 🙏

At 3/26/2023 01:07:00 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

Does Neil ever stop whining and moaning these days?

At 3/26/2023 03:41:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

On the surface the discussion started with a fan who complained about a ticket price of 3000 $ for a benefit concert with Neil Young's participation. Neil Young declared that he had nothing to do with these outrageous prices. After the pandemic hiatus Neil Young is trying to re-define the conditions under which touring to him is possible or acceptable (health, environment and affordability) Other than a lot of the big acts who just hurry to return to their pre-pamdemic routine and business concept Neil Young does not obviously because he (and a lot of his fans) are of the opinion that the current touring concepts are not sustainable or socially fair, and maybe never were. This is not "whining and moaning" but realistic and responsible. Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" is not an attitude I am ready to accept to be thrown at me by anyone. When The Who's Roger Daltrey and others outed themselves as Brexiteers they lost all their respect with me. These fat cats should have known the price of their anachronistic political extravaganza for the little guy who had made them kajillionaires (and they and their managers knew). Of course: If one subscribes to the idea that human life is to be the war of everybody against everybody (and everything)...

At 3/26/2023 10:53:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Glenn :

Neil Young is, and has always been an exception to the rule on virtually everything he has done. He is an artist who follows his own path, without being concerned with outside expectations. He has done everything in his power to be of service regarding charitable events, and helping people whose voices need to be heard. Bringing attention to the corruption that is rapidly destroying our planet, and using his celebrity status as a tool for good. He is one of the few people in his industry who has been brave enough to speak out about the issues that affect us all.

He is only one person, but he has inspired many to speak out against the corporate corruption that dictates the quality of so many lives around the world. I don’t believe that anyone can question his integrity, or his motives. He has earned the right to be frustrated with an issue that effects his ability to do his work in a manner that doesn’t involve a negative impact on those who wish to support him.

Peace 🙏

At 3/27/2023 01:40:00 AM, Blogger David Rart said...

Were there not pictures doing the rounds recently of a Neil Young painted touring train ready to go? Or am I dreamin man, were they fake? Though I note his recent rants about events also needing to be green and organic. Either way he has his own platform online, he could play to his fans every night through that from a purpose-built barn club near his home.

At 3/27/2023 01:53:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

It always seemed to me that Neil Young was dedicated to the quality, power, and dignity of music: this is what I thinks motivates him. A wider problem in the society might just be an empty aesthetic? I certainly hear the passion on this site and from many people contributing comments.

Above comment about "rants" and demanding green and organic: somebody needs to do this. All venues in the US, at these large shows, serve crap (piece of crap!!). Neil is doing what matters, listening to possibilities. Can we get a farmer's market in our town? Can we get fresh and healthy food? Yes, if we try we can, but it will mean hard work.

At 3/27/2023 03:08:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Nothing worthwhile or meaningful comes about without hard work and dedication. Neil has a laser focus on what he can accomplish, and it has resulted in some astonishing results. He can’t change things all by himself, so he looks to find people who are willing and motivated to help. This is how good things happen in life, one person sees a need, and gathers together a group of individuals who share in the vision. Some steps may take years, while others take may days. Its a process that is difficult, and requires commitment to see it through.

I don’t see Neil completely giving up on touring, and he will definitely know what it will look like when he finds the solution. If he doesn’t find something that works and stops touring, he’ll still have plenty of time to work on his Archives, and we have already benefited from that….. thanks to Covid.

Peace 🙏

P. S. Kinda hard to come to terms with the fact that anything good came from Covid. But look what Neil gave us because he couldn’t do anything else.

At 3/27/2023 04:07:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

A tour like the European Greendale, the Twisted Road Tour or the theatre series could be blueprints for an "all organic" outing. To prepare a tour with a full band, playing large venues across continents might take a long time, time Neil Young maybe does not have or is not willing to invest at the age of 77, especially when having to rely on a monopoly which apparently is unwilling to meet the demands of the artist and his audience.
After the Greendale show in Munich my friend Declan and I went around the building and we ran into Larry Cragg himself packing all the Martins for the next tour stop. That must have been a real small, environmentally low impact tour.

At 3/28/2023 12:53:00 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

Just noticed Rotterdam 7-24-2001 up on Archives and I heard "I've Been Waiting For You" like it was the first time ever just now and I have to say, hearing such a great recording of the Horse from 2001 is such a pleasure and miracle that it goes a long way towards soothing my soul regarding future touring. Same with the upcoming bootleg releases, and Archives in general. The reality is Neil really didn't tour much in recent years, and flying to California for some mid week Crazy Horse shows or to Telluride for Promise of the Real was something I couldn't do. I sure am hoping for Crazy Horse at Outlaw Field but am feeling a lot of gratitude for "Love and Only Love" July 24, 2001 at this current moment, thanks Neil!

At 3/28/2023 09:42:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

@Jeff : I got the notification yesterday on the new addition to the Timeline Concert, and judging by your comments, it sounds like a keeper. Looking forward to digging into it this weekend. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can’t imagine any NY fan not subscribing to NYA, if only for the Timeline Concerts. To have access to these shows is a remarkable gift. Not to mention the outtakes, films, and historical details. What a privilege with such a small investment.

Peace 🙏


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