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Thursday, March 23, 2023

"CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun" Says Neil Young | NYA + Comment of the Moment - UPDATED


In a recent post on T-C | NYA headlined CONCERT TOURING IS BROKEN, an article by Ananya Bhattacharya,  states that:

 "The Cure forced Ticketmaster to refund fans a portion of "unduly high" fees. In some cases, the fees were higher than the face value of the tickets to The Cure's US tour."
The article goes on to explain the complications of touring given the TicketMaster/LiveNation monopoly.

So what about that Neil Young and Crazy Horse tour in 2023?  Well, Neil Young makes a brief note on top of posts stating:


It’s over. The old days are gone. I get letters blaming me for $3,000.00 tickets for a benefit I am doing. That money does not go to me or the benefit. Artists have to worry about ripped off fans blaming them for Ticketmaster add-ons and scalpers.

CONCERT TOURS are no longer fun. CONCERT TOURS not what they were.

- ny

Which brings us to our Comment of the Moment on "Comment of the Moment: Photo of the Moment: Neil Young Concert in Dijon, France - 1982 Europe TRANS Tour" by Dionys: 

As nobody is asking the obvious so far, I will: Is Neil Young's latest lament on NYA indicating that there will be no concert tours anymore? 

Could it be be that after the pandemic and the need to adjust to eco-friendly tour standards a third obstacle, the absurd prices charged for show tickets in the US, will be clocking in the end of Neil Young concert tours? Neil Young writes that touring is no fun anymore if he personally has to justify outrageous ticket prices charged by the US ticket monopoly and scalpers. 

At the age of 77 with nothing left to prove and also little further gain to be desired losing the fun in doing live concerts because of profiteering by third parties is no small loss. 

Time Fades Away, indeed.

Thanks for this comment about tours Dionys.

At 1st, given the focus was the band The Cure, we did not too much stock into another band's take on the touring conundrum and the well known TicketMaster/LiveNation monopoly.  However, since Neil did post the Cure article on his site, there must be some agreement with the sentiment, presumably.

Since the post was about the Cure we skipped it here on TW.   But your comment made us reconsider the subject, as well as, we missed the significant Neil intro to article.

As you recall at the end of last year, we posted on Neil Young, Where Do We Go Now ... Again?   Essentially, this humble blog Thrashers Wheat has always been about the live concert experience with real time updates from fans around the world. With the various stipulations that Neil Young has made about performing publicly again,  there is serious debate on whether we've seen the last of "live" Neil

Thus, we ask our readers again: "Do we just pack it in and buy a pickup?"

Hello or Goodbye Neil Young???
Avery Fisher Hall, New York City, NY, April 24, 2011

(see Neil Young, Where Do We Go Now ... Again?   )

UPDATE - Post is blowing up and going viral.

Having been a touring musician since 1963, many of Young’s fans hailed his statement as a decree against the corporate structure coming from a place of experience. However, as a band currently touring, Unknown Mortal Orchestra did not appreciate him effectively calling time on concerts and claimed that his response comes from a position of privilege afforded by the same corporate indulgence he is now rallying against. 

On Twitter, the band’s Ruban Nielson said: “Honestly: Neil Young fuckin’ pisses me off.” He then shared his comment on a Stereogum article relating to Young’s comments; it read: “I am literally in a bus on tour with a full band and crew all paying bills off this shit and I have to see some kajillionaire talk about how ‘it’s over’, fuck you old man.”

He added: “Neil Young has not helped a single current artist earn more streaming income. Neil Young will not help current artists earn fairer ticket income or harm these corporations at all. He is flexing on us about how much better it was in his day. Old man is not looking at my life.”

Continuing: “I understand that boomers think taking a vaguely ‘anti-corporate’ stance is somehow rebellious, but current society is the result of that, so I’m not sure how anyone can get mad at me for calling bullshit on it.”

He concluded his tirade against Young by adding: “Neil Young always thinks he’s ‘sticking it to the man’, bro from where I’m sitting you are the man.”

Ruban Nielson also offered up his own advice as to how to best counter the current situation. “The way to avoid dynamic pricing AND support your favourite band,” he opined, “is to buy tickets early. Let me know if Neil destroys Ticketmaster and Spotify. I’m sure it’s any day now.”

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At 3/23/2023 04:36:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Live concerts have become a major expense for the working class for quite awhile now. And I assume that Ticketmaster is one of the reasons why. If Neil chooses to play another tour, then I will figure out a way to go hear him live. But if he decides to call it a day, then more power to him. He paid his dues a mighty long time ago, and as Dionys stated “there’s nothing to gain”. As fans, we tend to only see things from our perspective, but touring is a real challenge for those on the road. Even younger performers can burn out from touring. Neil has been doing it way longer than most people his age. And as s much as I’m sure he enjoys playing live, time waits for no one. I’m glad he doesn’t want to be responsible for ridiculous ticket prices, but it’s apparently not his call to make. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds, and be grateful for all he’s already given us.

Peace 🙏

At 3/23/2023 05:43:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Stills recently said that touring isn't fun anymore without drugs. Finally, a honest man.

At 3/24/2023 01:03:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

@ Thrasher : I have loved your blog for so long, but honestly it did not occur to me that it was all about the current tour and fans checking in. I have done so, but I have really followed the blog for all of the tid bits of Neil News, & your creative and interesting posts, features and updates,

Hell, even if Neil won’t tour, we have much to discuss as NYA rolls out more and more live shows. Neil probably has another forgotten film and album or 3 plus potentially hundreds of live shows. I love the live shows we are getting to hear from soundboard.
And we also could do our own little Ruststock meetup at another live venue. There is a live venue at Troutdale Oregon which would be epic, at a McMenimens Adult beverage playground. Just need a good show. Wilco at Red Rocks would be Epic. They are not going there this year it seems.

Your brother Alan in Seattle

At 3/24/2023 06:26:00 AM, Blogger Ron said...

Neil's 'Tours are no longer fun' post is featured in the Guardian newspaper in the UK and is currently a front page link on their website - the link to article is:

Doubt it will lead to any changes in Ticketmaster's pricing policies but you never know. I didn't expect so many other artists to take their music off Spotify when Neil did. Might at least raise awareness.

I think the post on NYA was in response to a letter to the editor from a fan complaining about the price to see Neil being $3,000 and Neil asked them to give details. I am guessing it must be for the Willie Nelson benefit.

With regards to Neil touring I guess if he wants to be in control of the ticket pricing it's going to be another hurdle to be overcome along with the fuel and real food challenges. And maybe he will decide there are just too many hurdles - we will see, hope not.

On a different topic I am intrigued as to why Neil posted the lyrics to Days That Used To Be on the front page of NYA the other week. Anyone got and ideas or thoughts? Pretty sure he doesn't post things on the front page without a reason.

At 3/24/2023 09:58:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - right. we can spend lots of time on how things might be or could be.

But, yes, tremendously grateful for we've been gifted already.

@ Richie - honest men are few and far between. but they do exist.

"He had a different story for every set of eyes"

@ Alan - as much as we all would like that final Crazy Horse barn tour, it might just come down to that ... our own little Ruststock meetup

and if that's what ends up happening, so be it. we tried to catch every neil concert we could. and for the most part did. no regrets here.

your brother thrasher in greendale

@ Ron - thanks on Guardian link.

yeah, after posting yesterday, it seems a bunch of folks started picking up and we'll see more play over next few days.

oh, those Days That Used To Be ... we're so much younger now, our life's been funny that way

At 3/24/2023 10:01:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I strongly agree with Dan. Ticket prices have been too high for many people for a long time now. I "could afford it" but that does not mean very much. I could also "afford" a new BMW, but this would mean not doing something else. Go to the concert and spend what $500 (all around). Not likely.

But worse yet are the morons at concerts. I can't deal with noise and I especially cannot deal with morons yelling. When I went to a Neil concert back in 1983 at Great Woods in Massachusetts a drunk guy tried to grab my (now) spouse. He was so drunk he could barely walk. I like a drink as much as the next guy but I hate drunks in public.

I recall in the Zuma era Neil himself showing up at some local meeting, a town hall type deal, and arguing against outdoor concerts. This is funny. I will try to find the story. It was originally in Rolling Stone magazine.

At 3/24/2023 11:28:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

regarding update above on UMO statements.

we'll say this, at least Neil made statement. More so than Springsteen & Swift etc.

That's really not saying much at all.

But whatever happened to rebel rock? Stand up and speak out against the madness anyone?


At 3/24/2023 03:17:00 PM, Blogger rolandthompsongunner said...

Appreciate you posting both sides here, Thrash.

My thoughts:
I can see where Neil takes some hits here as "the man" and the kajillionaire who has already made his money on the previous model, but I think that's a bit misguided.

Once the bar has been set my other famous artists, it's not reasonable to Neil can go out charge $50-$75 a ticket. With the name recognition, no way Ticketmaster lets that happen.

Yes, road techs, guitar tech, etc all deserve their cut and have been devastated by the pandemic, but I'm not sure what the delicate balance is for newer artists playing at smaller venues, vs. those legacy acts.

I can see why someone of his stature would survey the landscape and feel uncomfortable asking fans $500-$750 a seat. Yes, he's fortunate to have toured for 6 decades, and before it eroded to the current state. I felt that's what lead to the statement. Not a shot against the hard working folks who need the work.

At 3/24/2023 04:03:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ RTG - thanks for balanced reply.

well, we do try for balance.-- believe it or not. Although in this day when some folks seem to want their news "balanced" to align with their predispositions.

this is not a new subject for us here @ TW and -- sadly -- saw this day coming long ago.


Cough Up The Buck$ ... or not ...

At 3/24/2023 06:21:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

January 15, 1976

"Show Close to Home: Neil Young Says No"

San Mateo Planning Board Commission

My summary:

Neil argues against the outdoor concert proposal and describes drug overdoses, bad behavior, etc..."

Really interesting "random note" bit. And pretty funny in my opinion. Concerts were going to be close to Broken Arrow Ranch. One wonders- these events are like two worlds, the one for the performers and the one for the audience.

At 3/24/2023 06:43:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Rust-stock will feature live music either way. My guitar is still portable. I’ve been practicing Powderfinger for Decades, and more.
There is always room for Neil to change his mind about touring, but it seems to be solid now: a tour is unlikely to happen. I want more live music but Neil has paid his dues for sure (as Dan said, I think).

Neil will be one of the hardest working retired guys the world has seen, if he retires. He might retread.

Your brother Alan in Seattle The Wheat goes on….

At 3/25/2023 07:17:00 AM, Blogger 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?

At 3/25/2023 08:15:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

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.

At 3/25/2023 11:24:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

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

Straight to CotM @

At 3/25/2023 10:30:00 PM, Blogger willforestwater said...

Maybe it's time to move on from mega stars to the 2nd and 3rd tier players.

I saw Ryan Adams last week outside Seattle in Federal Way. In my book he equals Neil in song writing, singing, and playing acoustic and electric. Row A seats for $80 each. He played for 3 solid hours! And streamed it live for free from his phone on Instagram.

Maybe I'll never see Neil live again. Or maybe Neil will decide to play one offs in obscure markets for dirt cheap. It's up to him. He's rich enough to give it away for free if he wants to.

TicketMaster owns a lot - venues and ticketing combined, which makes them especially evil. But they don't own everything yet.


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