Neil Young Won't Tour Until We "Beat" COVID

The rock icon reiterated his anti-performance stance in a new interview with Howard Stern

BY Kaelen BellPublished Dec 17, 2021

Neil Young just released Barn, the rock icon's latest album with Crazy Horse. But, as he's made clear before, fans won't be seeing him take the album on the road until we've "beat" COVID. 

During Young's latest appearance on Howard Stern, he reiterated his stance on live performances in the age of COVID, having previously called out big promoters for hosting "superspreader" concerts and pulling out of Farm Aid

"This is an amazing moment in human history," he told Stern. "There's never been anything quite like this. We ought to be thankful that we have a chance to maybe show how to beat this. We might be able to beat this. We can still beat it. There's no reason why we can't. If we came together, we could take care of this. And I have confidence that we can."

He also said that "people are not being realistic and they're not being scientific. If we followed the rules of science, and everybody got vaccinated, we'd have a lot better chance."

However, he remains generally optimistic about the whole thing, telling Stern:

The pendulum has gotta swing a long way before a big change happens. And then it starts coming back, because that's history, that's the way it is. I feel good. I think we're gonna make it. I think we're gonna turn this around. We got a lot of smart people in the world with a lot of great ideas. And the more love there is in the world, the more we're gonna hear those ideas. We're gonna make this happen.

While it's a bummer that we won't be seeing Young on a stage any time soon, it's refreshing, in a world of Eric Claptons and Van Morrisons, to have a legacy artist take such a firm stance in support of public safety. 

Young has spoken about his refusal to play live during the pandemic before, saying in an interview with Rolling Stone earlier this month, "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 okay. I don't think everything is okay."

As Omicron cases surge and shows are being cancelled left and right, it's pretty hard to argue with that logic. 


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