Neil Young and Promise of the Real’s 2019 European tour will be chronicled in the upcoming concert movie and companion album Noise & Flowers, which arrives August 5. Ahead of its release, Young has offered up “From Hank to Hendrix” from the trek.
Young was about to fly to Europe for the tour when he got word that his longtime manager Elliot Roberts had died. “During the tour, we had a poster of Elliot on a road case, where where he always stood during all shows,” Young wrote on the Neil Young Archives. “Everyone who was with us felt that this tour was amazing for its great vibe. The Real and I delivered for Elliot.”
The songs on Noise & Flowers are drawn from various shows on the nine-city tour. It’s a mixture of hits like “Helpless” and “Rockin’ in the Free World” with fan favorites like “Winterlong,” “Alabama,” and “I’ve Been Waiting for You.” It also includes an extraordinarily rare electric rendition of “On The Beach” from the group’s July 9, 2019 show in Antwerp, Belgium. It’s one of the four times he’s played the song in the past 47 years, and the only time he’s done it with a band:
“Truly a great collection,” Young writes about the movie and live album, “dripping with the soul of our band as we played for our fallen leader.”
Young hasn’t performed in public since September 2019, but Farm Aid recently announced that the annual charity show will return September 24. Young skipped the event in 2021 due to Covid concerns, but he shared the recent date announcement on his Instagram site, suggesting he’ll be there.
During his long break from the road, Young released two new Crazy Horse records and prepared an ambitious series of archival releases that he rolled out every few months. In a new interview with Uncut, Crazy Horse bassist Billy Talbot revealed that they recently cut yet another record with Rick Rubin. He’s not sure, however, when they’ll tour, especially since guitarist Nils Lofgren will be busy next year with the E Street Band.
“Maybe he’ll slip over and play with us every once in a while,” Talbot said. “We don’t do a lot of stuff. We need everybody to miss us. So when they see us, they’ll just love us. If you miss somebody enough, it’s good to see them.”
Not much is known about the new Rick Rubin-produced record, but Young has mentioned it several times when responding to fan letters on the Neil Young Archives. “The new record (just completed) is one that will last in my memory for all time,” he recently wrote. “What an amazing experience for me. Songs out of the strangest places. So different, yet more of the same.”
“I may go on tour, but we have no plans at the moment,” he wrote to another fan. “Maybe a couple of shows shows for benefits. Stay tuned!”