At 77, Neil Young is still a hippie at heart: ‘I feel a lot of hope’
He still makes his fans laugh at his shows, which are often infused with a bit of his own personality.
And for the last 30 years he has been a living, breathing document of the American dream.
On Saturday, it’s one of his most powerful, and at 77, he still feels a lot of hope.
The story began to unfold 40 years ago, during an interview with Neil Young himself.
The rock star and rock-god had been doing the round, from a tiny barber shop in Kansas City, Missouri, to a small TV studio in Vancouver, Canada, where he was starring in one of the most important films of his career – The Future.
He hadn’t yet released any new music from the songwriting team he formed with Al Kooper, had only toured with The Band, and when the interview was over he drove on to his next gig in Kansas City.
At the time, it was his first solo set since the Woodstock Woodstock.
Young was on tour with The Band, a group of musicians and friends that had spent a lifetime making hits, both on stage and behind the scenes.
The band’s sound combined elements of folk, blues and pop, and although they were famous for their rock-and-roll antics and the ability to sell out arenas, they were also considered a part of the counterculture.
In 1987, when Young had recently finished The Future, he was booked to play a gig at the legendary Rock & Roll Hotel.
It was a gig that was considered an enormous production by its promoters, because of the size of the crowd and the fact that he was a known quantity.
The gig was, at times, a rollercoaster ride.
One of the biggest shows of his career, it included Young’s first of a record 13 shows in 10 days at the historic hotel.
When asked by a reporter how his first show had gone, at the time a new-ish college student called Neil Young, he famously said, “You know, I’m not too good.”
The next day he flew back home to Seattle with the rest of the tour bus.
There he met up with a friend, John