Neil Young, a stalwart advocate against the encroachment of big corporations into the realm of music, has once again found himself in a rather perplexing position. Alongside his legendary band Crazy Horse, Young recently graced the stage for a private concert, showcasing their iconic 1990 album ‘Ragged Glory.’ The unique event, held at The Rivoli in Toronto on November 4, was orchestrated as part of the 50th birthday celebration for none other than Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss.
The venue, packed to its 200-person capacity, witnessed a musical journey through ‘Ragged Glory,’ making it only the second instance in Young’s storied career where he played an entire classic album live. The first occurrence was a dual presentation of ‘Tonight’s The Night’ and ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’ at the Roxy.
Via Rock Celebrities – Fan reports from the Neil Young fan site Thrasher’s Wheat revealed a setlist brimming with almost the entire ‘Ragged Glory’ album, with notable exclusions like ‘Mother Earth.’ The night concluded with powerful renditions of ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Rockin’ In The Free World.’ Adding to the rarity were performances of ‘White Line,’ ‘Over and Over,’ and ‘Farmer John,’ songs that hadn’t graced the stage with Crazy Horse since 1976 and 2012. The evening also featured a performance by Canadian rock band the Arkells, with Young taking the stage before them.
However, Young’s decision to headline a private event might raise eyebrows, especially considering his long-standing stance against the commercialization of music. This is not the first time Young has treaded this territory; in 2016, he performed at a private event in Paris for Carmignac CEO Édouard Carmignac. This choice may seem paradoxical, given Young’s own song ‘This Note’s For You,’ which critiques the very commercialization he appears to partake in. This principle hasn’t wavered, even after Young sold 50% of his song catalog rights in January 2021 to Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited.
The event’s controversy is heightened by Canada Goose’s history with PETA, which opposed the use of coyote fur in the company’s jackets—an issue they addressed by discontinuing the practice in 2021. CEO Dani Reiss openly disagreed with PETA’s stance, emphasizing the company’s commitment to ethical and sustainable sourcing.
In the midst of this curious performance, Neil Young announced plans for a ‘Love Earth’ tour, a welcome return after a three-year hiatus from touring due to COVID concerns. The tour, focusing on outdoor venues, reflects Young’s ongoing dedication to environmental causes and a desire to connect with audiences in a more intimate setting. Whether Young will embark on this journey solo or be joined by Crazy Horse or Promise of the Real remains a mystery, adding an air of anticipation to his next musical chapter.