Neil Young Stuns Rally Crowd With Surprise First In-Person Performance In Years

The rock legend hasn't performed for a live audience since the pandemic.

Rock legend Neil Young surprised a protest crowd in Canada over the weekend with his first in-person performance since 2019.

Young and his wife, actor Daryl Hannah, appeared unannounced at an event protesting the logging of old-growth trees in British Columbia.

“It’s a precious, sacred thing, these old trees because they show us the power of nature when we are being threatened,” said Young, a longtime activist for environmental causes. “They show us the past, and they show us our future.”

Young performed two songs: “Heart of Gold” and “Comes A Time.”

Young announced in mid-2019 that he would put touring on hold to focus on some film projects.

“We plan to be back in 2020!” he wrote on his website.

Then COVID-19 struck.

Young did a handful of online shows during the pandemic. But when many of his contemporaries began returning to the road in 2021, Young held back ― and at one point slammed in-person concerts as “super-spreader events

“The big promoters, if they had the awareness, could stop these shows,” he wrote at the time.

He took a similar view as recently as last summer.

“I don’t think it is safe in the pandemic,” he wrote on his website. “I miss it very much.”

While there is still no word on touring plans, Young has at least two gigs scheduled in Los Angeles in April. He’s set to perform with Stephen Stills at a charity event for Autism Speaks on April 22, and at the Hollywood Bowl at the end of the month in celebration of Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday.

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