Neil Young’s solo acoustic concert in Detroit on Friday night didn’t go as planned when a few rowdy, obnoxious audience members disrupted the performance by yelling throughout the show.
The concert, which was billed as “Neil Young Solo,” was meant to be an intimate journey through Young’s career as a singer-songwriter, yet the Detroit News reports that some fans acted as if they were attending one of Young’s raucous rock shows with his high-decibel backup band, Crazy Horse.
“I hope you know I’m not keeping track of those,” Young told those in the crowd who yelled song titles at him, reports the newspaper. “You can keep shouting them, but I’m never going to play any of them,” Young added, with the News noting that the 72-year-old rock icon sounded “peeved” as he attempted to tell a story about a particular song while being continually interrupted by yelling.
Young himself addressed the concert in a blog post on his Archives website, titling the post “Rough Night.”
Noting that he had just played similar solo shows in Chicago and St. Louis, Young describes those shows as being “free and easy and I had the unbridled ability to lose myself in any song when the moment came.”
In Detroit, however, “we had something going against that. It was the fourth of July holiday and some folks were celebrating, already high when they arrived at the show. Because it was a holiday, I could see it coming. They were focused on their celebration, kind of like a festival,” he continues.
“Any subtle solo performance of songs is very challenged under those conditions,” Young writes. “Of course, if I had a band, I could just blast out the show and rock on. So I came away from Detroit a bit mentally bruised and battered, yet still happy that so many people enjoyed the performance that I had tried to give them, even though they were somewhat short-changed by circumstance.”
Admitting that he’s used to hearing fans yell out song titles during his shows, he writes that in the case of the Detroit show, “it seems that the yellers are not with me. They are interested in celebrating their love of the music in another way. There is nothing wrong with that for them. They are having the time of their lives out there. Unfortunately for the audience, everyone else misses out on what might have happened while I am distracted by those celebrating their favourite song titles, yelling them as loud as they can.”
As Young explains, these rowdy interruptions inevitably diminish his performance. “I could slip deeply into a song if not distracted, but I am just relegated to the surface while fighting off distraction, and so is the rest of the audience. Likewise, I may have told a story that sets up the experience of listening to the song, if I was not interrupted while trying,” he writes.
“Every time I got through this type of experience, part of me does not ever want to go through it again, yet it is a risk taken every time I walk out to a solo stage,” he adds.
You can hear audio of the entire Detroit concert below: