Steve Gumble, of Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, and Craig Ferguson, of Telluride Bluegrass Festival, have joined together to announce two very special shows from legendary guitarist and songwriter Neil Young in the world famous mountain town of Telluride, Colorado. Telluride is one of the most scenic, majestic, and stunningly beautiful music venues in the country.
Singer, songwriter, musician, producer and two-time Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Neil Young will play back-to-back shows (September 30th and October 1st) on the new state-of-the-art stage in Telluride Town Park. Young will be joined on stage by Promise of the Real for his sets, fronted by Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson.
Be a Part of Music History.
Tickets for these shows are set to go on sale on the following dates: Tuesday, July 26th at 11:00 a.m. (MT) – Telluride Local Outlets Pre-Sale
At Neil Young & Promise Of The Real’s first show of 2016 back in April, the band was joined by the legendaryWillie Nelson in Texas. Last night in Rome, Willie came out towards the middle of the show to sit-in with Neil & POTR, which features his sons Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson, on two songs at Terme di Caracalla.
Willie Nelson emerged 11 songs into the set to lend a hand on “Are There Any More Real Cowboys” and then led the group through the Neil & POTR debut of The Red Headed Stranger’s “On The Road Again.” Both of Willie’s guest spots came after his son Lukas fronted the ensemble on another version of the Italian classic “Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu,” aka “Volare.” There were plenty of other highlights in Rome including the year’s second “Mr. Soul,” the rare “Vampire Blues” and a jammed-out “Rockin’ In The Free World.” But the show will also be remembered for Young finally dusting off one of his most beloved songs with Promise Of The Real.
Last night’s encore in Rome was “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black).” While Neil Young has played the Rust Never Sleeps rocker over 500 times in his career, Friday marked the first time he teamed with Promise Of The Real on the song. It also was Neil’s first performance of “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)” in any form since his Summer 2013 Tour with Crazy Horse. The tour continues tonight in Lucca, Italy.
Watch fan-shot footage of “Are There Any More Real Cowboys?” and “On The Road Again” from Rome:
Here’s the Neil & POTR live debut of “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)”:
Neil Young held an onstage family reunion Friday night during his concert in Rome as Willie Nelsonjoined the rocker and Promise of the Real, which features Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah.
It’s family time here tonight, we’re gonna have the whole family come out,” Young told the crowd as he introduced Willie Nelson. “What do you say, pop?” Nelson soon strapped on a guitar and joined Young and his sons on Old Ways‘ “Are There Any More Real Cowboys?,” a track Nelson and Young have played together in the past. Nelson stuck around for one more song, leading his classic “On the Road Again” alongside Young and Promise of the Real.
Nelson’s appearance onstage wasn’t a complete surprise as, earlier in the day, Lukas Nelson revealed on Instagram that Willie sat in with the band during rehearsals at the Temre Di Caracalla venue. Following Friday’s concert, Lukas Nelson wrote, “Dad joined us tonight in Rome. To be able to support my two heroes together on stage with my brothers is a joy that is indescribable.”
Brothers Lukas and Micah Nelson have an enviable vantage point, standing side by side with, and witnessing the power of, two musical giants.
One of them is their father, Willie Nelson. The other is Neil Young.
Lukas and Micah front Promise of the Real, the self-described hippie-cowboy-surf-rock band that collaborated with Young on his provocative album “The Monsanto Years” and which has been serving as his fiery backing band. They arrive at Whitewater Amphitheater on Tuesday.
The tight band includes drummer Anthony LoGerfo, bassist Corey McCormick and percussionist Tato Meglar.
“It’s just incredible,” Lukas Nelson said. “I never would’ve thought growing up that music would embrace me in much the same way it embraced my dad, and not only that, but embrace my brother, too. It’s a blessing to be able to play music for a living and to be able to do it with the mentors that I’ve been blessed to know.”
But there is a difference between playing with his dad’s legendary Family Band and being on the road with Young. Lukas has expressed in interviews that being onstage with the mercurial rocker is almost an out-of-body experience.
“Every show we make leaps and bounds in terms of connection and maturity and musicianship. It’s an experience like no other,” Lukas said. “I’m just riding it like a big wave. I pinch myself every day. I ask myself whether my life is real or it’s a dream. Maybe it’s both.”
Young used similar language to describe his relationship with Promise of the Real in an interview with Rolling Stone: “I feel like I’m doing something I’ve never done before. It’s not just music. It’s a soundscape. It’s kind of like flying around and listening to things with your eyes closed.”
There’s no questioning Young’s or Willie Nelson’s vitality these days. As guitarists, the aging stars remain among the most instantly indentifiable, from Nelson’s quivering chromatic runs on Trigger, his battered Martin nylon-string guitar, to Young’s manic vibrato solos on his 1953 Gibson Les Paul electric guitar known as “Old Black.”
“My dad is probably the most able-bodied almost 83-year-old that I’ve ever come across in this world,” Lukas said. “And I think Neil is the most able-bodied 70-year-old. I mean, he’s jumping up and down, playing 3½ hour sets like we play. He’s incredible.”
The Nelson brothers really try to go with the flow. That’s meant being patient with their bands, both Promise of the Real and Micah’s trippier Insects vs. Robots, as they do gigs with Young that, Lukas said, “feel like family.” In May, Promise of the Real will tour to support its new album, “Something Real,” and then it’s off to Europe with Young.
“You just do what feels right in every moment. And it feels right to play with Neil, and it feels right, every chance that I can, to play with my dad,” Lukas said.
At last year’s all-star tribute to their dad, who was the 2015 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the brothers performed “Living in the Promised Land” with him.
There was a real tenderness and sweetness there at the Library of Congress gig — up to a point.
“We just go out there and do it,” Lukas said. “Dad’s never been one for pow-wows, and neither have we. We just kind of let the spirit take us and trust that it’s gonna come out good.”
That goes for the Young concerts, which start out with Young solo on acoustic guitar for a few songs and then build from there.
But that could change.
“That’s just how it’s been. It could be completely different next time we get on the stage,” Lukas said, explaining that each night’s set is drawn from a list of about 80 songs the band had to learn. The shows run long because “it’s rock ’n’ roll,” he said.
“I love playing his music. It’s like playing my own music … because I’ve been so close to his music for so long. Playing those songs is just — there’s nothing better. It’s like playing with my dad, in a way, because I grew up with it so deeply. It’s part of this crazy dream.”
About seven years ago, Lukas Nelson went to see his hero, Neil Young play in Los Angeles. At the show, he happened to meet a drummer named Anthony LoGerfo. They took the party to a friend’s house, where they surfed and played music late into the night. Soon, they’d formed a band, Promise of the Real, their name taken from a lyric Young’s 1974 epic “Walk On:” (“Some get stoned/ some get strange/ but sooner or later, it all gets real.”)
Now, for the last two years, the “cowboy hippie surf rock” band has been Young’s band on the road and in the studio, backing him on last year’s The Monsanto Years. “You couldn’t write it in a book,” Nelson says. “The vibe is perfect, and it’s real. We’ve learned from each other, and we’ve gotten so tight. I don’t want to stop, and I don’t think Neil does either. There’s transcendental experiences on stage with Neil. Like, you’re looking down at yourself and you’ll be like, ‘Oh my God. I’m down there, and I’m up here. What’s going on?'”
For Nelson, this chapter is the culmination of years of hard work and hard touring for his band, which includes LoGerfo, bassist Corey McCormick, percussionist Tato Meglar, plus Lukas’ brother Micah on guitar and other instruments – when he’s not touring with his own project, Insects vs Robots. Lukas grew up on the island of Maui, Hawaii, a student of the island’s jam band scene and his guitar teacher, gypsy-jazz virtuoso Tom Conway. There was also his dad, Willie Nelson. By 14, Lukas was playing guitar with his father on summer school breaks, occasionally sitting in with his dad’s touring partner, Bob Dylan. Willie’s Number One rule at home while Lukas was growing up: “Don’t be an asshole.”
“My dad and I are alike in a lot of ways,” he says. “I’ve always looked up to him, and I’ve always wanted to be like him, in terms of being a human being, and also in terms of being a musician. I’m lucky to have such a great example.”
To record their new album, Something Real, Nelson and his band moved to San Francisco, living and working in a 19th-century Victorian mansion. “The vibe was so deep and heavy,” Nelson says. “It used to be a Russian embassy. It was one of the first places ever to have a radio signal come out of. It could have been the first radio signal ever to come out of a tower there, in the mansion. And I mean, it’s got old gramophones in it.” They built a studio and utilized the house’s equipment, like a century-old pump organ, which can be heard on their menacing album closer, a cover of Scott McKenzie’s 1967 classic “San Francisco,” with vocals from Young himself.
Nelson pulled from his experiences in San Francisco while writing the LP. The song “Forget About Georgia” is about a woman named Georgia he met during his time in the city. “She kind of broke my heart,” he says. “And I felt like, ‘Wow. This girl twisted me around.’ And I was in love with her.” Nelson’s heartbreak worsened when he hit the road with his father, and he had to play “Georgia on my Mind” on stage every night. “We’d play that song, and I’d be thinking about her. And I’d be like, ‘Fuck, I can’t forget about this girl. I just wanna let it go.'”
Another defining moment came one day when Nelson was walking in the Tenderloin neighborhood, and he overheard a homeless man say, “Today was an ugly color.” It inspired him to write the seven-minute ballad, “Ugly Color,” about the cruelty in the world from the perspective of the man, which peaks with a searingly melodic solo. “There was a period during that guitar solo that something else took over, and just came through the band,” Nelson says. “It was like we were channeling some deep-seated sorrow and longing, from the city of San Francisco itself.”
In June, Promise of the Real play a handful of dates with Young (including New Orleans’ Jazz Fest) before a longer run in Europe. Earlier this month, Young said he was nearly finished with his second album with the group, calling his connection with them “effortless.”
“I feel really good and amped and energized,” Young says. “And I feel like I’m doing something I’ve never done before. It’s not just music. It’s a soundscape. It’s kind of like flying around and listening to things with your eyes closed.”
Nelson says he’s certainly learned quite a bit from Young. “Neil is one of the sharpest tools you’ll ever meet. He’s detail-oriented. It’s cool to watch him be so involved, to tell the crew that they’ve gotta dress up and put a hazmat suit on and all that. I love watching it. I love being a part of it.”
“We’ll warm up vocally 30 minutes before every show,” says Nelson. “Doesn’t matter what show it is, doing it causes you to really lock in with your band, too. You just lock right in, and you go right out to stage. Neil, without fail, will do that every show, and I think it’s brilliant. I think it really brings people together.”
But before that, the Promise of the Real will head out in May on their biggest headlining U.S. tour yet. Nelson is looking forward to building the connection he’s forged with his audience. “I went and saw this psychic one time, and she told me that I was good at bringing people into this holographic bubble of energy,” he says. “I don’t know that a psychic is something that I would base my life decisions on, but I do think it was cool, the way she described it. It’s like you’re creating your own virtual reality area for the three hours that the music is playing, and you’re bringing all these people into this little holographic world where everybody kind of feels similar. You just get lost.”