Neil Young has announced the release of Noise and Flowers, a live album recorded during a nine-date 2019 tour with Promise of the Real.
The dates captured on Noise And Flowers represent a particularly poignant set of gigs for Young, as the tour commenced less than two weeks after the passing of Elliot Roberts, his friend, manager and confidante of 50 years.
“Never one to think about himself, he put everyone else first,” Young wrote in June 2019, when Roberts died (opens in new tab). “That’s what he did for me for over 50 years of friendship love and laughter, managing my life, protecting our art in the business of music. That’s what he did… Elliot Roberts was the greatest manager of all time.”
The tour became a tribute to Roberts, with Young reportedly taping a picture of his friend to his road case so that he could see him as he performed.
Given their long-standing relationship, the setlist was appropriately wide-ranging and drew on everything from Helpless and Rockin’ in the Free World, through to underrated '70s-era songs like On the Beach and '90s material, including Throw Your Hatred Down and From Hank to Hendrix. The latter has been selected as the live album’s first single, which you can hear above.
“Playing in his memory [made it] one of the most special tours ever,” says Young in the Noise and Flowers notes. “We hit the road and took his great spirit with us into every song. This music belongs to no one. It’s in the air. Every note was played for music’s great friend, Elliot.”
Young’s performances on Noise and Flowers were backed by Promise of the Real – featuring Willie Nelson’s sons Micah and Lukas Nelson – who have been Young’s backing band since 2015. The record is being released as part of Young’s ongoing Archives Performance Series, marking the 21st addition to the catalog.
Noise And Flowers is released August 5, on CD, vinyl and as a Blu-Ray concert film. It is available to pre-order at Neil Young (opens in new tab).