Excuses for cancelling shows in the world of music are a strange beast. While ‘vocal problems’ is the most common explanation, there’s been a few left-field reasonings over the years. Famously, Kings Of Leon once departed the stage and halted a show after growing tired of pigeon’s letting their thoughts known about their shift in musical direction when they persisted in excreting on the band from a great height.
Surely, that cancellation by Kings Of Leon can’t be beaten in the bizarre stakes? Well Neil Young, somehow managed to cancel live shows in even stranger circumstances. Old Shakey was to hit the road in 1997 for one of the most exciting tours in his career across Europe, but, alas it wasn’t to be following a bizarre injury that Young sustained whilst resting at home ahead of the road.
Young planned to kick off his tour in Luxembourg on June 9 and visit 16 countries along the way. He scheduled dates in countries including Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, and Finland run. However, one moment stood out as the most poignant moment on the tour and one that Young had been gearing up his whole career for, an esteemed slot at Glastonbury Festival.
This show was his debut appearance at Worthy Farm and a festival all-together. Neil Young had already earned iconic status decades before this scheduled performance. However, an appearance at Glastonbury is something that every artist dreams about, and if you’re planning on making your debut festival slot, then there is no place in the world better to do so than the Pyramid Stage.
However, just a matter of days before hitting the road and making way to Europe, a kitchen catastrophe would prevent Young from performing at Worthy Farm. During his five-week-long rest before the tour, Young decided to have a seemingly innocent ham sandwich for lunch. Making sandwiches is something that Old Shakey has likely perfected over his lifetime, and the chances of danger ensuing looked slim to none. However, a lapse in concentration led to the gifted guitarist slicing the tip of his left index finger whilst cutting his lunch.
Young did thankfully manage to see the funny side of the accident and said in a statement announcing the cancellation. “I’d have eaten the thing in one piece if I’d known that cutting it in half would jeopardize the tour, It’s macaroni and cheese from now on,” he said.
That dreamy appearance at Glastonbury Festival passed Young by. He was replaced on the bill by Kula Shaker, who performed on the Pyramid Stage on the Saturday after headlining The Other Stage the night before. As replacements at Glastonbury go, this is comparable with the disastrous time that The Darkness replaced David Bowie as a headliner of T In The Park in 2004 and Kula Shaker’s set didn’t last long in the memory.
Old Shakey would finally get his chance to appear at Worthy Farm in 2009. He performed a mammoth career-spanning show that wowed the 100,000 fans in attendance and was worth every second of the 12-year-wait. This performance is seen as one of the all-time Glastonbury moments as Young played his first-ever festival and closed-off a famous Friday night on the Pyramid Stage in epic style.