Reverend Billy is opening for Neil Young and Crazy Horse on the Love Earth tour. Go see them!

We've been fans of Reverend Billy for a long time! I personally encountered his work around 2005 when I first began studying culture jamming as a form of social activism and public pedagogy that raises awareness around issues of overconsumption and its negative social, cultural, and ecological impacts. I published a few academic articles about Reverend Billy (here's my favorite), corresponded with him over the years, and was even lucky enough to have him Skype into one of my consumerism and justice courses years ago. Up until three days ago, though, I'd never seen him perform live, although it's been a dream of mine since I first stumbled upon his work.

I finally saw him in Phoenix this past weekend, as Neil Young tapped him recently to be the opening act of Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Love Earth tour, which kicked off on April 24 with two nights in San Diego before stopping in Phoenix.

I was so excited to get to see Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir! I finally got to shout "Earth-a-lu-jah!!" at the top of my lungs, sing along to "The Great Outdoors," and excitedly tell all the Neil Young fans sitting near me—who looked utterly confused—all about how awesome Reverend Billy is. "Have you seen What Would Jesus Buy?" I asked the man sitting next to me. His answer: "What?!" "Did you know Reverend Billy used to preach in Disney stores about Mickey Mouse stealing childhood innocence and used to exorcise cash registers at Victoria's Secret?" I excitedly shared. "What the fuck?!" the man answered, "and now he's opening for Neil Young?!" "YES!" I shouted, "Isn't it so exciting?!"

Even if my fellow concert-goers didn't quite share my enthusiasm for Reverend Billy, I think he worked his magic on the audience, whether they realized it in the moment or not. He has perfected what I called back in 2010 his "pedagogy of the unknown," which I described this way:

Reverend Billy: (1) deliberately tries to avoid categorizing himself, so he remains a kind of 'uncategorizable' pedagogue and 'unknowable' preacher who (2) preaches against the 'known' consumerist script, he (3) enacts a pedagogy of the unknown and performs the unknown, as he focuses on asking questions and enacting 'exalted acts of embarrassment' that are unsanctioned in everyday life to (4) disturb customers long enough so that they can (5) back away from the product, away from the consumerist script, into what Reverend Billy calls 'the fabulous unknown.' This pedagogy of the unknown seeks to open the 'transitional spaces' so necessary for critical learning about consumerism to take place.

For the record, Neil Young and Crazy Horse also absolutely rocked the house! I have also been a huge Neil Young fan since college and had never seen him before, either. So this double billing was a literal dream come true. Thanks, Neil Young, Crazy Horse, Reverend Billy, and the Stop Shopping Choir, for making my birthday one I'll never forget!

You should absolutely go see the Love Earth tour if you can! Check out Neil Young's website for all of the upcoming dates.