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Ukrainian band told they would play with Neil Young ‘disappointed’ after Antony Blinken walks out

A Ukrainian guitarist has said he was left “disappointed” after being told that he’d be playing Rockin’ in the Free World with Neil Young – before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken came on stage.

Mr Blinken, 62, made a surprise visit to Kyiv to reassure Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky of the continued US support as Russia’s offensive intensifies in the Kharkiv region.

Just hours after declaring that Ukraine is “not alone” on the political stage on Tuesday, the secretary of state picked up a guitar performed to a live audience.

Armed with a cherry-red Gibson 335, Mr Blinken arrived at Barman Dictat, a bustling live music bar in the heart of Kyiv.

Along with a band called 19.99, he performed Rockin’ in the Free World, a classic 1989 hit released just months prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall from Canadian- American musician Neil Young.

However, the band’s guitarist, Arsen Gorbach, revealed that 19.99 were told that they’d be performing alongside the folk-rock legend himself, and were “disappointed” when they learned it would be Mr Blinken instead.

“We thought, and we were messaged, that it would be Neil Young,” Mr Gorbach said on BBC Radio 4’sToday programme on Wednesday morning.

However, before the gig, the band were in fact informed that they would be performing alongside Mr Blinken, with the news seemingly leaving 19.99 dispirited.

“We were disappointed,” the band’s guitarist admitted.

After getting over the woes that they wouldn’t be performing alongside Young, Mr Gorbach said that he was impressed by the secretary of state’s vocal and guitar skills.

“He was connecting with his eyes with our band leader; with me. We were playing like an ensemble,” he said.

“It was our first time performing on stage, but it

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