Over the weekend, Neil Young headlined his 26th annual Bridge School Benefit Concert.
The annual acoustic concert always features a diverse lineup, and that was certainly true this year, as the lineup featured Young with Crazy Horse, Guns ‘N Roses (who rarely play acoustic shows), Jack White, psychedelic rockers Flaming Lips, bluesman Gary Clark Jr., Steve Martin with his bluegrass group The Steep Canyon Rangers, Foster The People and singer/songwriters k.d. lang, Sarah McLachlan, Ray LaMontagne and Lucinda Williams.
Here are five great moments from the the shows, which featured the same lineup each night (and a guest performer on Saturday).
1. Eddie Vedder’s surprise performance Saturday night. Vedder has played Bridge School Benefit more times than anyone, save Neil Young himself. Pearl Jam have played eight times, and Vedder had done the show twice on his own. He happened to be on site (maybe volunteering?) on Saturday, so when Guns N Roses didn’t make their set time, he stepped up to the mic with his acoustic guitar and played “Last Kiss” and “Elderly Woman…”
2. The Flaming Lips’ cover of The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life.” They’ve been known to cover iconic classic rock in the past (even performing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon start to finish), so John Lennon’s epic was right in their wheelhouse.
3. Jack White was probably the first Bridge performer to a different backing band each day; throughout his tour, he’s had two bands, one all-male, one all-female. The ladies performed with him on Saturday and the guys got their turn Sunday night, giving fans who went both nights two different shows.
4. Guns N Roses did actually show up! That would be enough of a highlight, but on Sunday night, they were joined by Neil Young for his classic “After The Gold Rush.”
5. Neil Young’s performances. Whether Young plays The Bridge with Crazy Horse, CSNY or Buffalo Springfield or a backing group, he always opens the show as a solo acoustic act. Saturday’s crowd got “Sugar Mountain” and “Comes A Time,” while Sunday’s got “Heart Of Gold,” “Long May You Run” and “Comes A Time.” His headlining sets with Crazy Horse combined classics (“Powderfinger,” “Like A Hurricane”) with songs from the upcoming Psychedelic Pill album, and both nights ended up with many of the other performers joining him for “Rockin’ In The Free World.”
You can watch some of the performances from Saturday’s show on demand here.
The show raises funds for The Bridge School, which was co-founded by Young’s wife, Pegi, and assists children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs.
– Brian Ives, CBS Local