If anyone can put on a memorable show, it’s Neil Young. This past weekend, Young and his wife held their 27th annual benefit concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater, in Mountain View, Calif.
This year’s Bridge School Benefit, “an all-acoustic, non-profit charity event,” featured acts such as: Arcade Fire, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, fun., Heart, Jack Johnson, Jenny Lewis, My Morning Jacket, Queens of the Stone Age and Tom Waits. With such a star-studded lineup, there were sure to be some unforgettable moments.
Arcade Fire played the first night of the benefit, performing three new tracks off their upcoming album Reflektor—“Reflektor,” “Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice),” “Normal Person”—and one brand new song that Win Butler says is inspired by Neil Young, which Young performed with the group. “I had a dream,” Butler said, “We were playing a song at soundcheck and I remembered, I woke up and remembered everything. I was half asleep and I started playing it and wrote down the lyrics, and listened back to my tape recorder and it was basically a Neil Young song. This song is called ‘I Dreamed A Neil Young Song,’ and Neil’s gonna come sing it with us. So this song is by Neil Young in my head.”
Tom Waits performed a full concert for the first time in five years at Sunday night’s event. Waits’ set was heavy on the legendary musician’s most recent release, 2011’s Bad As Me. Waits didn’t hesitate to throw in a few classics like “Cemetery Polka” and “Singapore” and “Lucky Day.” Waits issued a comical statement at the end of September, announcing his live return at the Bridge School Benefit. “I had every good intention to stay home and work on my JD Salinger Halloween mask, but when Neil told me yesterday he was serving burnt cow’s eyes on a flat tire and it’s all gluten free, I invited myself!”
Finally, on Sunday morning, the world received the tragic news of rock n’ roll pioneer Lou Reed’s death. My Morning Jacket, who have been known to cover Velvet Underground songs in the past, were joined onstage by Neil Young, Elvis Costello and Jenny Lewis during Sunday night’s performance to pay tribute to Reed. As they were preparing to play, My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James opened by saying Lou Reed was “one of the greatest composers, artists, musicians that walked the face of the Earth. So this one’s for you Lou.” The group then performed a moving, 10-minute rendition of Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin.”