Bridge School Benefit 25 at Shoreline

Bridge School Benefit review: Older, wiser, better: Aidin Vaziri | Neil Young casually sauntered onto the stage at Mountain View’s Shoreline Amphitheatre late Saturday night with a battered old acoustic slung over his shoulder and a harmonica strapped around his neck. He looked like he was ready to go gardening. Without saying much, Young played a couple of his more popular songs – “Comes a Time,” “Sugar Mountain” and “Long May You Run” – then turned around and faced the row of students and families sitting onstage behind him, including his 32-year-old son, Ben, and started in on a version of “Heart of Gold” that made time stop. It was a typical Bridge School Benefit concert moment – humble, heartfelt and unexpectedly moving. For 25 years, Young and his wife, Pegi, have called on their famous friends to play these annual acoustic shows to raise money for the school they founded in 1986 for children with severe physical disabilities. They are decidedly low-key affairs. This year’s concert brought together an impressive mix of Bridge School veterans and newbies that included Arcade Fire, Dave Matthews, Mumford & Sons, Eddie Vedder, Los Invisibles featuring Carlos Santana, Beck, Norah Jones with the Little Willies, and Devendra Banhart – all of whom joined the host for a sing-along of Chet Powers’ “Get Together” at the end of the evening. The bill became even more enticing Sunday with the addition of the Foo Fighters and Tony Bennett.
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