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Bridge Benefit I (October 13, 1986)

Bridge benefit reviews courtesy of Broken Arrow, the magazine of the Neil Young Appreciation Society. This review comes from issue 25 (November 1986). Much thanx to Steve Kitchen for transcribing it from hard copy to soft copy to enable presentation here.

(Please see a note about bootleg CDs of shows like this one.)

Concert Review by Don Leary

Being from Northern California I've had some rare opportunities to see Neil in many various phases of his career. A really special experience occurred on Monday, October 13, 1986 when Neil & friends played an all-acoustic show for the Bridge School Benefit Pilot Project.

The Project is a programme designed to help meet the needs of handicapped kids unable to communicate verbally. Pegi Young is president of the project and was the driving force behind organizing the concert to help raise money for the Bridge School.

The pre-concert atmosphere was electric and rumours of surprise guests ranged from the Eagles reforming to a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunion. The few of us with seats close to the stage had views of David Crosby wandering around (and looking good), Joel Bernstein tuning what seemed like an army of guitars and just a sense of a moment that comes once in a lifetime.

After a brief introduction by Pegi, Neil opened the show with Comes A Time and Heart Of Gold. Then he brought out buddies, Bruce Springsteen and Nils Lofgren, to assist on Helpless (which was not one of the better versions). After an outstanding version of I Am A Child, Neil introduced an old member from Buffalo Springfield who brought a couple of friends along whom he'd met along the way. Out walked Crosby, Stills & Nash to a thunderous ovation.

Part-way through Only Love Can Break Your Heart tears swelled in my eyes, the beauty of seeing these four singing together again was just too much. Change Partners was next, before Neil and Steve traded guitar riffs on Daylight Again. Their set ended with an outstanding version of Ohio (with David screaming "How many more, how many more?"). The harmonies during their four song set were the best I've heard in years.

Nils put on a short but good set which included Keith Don't Go, Wonderland, Man At The Top, and a song dedicated to Neil's son, Ben.

Don Henley was next and he brought one Eagle (Timothy Schmidt) & J.D. Souther, Danny Kortchmar and Jai Winding out with him. If you can get past his ego Don performed a very good set including Boys Of Summer, Best Of My Love, New Kid In Town, Desperado, Yes It Is, and You Don't Miss the Water 'til the Well Runs Dry. Don's comment that playing on stage acoustically is like "Standing here in a jockstrap and a pair of socks", proved that he is unaccustomed to doing non-electric sets.

After a brief intermission, Tom Petty proved his inexperience at performing solo by doing an uneven set, in which his voice was often inaudible over his guitar. The only song Tom did that stood out was the opening number, a version of American Girl.

After a sidesplitting set by Robin Williams, the moment arrived for all the Bruce! fans in the audience. Neil came on to introduce Springsteen who immediately launched into an acapella version of You Can Look But You Better Not Touch. After a soulful but weak version of Born In The USA, Bruce brought out Nils Lofgren and Danny Federci to assist him. The rest of the set was much stronger with Bruce and friends playing the following songs; Seeds, Darlington County, Mansion On The Hill, Fire, Dancin' In The Dark, Glory Days and Follow That Dream (dedicated to Pegi and Neil).

Bruce then invited CSN&Y to join him on Hungry Heart, with Neil and Bruce sharing the same mike on the chorus. The show ended with all the guests joining in on a rousing version of Teach Your Children.

All in all, it was an outstanding show for a very worthy cause. See you in my next dream.

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