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Bridge Benefit III (October 28, 1989)

Bridge benefit reviews courtesy of Broken Arrow, the magazine of the Neil Young Appreciation Society. This review comes from issue 38 (February 1990). 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

For three of the last four years an old friend has made an appearance in the Bay Area. The friend I'm talking about is the Bridge School Benefit. On October 28th the benefit made its 1989 appearance. The show is for a worthy cause and it's fun for both the performers and fans. This years' line-up included, in order of appearance, Neil Young, Sammy Hagar, Tom Petty, Tracy Chapman, CSN and CSNY .

After a brief film about the Bridge School and introductions of school staff/members by Pegi, the show opened with Neil on piano & vocals, Tom Petty on harmony, and Sammy Hagar on acoustic guitar pounding out a driving inspirational version of Dylan's Everything Is Broken.

Neil then performed a seven song solo set reminiscent of his recent U.S. solo tour. The set was by far his best showing at the three Bridge shows to date. Although Neil experienced some feedback problems during the first two songs, he played a good version of Pocohontas and followed with a very strong Crime In The City. After the crowd pleasers After The Gold Rush and The Needle & The Damage Done came a better than average version of No More and a typical Heart Of Gold. He ended the set with Rockin' In The Free World, a song which Neil always plays to the max.

Sammy Hagar then played an average four song set that included the song with the line "Can't get no connections". Tom Petty followed with a seven song set that included Even The Losers, Free Falling, Don't Back Down and Thunderclap Newman's Something In The Air.

Tracy Chapman performed a very ordinary five song set that included Fast Car. Her set was so uninspiring that I forgot, and did not care, which were the other numbers she played.

Then came what turned out to be the highlight of the evening, a seven song CSN set, followed by a seven song CSNY set. This was by far the best CSNY has sounded live during the eighties. They opened with good versions of Wasted On The Way, Change Partners, The Leeshore and Just A Song Before I Go. Then Stephen strapped on an electric guitar and the three played a rockin', yet mellow, Wooden Ships with great harmonies. Stephen then added some nice acoustic guitar on a softer, foot-stomping version of Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.

What more could a fan ask for? How about a sweet rendition of Helplessly Hoping with Neil strolling out during the verse, "We are four each other"?

The first CSNY song brought back memories of the 1974 reunion tour with a nice, if somewhat off-key version of Human Highway. Next came some tidy piano work by Steve on Got It Made. The next song is one Neil has been trying to find the right formula for since his his country days with the International Harvesters. He found it with CSNY, as they played an excellent Silver And Gold. How about CSNY putting that out as a single? Southern Cross ended what turned out to be a really great CSNY set.

The four came back to play a two song encore, with Ohio and their usual closer Teach Your Children. Because of the outstanding sets by Neil and CSN, I left the Shoreline Amphitheatre feeling more contented than for any of the previous Bridge concerts.

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