You may bemoan that the Rolling Stones are still slogging around the country or lament that Creedence Clearwater Revisited insists on destroying both a band's legacy and NASCAR events countrywide, but some traditions in rock music deserve to last. Such is the case with Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit, which will take place this weekend in Mountain View, California.
It is the 16th show that Young has organized for the school designed for kids with special educational needs. Young's wife, Pegi, serves on the board of the school.
It has become a feather in the cap of artists to perform at the show, an all-acoustic affair that usually lasts for seven to eight hours and gives artists a chance to experiment with new material and arrangements and guest with one another throughout the day. The students from the school line the back of the stage, and some of the most memorable moments of previous years have involved artists singing directly to the children. Young traditionally opens and closes the show.
While the show has lured many artists back for repeat performances, this year Young will be joined by many acts making their Bridge debuts. Only two acts have appeared before: James Taylor returns for his second appearence, his first since 1992; and the Foo Fighters return for their second appearence, too, having last graced the stage at Shoreline Ampitheater in 2000.
Of the first-timers, by far the most aniticipated is Thom Yorke. The Radiohead frontman is making a rare solo appearence and bringing new Radiohead material in tow. Fresh off a tour of Spain and recording sessions in L.A., Yorke has dozens of new songs to choose from.
On Sunday, the resurrected Grateful Dead collaborative The Other Ones will take the Foo Fighters' spot. Preparing for the road for the first time since Jerry's death, the remaining Dead have Deadheads wondering what songs they'll pull out from their extensive catalog and how they'll handle Garcia's absence. Garcia played the second Bridge show with Bob Weir.
LeAnn Rimes will add a country flavor to the show. In past years, Neil has invited Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams to add a folky flavor to the proceedings.
Appealing to younger fans will be newcomers Vanessa Carlton, Ryan Adams and Tenacious D. Adams is in the midst of a solo tour and is fresh off an incident in Nashville, when he stopped his show and personally ejected a heckler for requesting a Bryan Adams song before he would continue playing. Let's hope none of the kids call out for "Summer of '69," or things could get ugly.