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Various Artists
The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition - REPRISE
FILTER Grade: 86%

By Kyle Lemmon on November 7, 2011


Various Artists

Over the course of his renowned career, Neil Young has championed a wide swathe of political and social foundations, offering both his idiosyncratic songs and pop culture cache to everything from the annual Farm Aid benefit to his recent stint with his eco-friendly LincVolt car. Out of all of these causes, Young’s heart is closely entwined with his efforts with Hillsborough, California’s Bridge School and its annual benefit concert in Mountain View. The Bay Area event is also a family matter. Young’s wife Pegi sits on the school’s board of directors, and his son Ben is one of the enormous triumphs of the institution’s forward-thinking approach to education for the verbally and physically challenged. This excellent charity two-CD or three-DVD set commemorates the 25th anniversary of the incomparable benefit concert.

has given several legendary performances for the cause and many of pop and rock’s marquee names show up every year to give back. Here’s a shortened list of some of Young’s friends: Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, David Bowie, Elton John, Gillian Welch, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, The Who, Radiohead, Pearl Jam and Metallica. Plenty of indie groups, such as Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses, join the fun as well. And last year, the event hosted an unforeseen Buffalo Springfield reunion.

The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition box set, from Young’s longtime imprint Reprise, offers unique song experiences on CD and DVD. The latter adds a detailed documentary of the Bridge School and some behind-the-scenes moments. The lovely, acoustic-only performances are the draw, but the charitable Bridge School Concerts offer so much more.


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