First Listen

First Listen: 'The Bridge School Concerts'

Neil Young performs with James Taylor at the 16th annual Bridge School benefit concert on Oct. 26, 2002. i i

Neil Young performs with James Taylor at the 16th annual Bridge School benefit concert on Oct. 26, 2002.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Neil Young performs with James Taylor at the 16th annual Bridge School benefit concert on Oct. 26, 2002.

Neil Young performs with James Taylor at the 16th annual Bridge School benefit concert on Oct. 26, 2002.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Disc 1

The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition
  • Bruce Springsteen - "Born In The U.S.A."
  • Dave Matthews - "Too Much"
  • No Doubt - "Magic's In The Makeup"
  • Jack Johnson - "Gone"
  • Fleet Foxes - "Blue Ridge Mountain"
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse - "Love And Only Love"
  • Sonic Youth - "Rain On Tin"
  • Pearl Jam - "Better Man"
  • Gillian Welch - "The Way It Will Be"
  • R.E.M. with Neil Young - "Country Feedback"
  • Willie Nelson - "The Great Divide"
  • Nils Lofgren - "Cry Just A Little"

Disc 2

  • Sarah McLachlan - "Elsewhere"
  • Paul McCartney - "Get Back"
  • Elton John/Leon Russell - "A Dream Come True"
  • Band Of Horses - "Marry Song"
  • Metallica - "Disposable Heroes"
  • Thom Yorke - "After The Gold Rush"
  • Sheryl Crow - "The Difficult Kind"
  • Tony Bennett - "Maybe This Time"
  • CSNY - "Deja Vu"
  • Norah Jones - "Jesus, Etc."
  • Jonathan Richman - "I Was Dancing In The Lesbian Bar"
  • Brian Wilson - "Surfin' USA"
  • The Who - "Won't Get Fooled Again"

Audio for this feature is no longer available.

If you're going to put together a benefit concert, it never hurts to associate yourself with Neil Young and his wife Pegi. The two have long lent their names and organizational efforts to concerts supporting The Bridge School, which helps kids with special needs using a wide variety of traditional and nontraditional approaches. Those concerts have brought in a remarkable array of A-list talent, whose performances, naturally, have added up to a treasure trove of an archive. Some of the highlights have made their way onto The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition, a two-CD, three-DVD collection which spans eras, genres and generations.

Which, of course, is where it pays to be associated with Neil Young: He spans eras, genres and generations. He's a venerated rock icon who attracts venerated rock icons: Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Brian Wilson, Elton John and Leon Russell, Paul McCartney and others. He's a cool boundary-pusher who attracts cool boundary-pushers like Sonic Youth. His status as a laid-back front-porch folk-rocker helps invite in Jack Johnson, Fleet Foxes, Gillian Welch (whose "The Way It Will Be" is a particularly lovely highlight here), Willie Nelson, Band of Horses and more.

As much as this collection speaks to widespread support of The Bridge School, it also speaks to the gargantuan respect musicians maintain for the Youngs themselves: You don't find many collections of live music broad enough to bring together Tony Bennett, Sonic Youth, Sarah McLachlan, Metallica, Jonathan Richman and No Doubt. But they're all here, expertly recorded and placed lovingly alongside three different iterations of Neil Young as a performer: CSNY, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and a collaboration between Young and R.E.M. As a whole, The Bridge School Concerts 25th Anniversary Edition — out Oct. 24 — is generous in every sense of the word, asking listeners to support its cause while stuffing itself with incentives to do so.

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