Review: Bridge School Benefit marks 30 years with Metallica, Roger Waters, MMJ collaborations

Bridge School Benefit, Bridge School, 30th Bridge School Benefit, 30th annual Bridge School Benefit, Roger Waters, My Morning Jacket, Neil Young, Lucius

Photos: Paige K. Parsons

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Neil Young sat in with Metallica and My Morning Jacket served as Roger Waters’ backing band on the first day of the 30th annual Bridge School Benefit Saturday.

Nine different artists performed at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. The benefit aids children with severe speech and development challenges and was founded by Neil Young and his ex-wife, Pegi. Neil Young curates the lineup and performs at each event.

He’s also known to make guest appearances with many of the artists, although popping up for a thunderous—even in the all-acoustic setting—reading of Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul” with Metallica was a shocker. Metallica has twice played the event before and infrequently plays with guest musicians.

“Mr. Soul” capped a set for the Bay Area thrash metal and hard rock legends that had many speculating: Will they play covers? Yes, including a new one by The Clash. Will they play originals? Yes, with a rearranged take on their biggest hit, “Enter Sandman.” Will they play stuff from their forthcoming record, Hardwired … To Self Destruct, due next month? They did, even though they had to restart the title track.

Waters, meanwhile, mostly dug back to his Pink Floyd days, but utilized Kentucky rock and alt-country group My Morning Jacket as his backing band. Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe from Lucius as well as G.E. Smith, who performed at the first Bridge School Benefit in 1986, rounded out his group. Waters’ set concluded with a Young guest spot as well, with all of the parties trading verses on a reading of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

Other highlights from day one included a celebratory set from Willie Nelson that brought the crowd to its feet with a closing run that included “On the Road Again,” “Always on My Mind,” “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die” and “I Saw the Light.”

Cage the Elephant, a Kentucky rock band known for its rowdy, unhinged live act, succeeded well in a more subdued setting. Singer Matt Shultz roamed the stage in less animated fashion than usual—jumping, running, fist pumping and stage diving didn’t happen, but he still delivered with intensity—and a string quartet helped sweeten the rougher edges.

Also appearing Saturday were Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Norah Jones, My Morning Jacket, Nils Lofgren and Neil Young’s current touring group, Promise of the Real.

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Neil Young + Promise of the Real
Peace Trail
Out on the Weekend
Show Me
Comes a Time
Terrorist Suicide Hang Gliders
Only Love Can Break Your Heart (w/Nils Lofgren on piano)
Piece of Crap (w/Nils Lofgren on accordion)
Are There Any More Real Cowboys? (w/Willie Nelson and Nils Lofgren)
On the Road Again (w/Willie Nelson and Nils Lofgren)
Rockin’ in the Free World (with artists from throughout day)

Whiskey in the Jar
When a Blind Man Cries
Hero of the Day
Bleeding Me
Enter Sandman
Seek and Destroy
Mr. Soul (w/Neil Young on vocals and guitar)

Roger Waters
with My Morning Jacket, Lucius and G.E. Smith as backing band
Wish You Were Here
The Bravery of Being Out of Range
Bring the Boys Back Home
Hello in There
Forever Young (w/Neil Young on vocals and guitar)

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
Don’t Drink the Water
Grey Street
Samurai Cop
Lie in Our Graves
Two Step

Norah Jones
Out on the Road
Carry On
Don’t Know What it Means
Don’t Know Why
Don’t Be Denied (w/Neil Young on vocals and guitar)

Willie Nelson
Whiskey River
Still Is Still Moving to Me
Beer for My Horses
Good-Hearted Woman
Texas Flood
Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
On the Road Again
Always on My Mind
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die
I Saw the Light

My Morning Jacket
State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)
Compound Fracture
Golden (w/Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe on vocals)
Wonderful (The Way I Feel) (w/Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe on vocals)
Tropics (Erase Traces) (w/Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe on vocals)
Helpless (w/Neil Young on vocals and guitar)

Cage the Elephant (w/string quartet)
Cigarette Daydreams
Too Late to Say Goodbye
Cold Cold Cold
Come a Little Closer

Nils Lofgren
No Mercy
Miss You Ray
Believe (w/Neil Young on vocals and harmonica)
Girl in Motion

Neil Young
Blowin’ in the Wind

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