LOS ANGELES – Neil Young returned to the stage for his first full concert in four years on Saturday, joining Stephen Stills at a benefit concert in Los Angeles as the pair paid tribute to former bandmate David Crosby.
Young, 77, came on stage late during Light Up the Blues 6, a semiannual fundraising event organized by Stills, 78, and his wife, Kristen, to benefit the nonprofit Autism Speaks, the Los Angeles Times reported. Other than a surprise, two-song set at a Canadian environmental rally in February, Young had not played in front of a live audience since 2019, according to Rolling Stone.
Saturday’s concert also featured performances by Willie Nelson, who turns 90 on Saturday; Joe Walsh; Chris Stills; Sharon Van Etten; and Lukas Nelson + Promise of the Real. Young put on an 11-song set with Stephen Stills as they revisited songs from their days with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the magazine reported.
Paul McCartney attended the show but did not perform, wearing a black mask as he sat in the front section of the Greek Theatre, Variety reported.
The four-hour show’s emotional climax was a rendition of “Wooden Ships,” written by Crosby, Stephen Stills and Paul Kantner of the Jefferson Airplane, the Times reported.
Nash, who was appearing in Pittsburgh on Saturday, was shown in a video remembering Crosby as his “best friend for almost 50 years,” according to the newspaper. He also introduced an old film clip of the pair singing “Guinnevere” with Wynton Marsalis.
The five Buffalo Springfield songs that were played included “For What It’s Worth,” “Bluebird,” “Mr. Soul,” “On the Way Home” and “Everybody’s Wrong,” the Times reported.
Young’s contributions included “From Hank to Hendrix,” “Comes a Time,” “Heart of Gold” and “Helpless,” according to the newspaper.
Young and Stills closed the show with an acoustic version of “Long May You Run,” the Times reported.
The Stills family organized the first Light Up The Blues a decade ago, and performers with autism are booked every year, Rolling Stone reported. This year’s lineup included opera singer Amanda Anderson, rapper Rio “Soulshocka” Wyles, and former “Voice” contestant Will Breman, according to the magazine.
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