The annual (except for 1987) Bridge School Benefit concert has been a highlight of the Bay Area's fall music schedule. And it provides a major source of funding for the Bridge School, to boot! A great combination of good entertainment and a good cause.
Detailed reviews of the oldest 9 shows below were published in Broken Arrow, the magazine of the Neil Young Appreciation Society. Alan Jenkins, then Master of the NYAS, had graciously given permission to reprint those review articles here.
Reviews for Bridge X and beyond have been from The Rust List and other attendees of the show.
All shows have been held outdoors, in the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA, except for Bridge II, which was held indoors in the Oakland Coliseum, in Oakland.
If you're going to a show, be sure to check the
Bridge Benefit Concert-Goers Guide.
Bridge School Benefit Shows History (Bridge School Benefit history at The Bridge School)
Bridge XIX (October 29 & 30, 2005)
Featured: Los Lobos, EmmyLou Harris, Norah Jones, CSNY, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Mellencamp (Saturday only), Dave Matthews (Sunday only), Bright Eyes & Good Charlotte
Neil Performed: Three opening songs each day plus a full set with CSNY each day & played acoustic guitar with Los Lobos both days
Bridge XVIII (October 23 & 24, 2004)
Featured: Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Sonic Youth, Los Lonely Boys, Tegan and Sara
Neil Performed: 3 songs to open the show each day, including Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It? both days. Neil also did a solo set both days, with Eddie Vedder sitting in on Harvest Moon both days. Neil also joined in with Paul McCartney both days.
Bridge XVII (October 25 & 26, 2003)
Featured: CSNY, Willie Nelson, Pearl Jam, Wilco, Indigo Girls, Counting Crows, Incubus and Dashboard Confessional.
Neil Performed: Three opening songs each day (with Mickey Raphael on harp), a full set with CSNY each day, played pump organ with Pearl Jam (on Long Road) on Sunday and joined Willie on three songs on Sunday.
Bridge XVI (October 26 & 27, 2002)
Featured: James Taylor, Foo Fighters (Sat. only), The Other Ones (Sun. only), Ryan Adams, Tenacious D, Thom Yorke, LeeAnn Rimes, Jack Johnson and Vanessa Carlton.
Neil performed: Three opening songs each day, and a solo set (with help from James Taylor on Heart Of Gold) to finish the show.
Bridge XV (October 20 & 21, 2001)
Featured: Crazy Horse, Pearl Jam, REM, Dave Mathews, Ben Harper, Tracy Chapman, Billy Idol and Jill Sobule.
Neil performed: Sugar Mountain and Blowin' In The Wind to open each show and a set with Crazy Horse each day. He also performed All Along The Watch Tower with Dave Matthews on Sunday and contributed guitar to Billy Idol's version of For What It's Worth on Sunday.
Bridge XIV (October 28 & 29, 2000)
Featured: CSNY, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beck, Dave Mathews Band, Foo Fighters and Tegan & Sara, plus a surprise appearance by Robin Williams.
Neil performed: One opening song Saturday and three on Sunday; he performed a set with "Friends & Family" each day, as well as with CSNY. He also performed Cortez The Killer with the Dave Mathews Band each day.
Bridge XIII (October 30 & 31, 1999)
Featured: The Who, Pearl Jam, Sheryl Crow, Green Day, Billy Corgan & James Iha, Tom Waits (Sat. only), Emmylou Harris (Sun. only), Lucinda Williams and Brian Wilson.
Neil performed: Three opening songs and a solo set each day; played guitar and sang backup with Lucinda and Emmylou on Greenville and Sweet Old World each day; played guitar and sang choruses on Brian Wilson's Surfin' USA each day; and on Sunday played pump organ on Good Vibrations.
Bridge XII (October 17 & 18, 1998)
Featured: R.E.M., Phish, Wallflowers, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Johnathan Richman, The Eels, and on Sunday only: Pete Droge & Mike McCready.
Neil performed: Two opening songs and a solo set each day; did Ambulence Blues and Country Feedback with REM each day; did Harry Hood and Helpless with Phish on Saturday; and did Four Strong Winds and I Shall Be Released for a finale on Sunday with Phish & Sarah McLachlan.
Bridge XI (October 18 & 19, 1997)
Featured: Metallica, Lou Reed, Smashing Pumpkins (with guests Marilyn Manson & Twiggy Ramirez on Saturday), Alanis Morrisette, Dave Mathews Band, Blues Traveler, and Kacey Crowley.
Neil performed: Two opening songs and a solo set each day; and did Watchtower with DMB.
Bridge X (October 19 & 20, 1996)
Featured: Hayden, Pete Townshend (Saturday), Billy Idol (Sunday), Cowboy Junkies, Patti Smith, Bonnie Rait (Sunday), David Bowie, Pearl Jam.
Neil performed: The opening song (solo); a set with Crazy Horse; and the closing song (group-sing).
Bridge IX (October 28, 1995)
Featured: Beck, Emmylou Harris & Daniel Lanois, Bruce Springsteen, The Pretenders, Hootie and the Blowfish.
Neil performed: Three solo opening songs; DBTR with the Boss; and several songs with Crazy Horse.
Bridge VIII (October 1 & 2, 1994)
Featured: Peter Droge, Mazzy Star, Ministry, Indigo Girls, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Pearl Jam.
Neil performed: Two solo opening songs; much of Sleeps With Angels with Crazy Horse; and a show-finale Piece Of Crap with members of Pearl Jam and The Heartbreakers.
Bridge VII (November 06, 1993)
Featured: Melissa Etheridge, Warren Zevon, Anne & Nancy Wilson, Sammy Hagar & Eddie van Halen, Bonnie Raitt (with Graham Nash on one tune), and Simon & Garfunkel.
Neil performed: A solo set; did Splendid Isolation with Warren Zevon; and the show-finale Rockin' In The Free World with Hagar and Van Halen and others.
Bridge VI (November 01, 1992)
Featured: Shawn Colvin, Sammy Hagar, Elton John, Pearl Jam, James Taylor.
Neil performed: A solo set; and sang Love Song with Elton.
Bridge V (November 02, 1991)
Featured: Larry Keegan, John Lee Hooker, Don Henly, Nils Lofgren, Tracy Chapman, Sonic Youth, and Willie Nelson.
Neil performed: Opening Forever Young on the pump organ along with Nicolette Larson; did Believe with Nils; a set with the Stray Gators; and the show-finale with Nils, Willie, Nicolette and others: Forever Young, followed by (a tribute to Bill Graham) Greensleeves.
Bridge IV (October 26, 1990)
Hosted by Cheech Marin, featuring Larry Keegan, Jackson Browne, Edie Brickell and a few Bohemians, Elvis Costello, and Steve Miller.
Neil performed: With Crazy Horse; and with Elvis Costello.
Bridge III (October 28, 1989)
Featured: Sammy Hagar, Tom Petty, Tracy Chapman, and CSN/Y.
Neil performed: A solo set; with Petty & Hagar; and with CSN.
Bridge II (December 4, 1988) in the Oakland Coliseum
Featured: Nils Lofgren, Billy Idol, Bob Dylan and G.E.Smith, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tracy Chapman, and CSNY.
Neil performed: A solo set; and with CSN; and played harmonica with Garcia/Weir.
Bridge I (October 13, 1986)
Featured: CSNY, Nils Lofgren, Don Henley, Tom Petty, Robin Williams, and Bruce Springsteen.
Neil performed: a solo set; with CSN; and with Springsteen & Lofgren.