Neil Young and the 2010 Bridge School Benefit
As mentioned previously, this was to be the first time that Buffalo Springfield has performed in public since 1968. What became immediately apparent was the chemistry within the harmonies between Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and Neil Young. The other wonderful surprise was Stephen Stills, who looked incredibly healthy and was as respectful to the music, his band mates and to his legacy on a level I have not observed before. Completely and intensely in the moment, Stills made me a believer again. But things got even better.
Upon the finish of, "I am a Child," Richie Furay could be seen wiping a tear and from that moment on, the band and the sound was magical in a way that brought everyone and everything together. I couldn't help wondering and hoping that it was just as beautiful for the children.
As fantastic as these three brother's were, the magic could not have happened without Rick Rosas on bass and Joe Vitale on drums. It just doesn't happen any other way. Rosas, a collaborator with Young over the years, brings a tremendous respect and humility to the music that any and all young musicians could learn from. Vitale began his career collaborating on compositions with Joe Walsh and has played and recorded with the Eagles, CSN&Y, Jackson Browne and even John Lennon. Not to be taken lightly, he is one of the few drummers that brings it every single night.
The Springfield set would end with a dynamic and acoustically played but electrifying "Mr. Soul." If this was the acoustic set, one could only imagine the intense magical transcendence of a 2nd electric set.
Neil Young simply has a presence that is larger than life. I spoke previously about the different levels of being in the moment and I don't know that there is anyone performing today that reaches the same place as Young. There are artists within the avant-garde that reach this level, but there are times when Young creates at a level and intensity not unlike that of Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane, which has nothing to do with genre and culture, yet transcends it. Trying to play at this level too often can be tragic yet Young seems to understand the limitations and can harness the creative intensity in a way that can only be identified as genius.
Lastly, this is a special 2 day music event but let us not forget that this is still about The Bridge School and an opportunity to help make life better for a few very special children. What could possibly be more important? And at the end of the day, perhaps the real story is that we are the ones that walk away just a little richer, with a little less ego, a little more humility and just perhaps, with a little more wisdom and sensitivity, as fellow human beings.
Dedicated to the students of the Bridge School.