Since 1986 Neil Young has hosted an eclectic array of acoustic performances annually for one October weekend. The all-star concert benefits Hillsborough, California’s Bridge School – helping children with severe communication issues and physical impairments. My Morning Jacket, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Queens of the Stone Age, Jack Johnson, Fun., Heart, Jenny Lewis, and Diana Krall were all previously announced for the 2013 edition, as were The Killers who have since pulled out. In their place Arcade Fire have now been added. This year’s concert will also include the first Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performance since their 2006 Freedom of Speech tour. Neil will also likely open the show with a few songs solo, and take the stage during some of the other artists’ sets, as he does every year:
The 2013 Bridge School concert will be October 26-27th (tickets and more details are here). In the meantime, recap the best of past editions below with full acoustic sets by Beck, Thom York, Sonic Youth, Mazzy Star, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, The Who, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and others. Although there was a single disc Bridge School Concerts comp in the ’90s (including Beck’s “It’s All In Your Mind” seven years before Sea Change – listen) and a double-disc 25th anniversary set and companion DVD in 2011, almost none of the below videos have been officially released. As a result most of these are pro-shot and edited but technically bootlegs. Some are fan footage or audio-only (and unfortunately chunks of Beck’s 1995 set are muted). In any case, twenty-six annual Bridge School Benefits and YouTube at our fingertips has created a treasure trove of classic unplugged performances. Besides the full sets, highlights are also included below, mostly rare clips from the ’80s and ’90s. Watch more recent highlights here and see pictures of The Flaming Lips, Jack White, Neil et al at last year’s concert here.