Bridge School Benefit Tickets
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Bridge School Benefit
The Bridge School Benefit is an annual non-profit charity concert held in Mountain View, California every October at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. The concerts are all organized by musician Neil Young and his wife, Pegi.
The concert benefits the Bridge School, which assists children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs. One of the thrusts of the program is the use of advanced augmentative and alternative communication systems and assistive technology.
The first concert was in October 1986, and, with the exception of 1987, the concert has been held every year since. It is known for having a relatively high-profile lineup and strong performances, probably due to Neil Young's extensive connections within the music industry. As a practice, but not a rule, the performers use acoustic instruments. Young also personally performs every year.
When The Bridge School was founded in 1986, no one could have imagined that this organization would evolve from a small educational program serving local children with severe physical and speech impairments to an internationally recognized leader in the field of augmentative and alternative communication. Milestones that mark the growth of this organization can provide insight into its growth and its influence in education.
The Bridge School is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that individuals with severe speech and physical impairments achieve full participation in their communities through the use of augmentative & alternative means of communication and assistive technology applications and through the development, implementation and dissemination of innovative life-long educational strategies.
Every year, the lineups for the show are strong and impressive. Past shows have included performers as varied as Sir Paul McCartney, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Mellencamp, Metallica, Tony Bennett, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sonic Youth, Willie Nelson, Lou Reed and REM, among many others, and of course, always, Neil Young. Few of the regular artists of the concert are mentioned below
Dave Matthews Band
Another interestingly multinational pedigree similar to that of Devendra Banhart belongs to Dave Matthews, a native of South Africa who started his eponymous band in Charlottesville, VA in the early 90's.They make mainstream pop with worldbeat influences and have had massive worldwide success.
Like Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters, the band are serious Bridge School alums with three years' worth of shows to their credit. They opened with Loving Wings, proceeded to Warehouse and Ants Marching and for a finale rocked out with Neil Young on a cover of his Cortez the Killer.
The Foo Fighters made their third Bridge School appearance here. Dave Grohl is a warm and engaging performer, who cracked up the audience by threatening to feature a triangle solo in their set, in, as he termed it, some serious second grade action. Color Pictures of a Marigold, My Hero and Skin and Bones all made welcome appearances.
Times Like These always conjures the spirit of Kurt Cobain, and Grohl sang it in a nostalgic way that showed he had made peace with the past. Violinist and singer Petra Haden pitched in for Big Me. Former Foo guitarist (and Germs veteran) Pat Smear also rejoined the group for these performances.
Banhart is a relatively new artist, a neo-folkie named for an Indian mystic followed by his parents. He lived in Texas and Venezuela growing up and actually wandered as a minstrel for a time before garnering a record contract. What a back-story - and he is truly talented.
At the Hop is a great unconventional love song, and his Heard Somebody Say made one of the first of several anti-war statements heard from various artists over the weekend, with the profoundly simple lyric.
Welch calls her own brand of music 'American primitive,' a highly personal blend of bluegrass, folk and country. With such impeccable influences as the Carter Family, her lush voice sounds like a Nashville live performance from at least fifty years ago. A high point of her sets was a performance of her ghostly song Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby from the soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou.
Brian Wilson made his Bridge School audience sing along with a round of Row Your Boat. It did not go very well - by that point a lot of people were a little too tipsy to take direction. A spontaneous audience participation of Beach Boys hits like Sloop John B and Wouldn't It Be Nice went much better.
It is truly a mind-blowing thing to witness thousands and thousands of people singing along at the top of their lungs to something as iconic as Help Me Rhonda. Wilson wanted to build the perfect pop song, and he succeeded in spades - the Beach Boys are one of the most popular musical acts ever, and deservedly so.
The energy is infectious and so positive it does seem like Southern California sunshine in a bottle. Good Vibrations was so dead-on for the uplifting atmosphere that the show could have ended right there with smiles all around.
Death Cab for Cutie
The former indie darlings have hit the big time with a major label deal for their most recent record, and made their Bridge School debut this year.
For those unfamiliar with them, their seemingly senseless band name comes from a song in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour movie.
Death Cab played their catchy tune Crooked Teeth, their wistful Soul Meets Body, and their self-anointed 'incredibly depressing' song What Sarah Said?. ConclusionThe Bridge School's core values are to increase the disabled individual's ability to interact with his environment and to assist him in gaining an education that enables him to fully engage life. Neil Young himself summed up the purpose of this benefit with one observation:
Music is good medicine for everybody. Music is the essence of my life, and I feel very fortunate to communicate here what I can to help raise consciousness of this annual event and the school it helps support.
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