The event, celebrating its 26th anniversary, featured an all-star line up with The Flaming Lips, Foster The People, Steve Martin, kd Lang and Ray LaMontagne all featuring on the strictly acoustic bill. According to Rolling Stone, Young opened the all-day event by performing a short set, including a duet with his wife Pegi on ‘Comes a Time’.
Guns N’ Roses were due on at 4pm but, as is often the way when Axl Rose is involved, the band’s arrival was delayed. Fans were treated to an unexpected guest slot from Pearl Jam frontman Vedder. “This is the last place I thought I’d be when I woke up today… opening for Guns N’ Roses,” he told the audience before playing ‘Elderly Woman’ and ‘Last Kiss’.
Jack White performed with his all-female backing band The Peacocks, running through a set comprised of songs from his solo album ‘Blunderbuss’ as well as White Stripes hits.
Axl Rose and co made their way onstage eventually, playing an acoustic set including the expletive-heavy ‘You’re Crazy’. The band were then joined by students from the Bridge School for renditions of classic hits ‘Welcome To The Jungle’, ‘Paradise City’ and ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.
The fundraiser ended with all of the musical stars, bar Axl Rose, joining Neil Young onstage as he closed the show with a solo set. Jack White, Eddie Vedder, Mark Foster, kd Lang, Wayne Coyne and more all joined Young on ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ as the all-day event came to a close.
Proceeds from the annual concert benefit the Bridge School in Hillsborough, California, which assists children with severe physical impairments and complex communication needs. Two of his Neil Young’s children, Zeke and Ben, were diagnosed with cerebral palsy at an early age.