Neil Young and Stephen Stills reunited at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night for the “Light Up The Blues” autism awareness event. This was Young’s first performance on stage since 2019.
The collaborative set pretty much rounded out the night, as Young stepped up for solo renditions of “From Hank to Hendrix” and “Comes a Time” before being joined by house band Promise of the Real for “Heart of Gold.” Stills added piano accompaniment on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young number and “Helpless” and stayed to deliver a series of Buffalo Springfield hits, including “For What It’s Worth”, “Bluebird” and “Mr. Soul” with the assistance of Joe Walsh.
They closed with “Long May You Run” from the Stills-Young Band joint one-off 1976 album of the same name. See fan captured footage of the tracklist highlights below.
Earlier in the program, Stills paid tribute to late colleague David Crosby for performing CSNY’s “Wooden Ships” alongside his son Chris Stills and son James Raymond. Graham Nash, who was unable to attend the event due to a conflicting concert, appeared in a pre-recorded video to present a 2013 performance of “Guinnevere” by Crosby, Nash and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. He said, “Enjoy the music, and please cheer up” (Per Rolling Stone). “I will miss him every day of my life.”
The Los Angeles-based “Light Up The Blues” fundraising event has been organized by the Stills family since 2013 for the nonprofit Autism Speaks, which raises awareness of autism and sponsors research while conducting outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. The sixth iteration was hosted by Jeff Garlin and Camryn Mannheim, and groups from Sharon Van Etten, Willie Nelson, and more also appeared.
The charity event follows Young’s impromptu vocal set in February at an environmental rally in British Columbia as his first public performance in nearly four years. A return to the stage in the wake of the pandemic seemed unlikely for the Canadian singer-songwriter after he said he was “not ready” to play concerts out of concern for his health and safety, and recently lamented that his “concert tour is off.” Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday on April 29-30 (get tickets here).
Despite his live hiatus, Young continued to be characteristically prolific by releasing two albums with Crazy Horse in the space of four months. world record Arrived in November 2022, followed by All roads lead home in March.
Neil Young track list:
From Hank to Hendrix
Heart of gold
Helpless (song by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
On the Way Home (The Buffalo Springfield Song)
Everybody’s Wrong (Buffalo Springfield Song)
For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield Song)
Bluebird (Buffalo Springfield song)
Mr. Soul (Buffalo Springfield Song)
Long May You Run (The Stills – Young Band song)