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First, to everyone attending this weekend's Bridge School Benefit Concerts, have a wonderful time.
If you've attended before, than you know what to expect. If this is your first Bridge trip, then you have much to look forward to. So open your heart and let the magic of music and love flow.
If you've ever attended a Bridge School Benefit Concert, then you know what to expect. Lots of great music, lots of good friends and all for a wonderful cause.
Bridge School kids interview Neil Young
There are many, many things which strike us after attending the Bridge School Benefit shows over the past years. Yes, there are the friends and music. The Bridge Benefit Concerts are not really so much a Neil Young concert, but much more a celebration of a diverse range of bands of up and comers.
We all say that it's all about the Bridge kids every year. Not the music but the cause. And you just can not come away from the weekend just totally in awe of the spirit and strength of these kids and their families. The struggles they face make our problems meaningless, although that don't make them go away.
"One Of These Days" - Bridge School Benefit Concert 2010
It really isn't possible to express how these concerts leave an impact on a whole another level, much of which traces directly to what Neil & Pegi have done with the Bridge School, the kids, the parents and the artists. At the end of the 2 day concert -- after some 16+ hours of music -- everyone is pretty much drained and spent by the time Neil & Pegi take their final bows. Much of the 15,000+ crowd has long gone, leaving a dense crowd of die-hard Neil fans down in the lower sections first dozen or so rows. And Neil & Pegi see who has remained and realize briefly that what they look out on are the extended family of the global Neil community. And for a moment they often are at a loss, just saying "Thank you, Thank you, Thank you". They feel our love and we feel theirs. And it is good.
And so we say to all of our dear friends, the kids, all of the artists, and Neil & Pegi, "Thank you".
The photo above of Neil and Pegi Young at the conclusion of the Bridge School Benefit Concerts last month says more than we could ever put into words. Jill "Sweet Sweet Smile" Gottlieb-Seagraves's photo of Pegi & Neil captures in an instant much of the love and warmth that permeates the weekend's festivities. As many of you know, spending a few days out in Northern California with good friends and good music is a therapeutically soothing experience that -- for us -- lasts long after we finally return back home to our regular lives. Seeing all of the performers interact with the Bridge kids and watching their heartfelt reactions is truly gratifying and soul enriching.
As Eddie Vedder said at the Bridge concerts : "The kids are the teachers. We are the students."