This Old Bridge (no label)
Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA – December 4th, 1988
(73:07): Neil Young: Comes A Time, Sugar Mountain, This Note’s For You, American Dream (with Crosby, Stills & Nash). Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Helplessly Hoping, Love The One You’re With, This Old House, Southern Man, Don’t Say Goodbye, Compass, Long Time Gone, Southern Cross, Teach Your Children. Nils Lofgren: Believe A Little Bit In Yourself (with Neil Young on background vocals and harmonica). Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir & Rob Wasserman: Wang Dang Doodle (with Neil Young on harmonica)
This Old Bridge is a new document from the second Bridge School Benefit in December 1988 at the Oakland Coliseum, an almost complete soundboard recording, not the video soundtrack. The sound quality is excellent, well balanced and very enjoyable and this is a great set as well.
This title documents all of Neil Young’s contributions to the second Bridge Benefit: his opening solo set, with CSN&Y, the small contribution to Nils Lofgren’s and The Grateful Dead’s set. The opening of “Comes A Time” is missing, capturing only the final ninety seconds of the song before it segues directly into “Sugar Mountain”. That track contains interesting staccato rhythms that are unique to this performance.
“This Note’s For You” is also acoustic and is very interesting before singing the then new single “American Dream”. Young begins it alone and is joined on stage by Crosby, Stills and Nash during the first verse to much applause although it sounds a bit rough. The CSN&Y set sounds a bit under rehearsed. Asking constantly “what is the next song? What key?” between some of the tracks, they begin with “Helplessly Hoping”.
“Love The One You’re With,” sounds much better as does the new song “This Old House”. That is followed by a rare performance of “Southern Man”. It was performed during the last CSN&Y reunion tour in 1974 and is very well received here.
Graham Nash sings “Don’t Say Goodbye” before Crosby’s “Compass” where Young plays harmonica. “Long Time Gone” is very intense with Stills and Nash in call and response mode in the verses.
After CSNY ended their set with “Southern Cross”, Tracy Chapman joins them for “Teach Your Children.” The Nils Lofgren song “Believe A Little Bit In Yourself” is forgettable (much like his solo career) and the final song on this title, “Wang Dang Doodle” is fun to listen to.
The same anonymous group who released Neil At Massey Hall last autumn and the Bob Dylan title San Francisco Bay Bridge manufacture This Old Bridge. It is a high quality production with glossy paper inserts much like the current Sirene and Wardour releases and very similar design. I don’t know why there is no label attribution for these, but it is a great sounding release that is worth having.