Neil Young and Stephen Stills will perform together this April as headliners for the Light Up the Blues charity show, a benefit that raises funds for Autism Speaks.
The concert will take place on April 22 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, where Young and Stills will also be joined by the late David Crosby‘s son, James Raymond. Other guests include Lukas Nelson (son of Willie Nelson) & Promise of the Real and Stills family members Chris Stills and Oliver Stills.
The concert will mark Young’s first public performance since 2019. (He has previously expressed reservations over resuming touring, citing the pandemic as well as environmental concerns.) Young will appear a week later at Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday concert. “We’ll be there to ‘Light Up the Blues’ with Stephen, [his wife] Kristen and the family,” Young told Rolling Stone in a statement, “doing [our] first show in four years with old friends for our autistic people around the world.”
Stills and his family have been running Light Up the Blues since 2013, though the pandemic has shifted their schedule in recent years. This year’s show was originally planned for April 2020. An option of a streamed concert was suggested, but Stills chose to wait. “I always hated the idea of a virtual show,” he explained to Rolling Stone. “The only one that pulled it off was the Stephen Colbert band with Jon Batiste. Everyone else tried, but it was a joke.” Other acts to have performed at previous Light Up the Blues shows include Crosby, Stills & Nash, John Mayer, Patti Smith, Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, Beck and Burt Bacharach.
Stills’ wife, Kristen, said more special guests will be revealed before showtime. “Some of them will be announced prior to the show, and there will be some surprises guaranteed on that night,” she noted. (Graham Nash is currently scheduled to perform a solo show in Pittsburgh that evening.)
Raymond, who frequently collaborated with Crosby, has a “singing voice [that] sounds so much like David that it’s scary,” Stephen Stills said. “I’ve always had so much fun playing those songs, David’s songs. We’ve got James, and now we can get the chords, which was always a carefully kept mystery.”
Young and Stills will conclude the evening’s set backed by Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. At past concerts, they’ve performed favorites like Buffalo Springfield‘s “For What It’s Worth” and Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” but this year, Stills said, their tight schedule will lead to some last-minute decisions. “We make up the show in this remote rehearsal site,” he explained. “And because time is compressed, we don’t have time to do anything besides what we come up with right away.”
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