Young, Nelson, Mellencamp Help Farm Aid Turn 21
Farm Aid co-founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young were joined by Dave Matthews, Steel Pulse, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gov't Mule, Steve Earle and Allison Moorer for the organization's 21st anFarm Aid co-founders Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young were joined by Dave Matthews, Steel Pulse, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gov't Mule, Steve Earle and Allison Moorer for the organization's 21st anniversary concert on Saturday (Sept. 30) at the Tweeter Center in Camden, N.J., just across the river from Philadelphia.
While Farm Aid may belong more to Nelson (who made various cameos throughout the day) or Young, it was Matthews alone who filled hundreds of seats. While the singer performed a solo, mostly acoustic set, his faithful (especially his female devotees) beamed and swayed in the aisles, matching him word for word.
Like Mellencamp and Young, Matthews played a six-song set, kicked off by the bouncy "Everyday" and featuring the solo songs "Gravedigger" and most notably, the delicate electric guitar lullaby "Some Devil."
Following performances from political reggae act Steel Pulse, polka king Jimmy Sturr and jam kingpins Gov't Mule, Matthews was one of the few to address the whole point of the show, in more than two or three words: "Every farm should be run by a family -- people who love the earth," he said, in addition to repeatedly (and jokingly) remarking, "There ain't nothing better than a good tomato."
Young took the stage in tandem with his wife Pegi, who sang backing vocals throughout and even took center stage with an acoustic guitar for a duet on "Four Strong Winds." The set also included the trumpet-lined “Field of Opportunity” and a guest appearance from Nelson on “Homegrown.”
Mellencamp revisited ‘80s anthems like “Pink Houses” and “Rain on the Scarecrow” and rocked up “Authority Song” for an extended version that bordered on heavy metal, while Lewis drafted Nelson for “Jambalaya” and also played Jimmy Reed's "Bright Lights, Big City," "Roll over Beethoven" and "Great Balls of Fire.”
In traditional fashion, Nelson capped the evening before a still-full Tweeter Center, running through his the sing-along "City of New Orleans" (a nod to Arlo Guthrie, who was absent due to illness), "Whiskey River," "Good-Hearted Woman," and "Crazy," among others, with a litany of guests, including Neil and Pegi Young.