LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Admitting to being intimidated in the presence of a former Beatle, Neil Young joined forces with Paul McCartney Thursday to perform at a $500-per-seat fundraiser to raise awareness of landmines.
Surrounded by a half-dozen guitars and a banjo, Young played an acoustic set featuring such nuggets as “Pocahontas,” “Heart of Gold,” “Harvest Moon” and “Four Strong Winds” with occasional help from wife Pegi on backing vocals.
McCartney, with a full band, followed with a diverse set of Beatles classics such as “Drive My Car,” “Blackbird,” “Michelle” and “Get Back,” as well as more obscure material like the pre-Beatles tune “In Spite of All the Danger” and the John Lennon tribute “Here Today.”
Young joined him twice on stage at the Century Plaza Hotel, first for a duet on the former’s “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and later to play along as McCartney closed the evening after midnight with “Hey Jude.”
“We have a bit of fun but, as you can see, we do a lot of good along the way,” McCartney told the crowd. “That’s one of the magic things … When you’ve worked hard and you’ve had a lot of luck, you get to a position, where Neil and I are at, you can do a little bit more. It’s a magic thing.”
The event benefited Adopt-A-Minefield, for which McCartney and his wife Heather Mills are goodwill ambassadors and patrons. The group helps clear minefields in such countries as Vietnam, Croatia and Iraq, and assists survivors of landmine accidents. An auction hosted by Jay Leno raised about $125,000, including $6,000 for one of Young’s saliva-laced harmonicas. “You can clone your own Neil Young,” Leno said.
A grim Mills, an amputee herself, told the crowd that governments risked turning young victims of bombs and unexploded ordinances into bitter and vengeful people, and that “electing the right president” would help the situation.
Among the diners of the vegetarian fare were Stephen Stills, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Steve Buscemi, Pamela Anderson and Bill Maher.
McCartney and Young will reunite Oct. 23 and 24 during Young’s 18th annual Bridge School benefit concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, Calif.