Willie Nelson, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Grace Potter and More Highlight Farm Aid
Hersey, PA’s Hersheypark Stadium hosted the 27th annual Farm Aid benefit this past Saturday. In addition to Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, this year’s lineup featured Kenny Chesney, Jack Johnson, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Dale Watson, Pegi Young and the Survivors, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real and ALO.
The event’s founder, Willie Nelson, closed the benefit with a guest-heavy set. His son Lukas Nelson sang and played guitar for much of his show, including a cover of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” while the Bee Creek Gospel Singers augmented him on a few numbers, including “On The Road Again.” At the end of the night, many of the day’s performers, including Potter and Young, sat in on the sing-along finales “I’ll Fly Away” and “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die.”
Nelson’s set closed a busy, highly-collaborative day. Early in the afternoon, Lukas Nelson and Willie Nelson Band harmonica ace Mickey Raphael sat in with Pegi Young for “Number 9 Train.” Soon after, Neil Young played guitar with his wife on her own “Love Like Water.” Later, Lukas Nelson paid tribute to Neil Young by covering his “Ragged Company” during his set with the Promise of the Real.
One of the day’s biggest surprises came during Potter’s set, when Willie Nelson and Raphael took the stage. The musicians joined the Nocturnals for “Ragged Company,” which Nelson recorded with the group as a bonus track for this year’s The Lion The Beast The Beat. Later in the day, Potter revisited her recent Brothers of the Sun Tour by singing with Kenney Chesney on their hit duet “You and Tequila.” Chesney got into the collaborative spirit too, and sat in with John Mellencamp on his anthem “Small Town.”
Like most of his recent shows, Young performed with his reunited Crazy Horse. After sticking to a setlist for most of their late summer tour, the group switched things up: Crazy Horse opened with their first version of “Country Home” since 2004, brought Willie Nelson out for the first Crazy Horse version of the Farm Aid anthem “Homegrown” and revived “Like A Hurricane,” which Young last played in 2009.