It was a cold, windy evening in Mountain View on Sunday, but it didn't sway a a few thousand music fans from sticking it out to see a reunion of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young topping out a great bill at the 27th annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at Shoreline. Once again, the lineup was impressive as Young and his wife Pegi have always used their considerable pull in the music industry to get some big names on the bill, and it's generally required that performers prepare all acoustic sets.

The concert was held over two days with similar lineups, though Arcade Fire and Jack Johnson were there only on Saturday, and Tom Waits was a last-minute addition for Sunday only, bringing along a band that included former Primus bassist/vocalist (and winemaker) Les Claypool on standup bass, and Los Lobos guitarist David Hidalgo.

Things kicked off both days with what was, by all accounts, a lovely, lyrical set by Jennie Lewis. We arrived toward the end of Lewis's Sunday set, only to be arrested by her closing number, her Rilo Kiley song "Silver Lining," which she's played often in concerts before.

Heart and fun. both performed solid, rocking sets that had their respective fan bases on their feet, with Ann Wilson growling and wailing out an especially passionate rendition of "Crazy on You," and fun. singer Nate Ruess singing an excellent cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love." Diana Krall sounded good, as did her husband Elvis Costello, though their duet on Bob Dylan's "Wallflower" faltered.

The climactic heart of the show came after My Morning Jacket took the stage, and a few songs in, lead singer Jim James was joined by Neil Young in a pitch-perfect duet on "Harvest Moon." Then James was the first on stage to acknowledge the death of Lou Reed earlier that day, and he and Young were joined on stage by Costello, Lewis, and several others as they began a soaring, epic cover of "Oh! Sweet Nuthin" by the Velvet Underground. (See video above.)

By the time Waits took the stage, the audience was primed for a more magic, and the legendary, whiskey-voiced singer didn't disappoint. His threepenny romps and retro ballads always sound like things might have heard in a Barbary Coast barroom in 1890, but his is a talent that deserves live performance and often sounds somehow anachronistic in recordings. As Rolling Stone raves, he bounced through his catalog with "Singapore," "Lucky Day," and "Tom Traubert's Blues," the latter of which they call an "aching plea" that brought "the entire crowd to a hushed silence." (Hear it at the link.)

Also, he won when it came to on-stage banter, telling the story of how he'd come to agree to perform for The Bridge School. "Long story. Back in the 1970s I borrowed a lot of money from Neil. For me, it was the days of long hair and short money. He loaned it to me so I could start a restaurant. I lost a lot of money on that restaurant. Let me rephrase that, I lost a lot of Neil's money. And you don't wanna see Neil mad... Neil said, 'Listen, you owe me a lot of money, so I have three ideas for you: Jail time or you can come work in my yard, or you can do the Bridge School.'"

The evening closed, as it hasn't for eight years, with a reunion of CSNY, which included new material for Stills (the strong "Don't Want Lies"), Nash's "Just a Song Before I Go," and their traditional closer, in tribute to the disabled kids of The Bridge School, "Teach Your Children Well." We stayed to hear the quartet, wondering if we'd ever have another chance to hear them together. But maybe if Neil keeps bugging them, and they all keep kicking and playing guitar, there will always be another Bridge School Benefit.