Neil Young, Red Hot Chili Peppers Perform at Benefit for Silverlake Conservatory of Music

The non-profit organization founded by Flea offers private lessons to young artists at reasonable costs and grants scholarships to kids in need.
Gary Leonard

Neil Young and the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a special, intimate show Wednesday evening in Silverlake as part of Flea and Anthony Kiedis' annual benefit for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. The event, held in the hillside Paramour Mansion, raised money to contribute to the Conservatory's goal of purchasing a permanent facility and expanding their scholarship program. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti welcomed guests, including Val Kilmer, Jack Black, Christina Applegate, David Spade and Serj Tankian, at the start of the night, calling L.A. "the most creative city in the world."

The event featured a silent art auction, which included a sizeable array of pieces from artists like Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Shepard Fairey, Autumn de Wilde and Robert Russell. Fairey and Ruscha were both in attendance. Guests paid $2,000 a head to attend the dinner and performance, and participate in the auction.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers performed a five-song set as dinner commenced, rolling through hits like "The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie," "Can't Stop" and "By the Way" on a small stage surrounded by tables. Flea also honored L.A., proposing a toast to the city. "We're all in this together," he said. "I couldn't be filled with more gratitude for you all being here tonight."

PHOTOS: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young Rock Silverlake Conservatory Benefit

Later in their set, Kiedis paid homage to Lou Reed. "A lot of times when people die you get a moment of silence," Kiedis said before the band performed "All Around the World." "Tonight, I think we’ll get a moment of raucous noise for one of the coolest guys to walk the streets of New York City. So how about a moment of noise for Lou?"

The band, which has performed at Young's own annual benefit show, Bridge School, also thanked the singer for supporting their cause. "We are so honored and grateful for Neil Young to come down and help out," Flea told the attendees. "We are lifelong fans." The band honored Young with a rousing interpretation of his track "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere."

Young took the stage shortly after, although he seemed to expect that he would appear later in the night. "I wish I could say I was dessert, but I think I might be the main course," Young said as he sat down at his piano. The singer played nine songs, ranging from "Someday" to Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In the Wind" to "Comes a Time." It seems expected for musicians to pay tribute to Reed this week, but Young merely responded to audience calls for Reed's music with the sentiment, "We all want more Lou Reed."

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The musician didn't just offer the expected hits during his 35-minute performance. Young covered Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain," noting "I think I remember this one," and performed two songs off 1992's Harvest Moon, the title track and "War of Man." Young seemed pleased to be performing in what essentially amounted to a backyard of the historic mansion owned by Dana Hollister. He joked to the rapt audience, many of whom left their tables to sit close to the stage, "Well, you're pretty quiet eaters. That's how I judge my audience -- by their eating volume."

Young closed his performance with "Heart of Gold," thanking RHCP for always supporting his own event and always giving whatever they could. "If you like me, give money to the Conservatory and I'll be happy," Young said. "I'm not selling any of my instruments though."

Silverlake Conservatory of Music is a non-profit organization founded by Flea. The school is presently in its 13th year and offers private music lessons at a reasonable cost and grants scholarships to children in need, providing free lessons and instruments, serving over 700 students. The total raised from last evening’s benefit is not yet available.

See a gallery of photos from the event here.

Twitter: @emilyzemler