Johnny Cash, country music's venerable man in black whose 40-year career has encompassed everything from jaded jailhouse blues to road warrior rockabilly, made a surprise appearance at an all-star tribute concert held in his honor Tuesday night in New York.It was the first time the 67-year-old Cash has been on stage since he was diagnosed in 1997 with Shy-Drager Syndrome, a degenerative nervous disorder. The tribute brought together an eclectic array of musicians (all dressed in Johnny Cash Black) such as Dave Matthews and Emmylou Harris, who duetted on Cash's song "The Long Black Veil." Willie Nelson also took the stage, acting as a last-minute replacement for a very hoarse Rosanne Cash on "I Still Miss Someone." Meanwhile, Wyclef Jean (sporting a cowboy hat and a cheesy grin) half-sang and half-rapped "Delia's Gone," a track off of Cash's "American Recordings" album. "Johnny Cash is incredible," Wyclef gushed to MTV News the
day after his appearance on the Cash tribute. "What attracted me to him is his lyrics, the cleverness of storytelling; I didn't look at the teleprompter once because I know some of Johnny Cash's songs and I picked one of my favorite songs, 'Delia' It was just incredible. I got off the stage and met Johnny Cash, you know what I'm saying. He came up to me and said, 'I really like what you just did'. Shook his hand and then he added another 25 years to my career. That's what happens when you shake a legend's hand, you know what I'm sayin', so it was dope." [RealVideo]Other performers included Sheryl Crow (singing "Flesh and Blood" with Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter), Kris Kristofferson (backed by Trisha Yearwood on "Sunday Morning Coming Down") and taped appearances from U2 (offering a reggae-splashed rendition of "Don't Take Your Guns To Town"), Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. But the emotional highlight of the evening
was undoubtedly Cash himself, who closed the show with "Folsom Prison Blues" (backed by his original drummer and bassist) and a rousing, all-star sing-along of "I Walk The Line."The Johnny Cash tribute will be televised on TNT on April 18.