Buckley flew back to New York early the following year to make his public singing debut at a tribute concert for his father called "Greetings from Tim Buckley". The event, produced by show business veteran , was held at in on April 26, 1991. Buckley rejected the idea of the concert as a springboard to his career, instead citing personal reasons regarding his decision to sing at the tribute. With accompaniment by experimental rock guitarist , Buckley performed "I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain", a song Tim Buckley wrote about an infant Jeff Buckley and his mother. Buckley returned to the stage to play "Sefronia – The King's Chain", "Phantasmagoria in Two", and concluded the concert with "Once I Was" performed acoustically with an impromptu ending, due to a snapped guitar string. Willner, the show's organizer, later recalled that Buckley's set closer made a strong impression. Buckley's performance at the concert was counter-intuitive to his desire to distance himself musically from his father. Buckley later explained his reasoning to : "It wasn't my work, it wasn't my life. But it bothered me that I hadn't been to his funeral, that I'd never been able to tell him anything. I used that show to pay my last respects." The concert proved to be his first step into the music industry that had eluded him for years.
In May and June 2007, Buckley's life and music were celebrated globally with tributes in Australia, Canada, UK, France, Iceland, Israel, Ireland, Republic of Macedonia, Portugal and the U.S. Many of Buckley's family members attended the various tribute concerts across the globe, some of which they helped organize. There are three annual Jeff Buckley tribute events: the Chicago-based , featuring a three-day concert schedule, , an annual New York City tribute, and the Australia-based . The latter event is run by the Fall In Light Foundation, which in addition to the concerts, runs a "Guitars for Schools" program. The name of the foundation is taken from the lyrics of Buckley's "New Year's Prayer".