"Stipe, Corgan, Smith Rock For Tibet House "
Tibet show review
Addicted to Noise
Thanks to Jason Hajdik
Addicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports: A sold-out audience at Carnegie Hall Monday night (Feb. 17) was treated to a night of the types of collaborations between artists like Michael Stipe, Natalie Merchant, Billy Corgan and Patti Smith seen only at benefit shows.
The fifth annual Tibet House benefit was a two-hour meditative pulse of traditional and modern music by a revolving cast of big-name musicians, who joined together on new and old material and a few classic jams. Organized as a show of solidarity with the Tibetan people, who've been fighting for cultural freedom from the Chinese government since the occupation of that country by Chinese troops in 1959, the evening was described by New York Times writer Jon Pareles as "an event where songs outnumbered prayers but were offered in a similar spirit."
The concert opened and closed with the chanting of eight monks from the Drepung Loseling monastery, who, like Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, are currently in exile in India.
Highlights of the night included an all-star band with Billy Corgan guitar and the Velvet Underground's John Cale and composer Philip Glass sharing a piano while Beat poet Allen Ginsberg recited his laundry-list political beat down, "Ballad of the Skeletons." Cale also performed "Ship of Fools" and "Chinese Envoy." The unlikely duo of Glass and Natalie Merchant took the opportunity to debut a new song they wrote together entitled "Planctus," based, according to Pareles, "on a 12th-century lament portraying the Virgin Mary at the Crucifixion."
Corgan also debuted a new song, entitled "Need," followed by somber reading of the blues standard "Death Don't Have No Mercy." Ben Harper did a solo cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song," Stipe performed "E-Bow the Letter" with Patti Smith reprising her role on backing vocals, as well as a hushed version of Pearl Jam's "Long Road."
But the high point of the evening was Smith's shattering performance of her signature tune, "People Have the Power," for which she shared the stage with all the night's participants and sang in a voice Pareles described as "blazing with optimistic conviction." The evening closed with a final chant by the monks.
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