March 17, 2017

Tibet House US 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert

This year was the Tibet House US 30th Anniversary Tibet House Benefit Concert and it happened to coincide with the legendary Phillip Glass's 80th birthday. The line-up was as stacked as ever.

Benefit concerts such as these can be a bit strange for casual fans. While the line-up for this event was filled to the brim with big name guests, each artist only played a few songs and they weren't the notable hits many probably wanted to hear. Still, it was an amazing night full of celebration and a reminder to fight back and resist against our current government. To start things off, Laurie Anderson was joined by Philip Glass for some great modern-classical and experimental tracks. Decked out in a velvet gown with the rest of Alabama Shakes firmly in-toe, Brittany Howard propelled her voice through the magnificent hall with more power than anyone else all evening. Ben Harper's slide guitar was a soft touch and his daughter joined him for a second song creating one of the warmest interactions of the night. In what seemed like a dream setting, Iggy Pop and Bernard Sumner performed New Order's "Stray Dogs" before being joined by the band's Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman. Iggy threw a metal stool across the stage as he made his entrance and continued to rage on through the set. They covered Joy Division's "She's Lost Control", at Iggy's personal request (with a string quartet no less), which really hit hard, delivery strong feelings of passion. It was the first time the band played the song in over ten years. Bernard Sumner and Pop embraced for a large portion of their short set and Iggy did all he could to rev-up the crowd. Despite those efforts, Sufjan (wearing a Sannhetr t-shirt) slowed things back down with a cover of our National Anthem and an old birthday song that he wrote years ago, but tonight it was dedicated to Glass. Even with an such impressive line-up, it was Patti Smith's closing set that truly brought down the house. With her band and son behind her, Smith's voice boomed with great authority and wisdom as she dedicated her opening number,  a cover of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", to Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass, another serene and touching moment. As much as it was a celebration, it was also a heavy evening with numerous remarks towards our current state of affairs, including a speech from the ACLU. To close out the night, Patti brought out all of the evening's performs to join her for "People Have the Power," her compelling anthem fit for today's world. It was an empowering moment seeing so many legends onstage together promoting peace and happiness. "Never forget that joy is one of our greatest fucking weapons" Smith exclaimed as the night came to a close. Well, for a moment, I think everyone in the room felt like the strongest weapon on Earth.

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