Sunday, March 04, 2018

Philip Glass Delivers Eclectic Set of Performers at Annual Tibet House Benefit Concert

Attended the Tibet House benefit at Carnegie Hall last night. To be honest, while I support the the cause I only bought the (pricey) tickets because I saw Carly Simon was one of the artists Philip Glass had arranged for the 31st annual version of this event. Carly is notorious for having stage-fright -- so rarely performs live -- so it seemed like a (more-or-less) once-in-a-lifetime chance to see her perform. And that Patti Smith was also on the bill made it even more enticing. 

In the end, it would up being a lovely evening featuring an diverse group of performers -- each bringing something unique to the program. Los Vega played beautiful songs from their native Vera Cruz; Devonte Hynes of Blood Orange covered Nina Simone to great effect and tickled some difficult ivories; Angel Olsen impressed me with her Tanya Donelly-esque singer/guitarist ways; I finally found out who Stephin Merritt is!; the Scorchio Quartet were best supporting players; and St. Paul and the Broken Bones singer Paul Janeway answered the question "what would happen if Michael Bolton had a son with Type II diabetes who worshiped Elvis?" 

But as expected, Patti and Carly remained my focus. And Patti came on strong with a poignant cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," followed by a reading of a #resistance poem by a woman she had met the previous day in Buenos Aires (she implored everyone to attend the March for Our Lives on the 24th in Washington). 

She got the whole gang to join in on a raucous version of "People Have the Power" ...

And closed with the cautiously optimistic "Peaceable Kingdom," and a call to leave Jerusalem a non-partisan holy city.

The evening began to wrap up with the wonderful Resistance Revival Chorus doing a couple of beautiful numbers -- before seguing into "Let the River Run," with Carly suddenly appearing in the background to sing the opening line. It was a fitting ending to a fairly apolitical evening -- with the lyrics "let all the dreamers wake the nation" dovetailing on Patti's statement that the youth of today will accomplish what neither Democrats or Republicans have been able to (a reference to gun control). And then Carly using the next line from her Oscar-winning anthem -- "come, the new Jerusalem" -- to reiterate Patti's stance on the administration's plan to move the U.S. Embassy there. 

Would I have killed for another song (or two) from my dear Carly? Or a "People Have the Power" chaser from Patti? Of course. But at this point in life, I was thrilled to be in these women's presence at all. And the evening had already taken on a more special tone when I found out it was Damian's first time at Carnegie Hall, on top of the fact that the previous time I was there it was with my two brothers before everything went to hell. And the truth is, we just never know how much more time we have with the legends from our youth -- so anything I can get from them is much-appreciated by this aging fanboy. 

We're coming to the edge 
Running on the water 
Coming through the fog 
Your sons and daughters

1 comment:

JimmyD said...

Wow! It sounds like a great event!
Pity about the tiny seats and zero leg room at Carnegie Hall. It's fucking hell for us tall people!