"Build It Back Again" at Tibet House US Benefit Concert

Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Tibet House (Courtesy of Press Here)

The artists, curated by Philip Glass, on stage at the 31st Annual Tibet House US Benefit encouraged resistance.

The 31st Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, March 3rd began as it has traditionally, with an invocation from Tibetan monks followed by an introduction from the organization's President and Vice-President, Robert Thurman and Philip Glass. It was noted that Rhiannon Giddens wouldn't be performing as weather caused her flight to be canceled. She "even tried Amtrak" but had no luck. That was unfortunate as Giddens's voice would have been a powerful inclusion but the evening was still a strong mix of folk, traditional, rock and other genres of music with protest and resistance.

Glass then introduced the next band Los Vega, Veracruz, Mexico, as one he found on the street outside his apartment. The group ended their set with "Bamba" which saw the lead male singer stand atop a box and move his feet wildly. They led into a couple of songs from Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) who covered Nina Simone's "Nobody's Fault But Mine" and Glass's "Etude #6". The latter was wonderfully performed, particularly close to the composer no less, and radiated light.

Philip Glass performed his own "Etude #10" later in the evening backed by the Scorchio Quartet who brought a masterful new interpretation to the piece. The Scorchio Quartet has been part of the benefit shows for 18 years as Glass noted having been invited by David Bowie originally. The group accompanied a number of other performers throughout the evening including the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt who, along with Sam Davol, added levity to the event with his humorous tunes.

Patti Smith's set was close to, if not the highlight performance of the evening. When Smith took the stage, she began by intoning Argentinian poet María Elena Walsh and praising the students from Parkland for their March for Our Lives movement. She (and the Patti Smith Band) covered the classic Buffalo Springfield protest song, "For What It's Worth" as their first tune.

Smith then spoke out against the US Government's relocation of the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem. "We don't want a fucking embassy in Jerusalem," she protested. The "holy city does not need American embassy". The audience cheered. Then the group began "Peaceable Kingdom" from her album Trampin'. The song's lyrics, "Maybe one day we'll be strong enough / To build it back again / Build the peaceable kingdom / Back again", are apt for the Tibetan people and the Tibet House, with its mission to "ensure the survival of Tibetan civilization and culture".

St. Paul and the Broken Bones' lead singer Paul Janeway joked they might never get invited back to Carnegie Hall as he introduced his band. I'd never seen the group before, and I heard he's a wild frontman. Janeway certainly was more amped than other stars of the night as he danced and pushed himself across the stage on his back. He also tossed his sparkly shoes aside during "Broken Bones & Change", which culminated in a standing ovation from the audience.

Carly Simon later reiterated Smith's message on Jerusalem. She resoundingly said the city should remain neutral as she joined the Resistance Revival Chorus for a rousing finale of "Let the River Run". The impressive RRC, whose numerous members strolled down the aisles towards the stage, had already done two great songs but supported Simon on her hit along with other performers from the evening.





The Top 20 Punk Protest Songs for July 4th

As punk music history verifies, American citizenry are not all shiny, happy people. These 20 songs reflect the other side of patriotism -- free speech brandished by the brave and uncouth.


90 Years on 'Olivia' Remains a Classic of Lesbian Literature

It's good that we have our happy LGBTQ stories today, but it's also important to appreciate and understand the daunting depths of feeling that a love repressed can produce. In Dorothy Strachey's case, it produced the masterful Olivia.


Indie Rocker Alpha Cat Presents 'Live at Vox Pop' (album stream)

A raw live set from Brooklyn in the summer of 2005 found Alpha Cat returning to the stage after personal tumult. Sales benefit organizations seeking to end discrimination toward those seeking help with mental health issues.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

‘The Avengers’ Offer a Lesson for Our Time of COVID-19

Whereas the heroes in Avengers: Endgame stew for five years, our grief has barely taken us to the after-credit sequence. Someone page Captain Marvel, please.


Between the Grooves of Nirvana's 'Nevermind'

Our writers undertake a track-by-track analysis of the most celebrated album of the 1990s: Nirvana's Nevermind. From the surprise hit that brought grunge to the masses, to the hidden cacophonous noise-fest that may not even be on your copy of the record, it's all here.


Deeper Graves Arrives via 'Open Roads' (album stream)

Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium man Jeff Wilson offers up solo debut, Open Roads, featuring dark and remarkable sounds in tune with Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus.

Featured: Top of Home Page

The 50 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

Even in the coronavirus-shortened record release schedule of 2020, the year has offered a mountainous feast of sublime music. The 50 best albums of 2020 so far are an eclectic and increasingly "woke" bunch.


First Tragedy, Then Farce, Then What?

Riffing off Marx's riff on Hegel on history, art historian and critic Hal Foster contemplates political culture and cultural politics in the age of Donald Trump in What Comes After Farce?


HAIM Create Their Best Album with 'Women in Music Pt. III'

On Women in Music Pt. III, HAIM are done pretending and ready to be themselves. By learning to embrace the power in their weakest points, the group have created their best work to date.


Amnesia Scanner's 'Tearless' Aesthetically Maps the Failing Anthropocene

Amnesia Scanner's Tearless aesthetically maps the failing Anthropocene through its globally connected features and experimental mesh of deconstructed club, reggaeton, and metalcore.


How Lasting Is the Legacy of the Live 8 Charity Concert?

A voyage to the bottom of a T-shirt drawer prompts a look back at a major event in the history of celebrity charity concerts, 2005's Live 8, Philadelphia.


Jessie Ware Embraces Her Club Culture Roots on Rapturous 'What's Your Pleasure?'

British diva Jessie Ware cooks up a glittery collection of hedonistic disco tracks and delivers one of the year's best records with What's Your Pleasure.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.