Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Alabama Shakes + More Celebrate Philip Glass at Tibet House Benefit Concert
  • FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2017

  • Posted by: Kirsten Spruch

[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

There are some legendary musicians that almost seem too good to be true. Whether it's their technical ability, the message they are spreading, their lovable personality, or all even all three, everyone has those artists they look up to - those artists on their "must see live" bucket list. Last night at Carnegie Hall, the Tibet House hosted its 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert celebrating Philip Glass's 80th birthday, and as if seeing the renowned composer, who has been associated with the organization for years, perform live wasn't enough, there were also several other iconic artists thrown into the mix, like Laurie Anderson, Alabama Shakes, Ben Harper, Iggy Pop, New Order, Sufjan Stevens, and Patti Smith. I don't want to sound totally basic, I have to say it: I died.

The night opened up with the monks and their chant, to remind us of what we were all supporting: the survival of the unique Tibetan civilization. Then Laurie Anderson came out, who was later joined by Glass to perform "Etude No. 10" with the Scorchio Quartet.

tibet house benefit phillip glass


When Alabama Shakes entered the stage, the crowd roared. Brittany Howard, looking cooler than ever in a green velvet dress, was the almighty deliverer of sweet, sweet rock 'n' roll as they immediately jumped into the Sound & Color singles, "Gimme All Your Love," "Over My Head," and the title track. Howard can belt, but that's not what's impressive. The impressive part is that she knows exactly when to do it, exhibiting control and refrain without sacrificing soul and passion. "Sound & Color" was a particularly unforgettable moment - each note was meticulously executed, not a single beat out of place. I've seen Alabama Shakes before, at Panorama in 2016, but seeing it in this setting was an entirely new experience. With the calm atmosphere, each second was savored. Each and every detail of the arrangement was heard. And the band playing with Glass on piano... Well, that's just something we never thought we'd have the privilege to see.

alabama shakes tibet house benefit philip glass


Later, I was able to cross seeing Iggy Pop live off my bucket list. He performed "Stray Dog," "She's Lost Control," and "Shades" with New Order, right after entering the stage and throwing a stool that was just sitting there minding its own business, because why not? Sufjan Stevens followed, who played a very Sufjan-version of "The Star Spangled Banner" as well as "Happy Birthday Song" with Patti Smith's band.

iggy pop new order philip glass tibet house benefit


sufjan stevens tibet house benefit philip glass


Closing out the night was the queen herself, Patti Smith. She covered Bob Dylan's "Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall" a well as "Citizenship," but perhaps the most powerful moment of the night was her last song, "People Have The Power." What a fantastic note to end on, because although we were celebrating the Tibet House and Glass, it was also a wildly political night. Almost every artist made a comment at some point about the current political climate, artists like Laurie Anderson performed pieces directly influenced by the world today, and speakers like Robert Thurman, who came out to make remarks, acknowledged it as well. When "People Have The Power" began, all of the performers came out and the audience stood. It was an overwhelmingly emotional moment - to see the monks, Tibetan artist Tenzin Choegyal, Ben Harper, Iggy Pop, Sufjan Stevens, Alabama Shakes, and Philip Glass all come together on one stage and sing that song in unison was one of the most inspiring moments I've fortunately had the chance to experience. It was impossible to not feel happy and inspired when watching all of the one-time-only collaborations. Smith, with her powerful stance and reassuring presence made me think that yes, everything will be okay, and like Glass stated at the beginning of the night (and I'm paraphrasing here), "be happy no matter what they're doing... Resist! But be happy."

patti smith philip glass tibet house benefit
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