Last night we crossed the bridge into Manhattan to take in the 25th annual edition of the Tibet House Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall. From the onset, the show had an interesting air about it.
The show, a Manhattan institution, was hosted by the easy-spoken Philip Glass, who welcomed a series of artists seemingly as diverse and intriguing as the faces in the crowd, which consisted of an eclectic array of scraggly hipsters, gray-haired hippies, and black-tie moguls.
At the forefront of the evening’s more mainstream names and songs, Debbie Harry brought back her hit Heart of Glass from her days as Rock n Roll Hall of Fame singer, Blondie. She also performed a song called Lovelight which was deeply rooted in 90’s techno-talking peculiarity.
Looking outwards into the world of differing cultural influences, Nova Scotian fiddler Ashley Macisaac astonished as he hopped about in a kilt and drove his sound from soft stringwork to full-on, pubstomping excitement. Tibetan singer Tenzin Choegyal also humbled the audience with his deep rooted hums with a reverb that sounded like a didgeridoo. Choegyal’s singing was most powerful when it accompanied artist Laurie Anderson’s reading from a piece of literature most commonly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
The evening panned out with some more extraordinarily crafted performances from the Flaming Lips covering the Beatles She’s Leaving Home and, in an ethereal collaboration with Philip Glass, Warszawa by David Bowie. Each song was complemented by the angelic vocals of guest singer Julianna Barwick.
Patti Smith closed things by reading an early happy birthday poem to the Dalai Lama with her daughter accompanying on the piano. She then went on to bring all of the performers on stage for one last sing along and a lovely finish to an equally enjoyable evening.
With Carnegie Hall just a short train ride or Uber trip away from the Nu Hotel, we’d certainly recommend a trip up to Manhattan’s most storied venue.