Last night, the 32nd Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert returned to Carnegie Hall in New York City for a memorable evening filled with extraordinary performances. This year’s eclectic lineup of artists included Stephen Colbert, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Jason Isbell, Nathaniel Rateliff, Jon Batiste, New Order’s Bernard Sumner, Phil Cunningham, Tom Chapman & Joe Duddell, Laurie Anderson, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Angélique Kidjo, Tenzin Choegyal, Scorchio Quartet, along with artistic director and curator for the evening Philip Glass.
The night had countless standout moments as the performers celebrated the Tibetan New Year. Stephen Colbert read Allen Ginsberg’s thought-provoking and politically driven poem “Birdbrain,” while accompanied by Philip Glass on piano. Colbert brilliantly captured the wit and emotion of the reading and it was a thrill for those in attendance. Nathaniel Rateliff was joined by Jon Batiste to perform an electrifying rendition of Sam & Dave’s classic “Hold On, I’m Coming,” and earlier in the night Rateliff put his own spin on “Atlantic City.” Debbie Harry sang a mesmerizing, re-imagined version of the Blondie hit “Heart Of Glass” accompanied by the beautiful Scorchio Quartet strings, and Jason Isbell challenged himself on his 7-year sobriety date by performing an experimental electric guitar set that was a highlight of the night.
Surprise guest and Tibet House Benefit alumnus Patti Smith and her band had the audience out of their seats dancing to their cover of Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning,” while Laurie Anderson interacted with the audience in her own unique way by telling the incredible story of Yoko Ono screaming following Donald Trump winning the election. Laurie encouraged the audience to scream at the top of their lungs and the sold-out crowd’s enthusiastic thrill echoed throughout the iconic room, and could probably be heard from the street outside. New Order played an epic rendition of David Bowie’s “Be My Wife,” and Angélique Kidjo displayed her powerhouse vocals as she sang “Malaika” and was then joined on stage by the rest of the performers to close out the night with an upbeat cover of the Talking Head’s classic “Once in a Lifetime.” Other highlights included performances by Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Philip Glass’s Son Cameron Glass, renowned cellist Rubin Kodheli, Scorchio Quartet and Tenzin Choegyal. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman and Arden Wohl served as honorary chairs.
The festivities continued late into the night as the performing artists, VIPs and Tibet House supporters enjoyed the elegant post-concert gala at Ziegfeld Ballroom…a perfect end to one of the longest-running and most acclaimed live cultural events in NYC. Proceeds went to support the work of Tibet House US as they forge ahead with their mission to protect, preserve and empower the unique Tibetan culture.