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Tibet Benefit Concert: Iggy Pop, Patti Smith Rock Out at Cargenie Hall

March 2, 2010

The Wall Street Journal
February 28, 2010

Performances by Iggy Pop, Patti Smith and Gogol
Bordello brought the crowd at Carnegie Hall to
its feet on Friday night, as the musicians took
part in the 20th annual Tibet House benefit.

The concerts, whose musical acts are organized by
composer and Tibet House Vice President Philip
Glass, are scheduled to coincide with the Tibetan
New Year and bring in anywhere from $100,000 to
$250,00 for the nonprofit group every year.

The evening began with chanting from several
Drepung Gomang Monastery monks, followed by
comments from Glass about the difficulty in
finalizing a final roster of performers every
year given all the participants’ busy schedules.
Next, Robert A. F. Thurman, the president and one
of the co-founders Tibet House, likened the
Tibetan people to the Na’vi, the blue, cat-like
aliens featured in James Cameron’s sci-fi film
"Avatar." He noted that both groups of
individuals deserved and needed saving, and
repeated the film’s catch phrase “I see you” for double effect.

Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew kicked off the
evening’s musical performances, and were followed
by Glass on the piano, the Irish songwriter
Pierce Turner, the Scorchio String Quartet,
Regina Spektor, and Tenzin Kunsel, a Tibetan
refugee who moved to the United States in 2003 as an 8-year-old.

The highlights of the evening were the musicians
who brought the audience to its feet and got them
dancing in the aisles. Gypsy punk band Gogol
Bordello’s electrifying performance elicited
shrieks from the audience, many of whom began
running down the Carnegie Hall aisles to crowd
the stage area at lead singer Eugene Hutz’s feet.
He ended the set by proclaiming, "Beautiful house, beautiful cause."

The crowd was also energized by Patti Smith’s
songs, starting with a cover of the O’Jay’s "Love
Train" and ending on her hit "Gloria.' Smith
later introduced "sacred veteran" and 2010 Rock &
Roll Hall of Fame inductee (with the Stooges)
Iggy Pop, who immediately launched into “The
Passenger" and yes, relieved himself of his
shirt. He also dove off the stage and crowd
surfed for a bit -- not a frequent occurrence at Carnegie Hall, we’re guessing.

The benefit ended with all of the night’s
performers reappearing on stage to perform
Smith’s "People Have the Power" -- an appropriate
song to close out any concert with a cause. Said
Smith, "All cultures deserve to be remembered."
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