"Free Tibet" is often given as a cliched protest call, but the nation is still unwillingly under the authority of China, and the Tibet House benefit concerts will continue until it isn't. The 24th rendition of the show occurred at Carnegie Hall in New York Tuesday night, and the crowd got an A-list set of performances.
Robert Randolph played with members of the Patti Smith Group following an invocation from the Drepung Gomang Monks, a Buddhist enclave based in India. Several members of The National performed next, joined by surprise attendee Surfjan Stevens. The latter performer joined Nico Muhly and Bryce Dessner to perform a few tracks from their Planetarium project.
The Tibet House performances have typically included classical performances as well, and Tuesday was no different, with Philip Glass and violinist Tim Fain performing works from Steve Reich. That pairing was followed by Tibetan folk musician Techung.
New Order was reported to be performing, but act only featured guitarist and vocalist Bernard Sumner. Patti Smith group drummer Jay Dee Daugherty joined him, and Glass handled the piano. Iggy Pop would later come on to perform vocals. The collective opened with "Your Silent Face" (a tribute to Factory Records founder Tony Allen), and Pop came on for the newer track "California Glass."
The audience, which had been tame for most of the night (as is generally the case for Carnegie) went nuts for "Transmission," Joy Division's first single (Joy Division became New Order following the suicide of vocalist Ian Curtis), leaving their seats and crowding the front of the stage. That excitement only amplified further as the band launched into "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
Pop got his own spotlight moment, performing "Sister Midnight" and "Nightclubbing." A fact lost on much of the crowd was that both tracks were from the 1977 album The Idiot, which Curtis was playing at his home when he committed suicide. We hope it was an unfortunate coincidence.
The night ended as it always has, with all of the night's acts singing "People Have The Power," a 1988 Smith single.