Alabama Shakes, Iggy Pop, Ben Harper, Sufjan Stevens and More Celebrate Philip Glass’ 80th Birthday at Tibet House Benefit
Last night, New York’s Tibet House US held its annual benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, bringing together the likes of Alabama Shakes, Iggy Pop, Ben Harper, Sufjan Stevens, Patti Smith, New Order and more, along with event organizer Philip Glass, who was also celebrating his 80th birthday, which took placer earlier this year. The night also honored the 30th anniversary of Tibet House US.
The evening kicked off with traditional chants from the Tibetan monks on hand, along with remarks from Glass and Robert Thurman, who both co-founded Tibet House US in 1987 along with Richard Gere. Thurman’s daughter Uma was also an honorary chair for the celebration last night. The music then began with a regular at the event, Laurie Anderson, who was joined by Glass. Glass’ son Zack then took the stage before Alabama Shakes came out to play their tunes “Gimme All Your Love,” “Over My Head” and “Sound & Color,” the latter two featuring Glass on piano.
Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal and Patti Smith’s daughter Jesse Paris Smith then played a couple of songs, followed by Ben Harper’s two-song performance, including backing strings from house band Scorchio Quartet and a sit in from Harper’s daughter Harris. Iggy Pop, another yearly regular at the benefit, then came out with New Order’s Bernard Sumner for “Stray Dog,” a spoken-word track off New Order’s 2015 album Music Complete that was conceived after the band collaborated with Pop at the same benefit in 2014. Other latter-day New Order members Phil Cunningham and Tom Chapman later emerged for Pop’s “Shades,” at Sumner’s request, and Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control,” at Pop’s request. (New Order grew out of the wake of Joy Division after the suicide of singer Ian Curtis.)
The music continued with Sufjan Stevens, who was joined by the Patti Smith Band and more for an avant-classical rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” highlighting what proved to be a distinct political feel to the night’s performances and speakers, which also included a surprise appearance from ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero during the opening remarks. Stevens then played his own “Happy Birthday Song” in honor of Glass’ 80th.
The night concluded with a short set from Patti Smith, who has been a longtime supporter of Tibet House US and familiar face at the annual benefit concerts. Smith started off with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” with her and and her son Jackson, who sat in with her for all three songs, ending with a all-inclusive finale of “People Have the Power” that featured all of the night’s performers onstage together. Watch a clip of that final performance below via Consequence of Sound.