The 8th annual Tibet House Benefit took place at New York City's Carnegie Hall on Monday night, and featured performances from R.E.M., Patti Smith, Phish's Trey Anastasio, Shawn Colvin, Philip Glass, Cibo Matto with Sean Lennon, Tibetan musician Nawang Khechog and Tibetan dance troupe Chaksam-Pa.A celebration of the Tibetan New Year, the evening was especially poignant, as March 10 will mark the fortieth anniversary of China's military invasion of Tibet. But aside from some rabid and occasionally rude Phish fans in attendance, the evening was, appropriately enough, transcendental. Cibo Matto kicked-off the musical portion of the evening with a four-song set that culminated with Shawn Colvin joining the group for a rather odd, off-key cover of Henry Mancini's "Moon River." Colvin remained onstage for her pair of tunes, and was accompanied by R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck for a take on Neil Finn's "Pirate Universe" and Colvin's own Buddhist-inspired "84,000 Different Delusions."
R.E.M. brought Patti Smith out to reprise their collaboration on "E-Bow the Letter" and a cover of Pearl Jam's "The Long Road," accompanied by Khechog on the Tibetan long horn. Philip Glass and Mike Mills shared the keys of a Steinway piano for a take on R.E.M.'s "At My Most Beautiful" with Colvin and Patti Smith's bassist, Tony Shanahan, providing back-up vocals.The band, which will launch a major tour of the U.S. this summer, apparently enjoyed shaking off some of its amplified cobwebs during the Tibet House show, with vocalist Michael Stipe noticing at one point, "Wow, who could have thought it? We're getting feedback at Carnegie Hall." Some Phish fans apparently believed that the Tibet House Benefit was actually an Anastasio solo gig, and the jam band frontman took a decidedly more meditative tone to his set than some in the audience were used to. In between the constant cheers of "Trey! Trey!" Anastasio rolled out quiet, acoustic-based versions of Phish's "Dirt," "Billy
Breathes" and "Brian & Robert," on which he was joined by Khechog and West African musician Foday Suso.Patti Smith debuted a new song at the show, entitled "Boy Cried Wolf," which alluded to the February 4 shooting of West African vendor Amadou Diallo, who was shot 19 times by four New York City police officers. And Smith had an appropriate response to those continuing to shout out "Trey!" by asking "Tray? Do you mean a tray of coldcuts?" The renowned singer then brought out all the evening's artists for a concert-ending rendition of her anthemic "People Have the Power.' Tibet House organizers estimate the event, which included a post-concert party, will bring in $125,000 to $150,000 for the Tibet House, which was founded to promote the preservation of Tibetan culture.