'98's Best: Tibet Report #29: Concert Closes On A High Note

Artists and fans reflect on two days of music and consciousness-raising in Washington, D.C.

[Editor's note: Over the holiday season, SonicNet is looking back at

1998's top stories, chosen by our editors and writers. This story originally ran on Sunday, June 14.]

WASHINGTON -- The stadium is practically empty.

The parking lot is a bustle. The energy is still palpable.

In the artists' compound behind RFK Stadium, the mood is ebullient, if

not contemplative.

A day earlier, it appeared that the Tibetan Freedom Concert had

short-circuited, after several fans were struck by lightning and a storm ended

the first day early. But after the Red Hot Chili Peppers' surprise set

ends the event with a bang, artists and concert organizers are soaking

it all in.

Gobalee/Porno for Pyros/ex-Jane's Addiction leader Perry Farrell is chatting it

up with Peppers bassist Flea. Eddie Vedder and his Pearl Jam comrads look

tired but satisfied. "I'm out of here," says Vedder, as he leaves the group's

tent and, surrounded by an entourage of nearly a dozen people, heads for

the parking lot.

PJ drummer Matt Cameron, formerly of Soundgarden, says he's had "fun"

and learned plenty about the Tibetan people and their struggle. "I'm

down with the cause," he adds.

A little earlier, Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, towering over

most of the other VIPs, didn't seem to know what he thought of his

group's set. "It sped by so fast," he says.

Emerging from a tent, rapper Wyclef Jean spots Sean Lennon and, as he

gives him a hug, says, "Shit, man, it's you! How you doin'?"

"Yeah, there's a definite feeling back here," says R.E.M.'s Michael

Stipe, referring to the camaraderie among artists who, when not onstage,

spent the afternoon either watching each other perform or talking with

each other in the artists' compound. Also pacing backstage is Radiohead

singer Thom Yorke, who did two duets with Stipe earlier.

Hit rap and rock producer Rick Rubin rushes by.

Out in the crowd, the fans are still reeling.

"It was definitely the best concert I've ever seen," says 16-year-old

Lacey Auerback.

All in all, 65,000 fans head home after an incredible day of music that

included performances by Radiohead, Buffalo Daughter, Sean Lennon, Pulp,

Sonic Youth, Blues Traveler, the Wallflowers, Luscious Jackson, A Tribe

Called Quest, the Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam and R.E.M.

"Other than the Beastie Boys and A Tribe Called Quest, the highlight for

me was the monk ritual," says Shawn Morrissey, 24, of New Jersey. "All

I've ever learned about Tibet has been through MCA [Adam Yauch] and

[Yauch's band] Beastie Boys. I really wish I could be at the rally tomorrow, but I

have to work in New York City."

"It's a benefit concert -- people should understand that they're only

going to get so much," says Matthews Landis, 19, of Baltimore. "The

bands obviously went out of their way to give as much as they could."