The Tibet House US Benefit also featured performances from The National, Iggy Pop and Patti Smith
The occasion was to celebrate the Tibetan Year Of The Wood Horse and raise awareness of human rights issues and also featured performances by The National and Patti Smith. Scroll up to see New Order and Iggy Pop cover ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ now.
Curated by composer Philip Glass – who took to the stage before each act to introduce them – the evening began with traditional chanting by Tibetan monks before steel pedal guitarist Robert Randolph performed two songs to the seated audience.
Three fifths of The National – Matt Berninger plus Aaron and Bryce Dressner, then took to the stage, accompanied by Sufjan Stevens (on piano initially), a trombonist and the Scorchio String quartet, who have been involved with the Tibet House benefit shows since 2001, and who accompanied all of the acts performing. The band played sparse versions of ‘I Need My Girl’, ‘This Is The Last Time’ and ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’ before Stevens, Bryce Dressner and pianist Nico Muhly performed two songs from their experimental Planetarium collaboration.
Glass then performed one piece with Muhly and two with violinist Tim Fain, while Tibetan folk singer Techung played three of his songs.
New Order took to the stage next, and with Glass on piano they accompanied Manchester poet Mike Garry as he recited ‘St Anthony’, his tribute to Factory Records owner Tony Wilson. After that, Iggy Pop – dressed in a suit, albeit without a shirt – shared vocal duties with Bernard Sumner on new New Order rarity ‘Californian Grass’, before launching into versions of Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’.
New Order left the stage, but Iggy Pop stayed on, running through ‘Sister Midnight’ and ‘Nightclubbing’ with Patti Smith’s band and the string quartet. He then performed a lyrical version of Philip Glass’ ‘Mishima – November 25th’, a tribute to Japanese playwright, poet, director and author Yukio Mishima, who ended his life by ritual suicide on that date in 1970.
It was then the turn of Patti Smith to take centre stage. She began with a version of the late Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’, before her daughter joined her on piano for a reading of the Ted Hughes poem New Foal. After that, Smith and her band played ‘Land’ and ‘Gloria’.
The finale saw all of the evening’s performers, including Tibetan monks, gathered together onstage for a rendition of Smith’s ‘People Have The Power’. As the song reached its climax, Smith took both Iggy Pop and Philip Glass by the hand and guided the crowd in a rousing singalong.