On Wednesday night (Feb. 17), the 34th Annual Tibet House Benefit Concert went completely virtual. Philip Glass curated the evening’s music that consisted of Eddie Vedder, Annie Lennox, Black Pumas, Cage the Elephant, Flaming Lips, Phoebe Bridgers, Brittany Howard, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Valerie June, Angélique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Chocolate Genius Inc., Tessa Thompson, Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith, Rubin Kodheli and Saori Tsukada.
The annual benefit concert usually happens at Carnegie Hall moved to online this year thanks to Mandolin — a new livestreamer. Mandolin was the show’s partner, promoter and platform and they kept the good vibes flowing outside of the music with the use of a “positive vibes” message in the chat and fun emoji reactions. Mandolin’s ability to bring a high-quality livestream like this also increased the Tibet House’s audience. It opened the laid-back benefit to a new set of eyes — including mine.
There were moments of the night perfect for quiet reflection, there was poetry and there was a ton of incredible music. Black Pumas performed their Grammy-nominated “Colors,” Howard serenaded us with not one, but two groove-inducing songs and Lennox slowed things down for a few songs (including “Here Comes the Rain Again”) at her piano. The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne introduced his band’s “space bubble” shows before giving us all a look at what it’s like to be in a bubble for a concert (spoiler alert: it’s pretty damn cool). June sat on the floor for a moving acoustic performance of “Landslide” and Cage the Elephant brought us back with “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” There were also moving performances from Bridgers, Vedder and Smith. And that’s just to name a few.
Towards the end of the evening, there was even a special video message from the 14th Dalai Lama.
Proceeds from the virtual Tibet House Concert benefit the Tibet House, which “was founded at the request of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who at the inauguration in 1987 stated his wish for a long-term cultural institution to ensure the survival of Tibetan civilization and culture, whatever the political destiny of the six million people of Tibet itself.”