Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Isaac & I Love Charity Benefit Concerts

Isaac and I are heading to Dark was the Night at Radio City in the beginning of May.  If you haven't checked out the AIDS charity comp, grab it and it was cheaper on Amazon when I bought, FYI.  I jumped in bed last night when I saw that Bon Iver has been added to the bill, but it was too late to call anyone and cheer about it.  My favorite Yeasayer track is at the bottom of this post, too--I LOVE singing this song on my drives.  

We often talk about my fears of someday being too old for concerts (thankfully that wasn't on Ted's Murtaugh list), especially after meeting the 41 year old at a show.  So someday, Isaac and I will have to switch from charity indie concerts to charity operas.  

We hit the Tibet House Benefit a few months ago when I flew back into town from the Super Bowl.  I guess I was too tired to say anything about it then, but I recently found the two new songs that The National played at the show and I cannot stop playing the first one, Runaway.  It's at the bottom, too, but first a quick recap:

Isaac was stuck for a few hours on a train into the city that didn't have any power.  He made it just in time for Phil Glass's performance.

The show kicked off with an extended prayer chat from the Monks, involving a male elephant call through horns to bless the dharma.  The chant lasted longer than many in the audience expected and I heard many escaped giggles from the high seats.  It took me back to Basil Davis's theology class where we sang an entire class and my row didn't know what to do about it.  After the monks, Antibalas took the stage with a song about Obama, before Angelique joined them for a cover of Gimme Shelter.  She remained on stage for a song, before Keb Mo joined her for Send me Someone to Love.

Next up was Patti Smith's Band with Glass's son, I believe.  The adorable boys of Vampire Weekend then took the stage for a new song and M79, which Isaac was able to catch as he made his way to the nose bleed seats.  Phil Glass's Facade was a beautiful piece that made Isaac's train troubles worth it.  

The National then took the stage, playing two new songs.  Runaway is absolutely beautiful and I was still replaying it in my head a week later on my flight to Phoenix.  As feisty as I can be, I identified all too well with the passive aggressive style of the couple in the song.  Their next song seemed to be filled with almost too man instruments at once, but as I continue to listen to it a month later, Stonewall Jackson, has grown on me.  

A Tibetan artist next took the stage with a song about the miraculous possibilities of returning home.  Patti Smith and her daughter were next and it was her daughter's first performance for the long-running benefit.  Okay, I will say this...I kept thinking what a fantastic SNL skit it would be, with the daughter who is just trying to practice her piano lesson, while her poetic mother keeps finding lyrics to go along with it.  Next up was Keb Mo who admitted to writing a corny song after the presidential election.  

Steve Earle's performance was great--one that my dad would've really appreciated.  He did an acoustic solo and just the simple sound of his boots stomping along with the music added so much.  Patti Smith's band joined in on the chorus, providing a thunderous drumming.  The PS Band remained onstage with a tribute to the plane crash 50 years ago with the Big Bopper and Buddy Holly.  Chantilly Lace, Let's Go & Do It Again, Not Fade Away and Patti joined them for I'll be there.

And like all good benefits, it ended with a We are the World esque Sing-a-long.  These things are great for their awkwardness if Tommy and I are simply watching on YouTube 20some years after its been recorded, but it was WAY too much for me to handle inside a concert venue.  I kept muttering into Isaac's shoulder, oh god, I can't handle this.  It's embarrassing.  I'm embarrassed.  Look at The National, hiding in the back corner, oh god, I want to give them a big glass of wine to make this all better.  The Vampire Weekend kids obviously LOVED We Are the World, as they were front and center and could not get enough.  And with a African-pop sound, you know they are just itching to write their charity tribute sing a long fest :)

The National - Runaway
Yeasayer - Tightrope

Sorry-I'm out of bandwidth.  Email me if you're really interested in The National's live cut of Runaway or their live cut of Stonewall Jackson.  And if you're into Tightrope, buy the album please.  It's for a great charity!

No comments: