All-Star Sing-Alongs Abound at Tibet House Benefit in NYC

February 27, 2007 5:30 PM ET

As Ray Davies and Debbie Harry took the stage at last night's Tibet House benefit concert to lead the audience in an acoustic sing-along of "Lola," members of the rapt crowd exchanged incredulous glances, doubting that the evening could could get any fucking cooler.

And then it did.

Michael Stipe and Patti Smith — just two of the heavyweights on hand to celebrate Tibetan culture at Carnegie Hall's seventeenth annual shindig — launched into a rendition of "Everybody Hurts" that made everyone watching a little verklempt. But before anyone had time to wipe their eyes, Stipe unveiled "Chorus and the Ring," a never-been-played-live tune inspired by a chat he had with William Burroughs about Kurt Cobain. Don't you love it when pop culture comes full circle?

And so it went for two-and-a-half hours. One icon set the stage for the next — Harry introduced Davies as one of her "all-time idols" — and artists played stripped-down mini-sets that treated thirsty ears to killer one-off performances.

Highlights included Lou Reed's curmudgeonly grumble on the pissed-off "Ecstasy," Ben Harper — backed by a string quartet — belting out a mournful "Amen Omen" and Debbie Harry jamming on an unplugged "Heart of Glass." Also awesome: Patti Smith paying homage to George Harrison (who would have turned sixty-four on February 25th) with a slow-burning "Within You, Without You."

And then the motley crew of musicians stormed the stage for the finale, urging everyone out of their seats with Smith's "People Have the Power." No one dared to keep still.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories


Nelly Furtado with Timbaland | 2006

This club-oriented single featuring Timbaland, who produced Nelly Furtado's third album, Loose, was Furtado’s sexy return after the Canadian singer's exploration of her Portuguese heritage on Folklore. "In the studio, initially I didn’t know if I could do it, 'cause Timbaland wrote that chorus," Furtado said. "I'm like, 'That's cool, but I don't know if I'm ready to do full-out club.'" The flirty lyrics are a dance between a guy and girl, each knowing they will end up in bed together but still playing the game. "Tim and I called it 'The BlackBerry Song,' she said, "because everything we say in the song you could text-message to somebody."

More Song Stories entries »