Flashback: R.E.M. and Thom Yorke Duet at the Tibetan Freedom Concert - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: R.E.M. and Thom Yorke Duet at the Tibetan Freedom Concert

Yorke filled in for Patti Smith on ‘E-Bow the Letter’

The 1998 Tibetan Freedom Concert at Washington DC’s RFK Stadium didn’t exactly go as planned. The first day was cut short due to a torrential downpour after sets by the Dave Matthews Band, Sean Lennon, Buffalo Daughter, KRS-One and a reunion of Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters. A fan was struck by lightning during Hancock’s set (not long after Live played “Lightning Crashes”), and Beck, Kraftwerk and Patti Smith were unable to reschedule for the following day.

100 Greatest Singers: Thom Yorke

Organizers squeezed as many acts as possible into day two, which featured mini sets by the Beastie Boys, Radiohead, A Tribe Called Quest, Pearl Jam, Sonic Youth, Pulp and Wyclef Jean, as well as R.E.M.‘s first performance since Bill Berry left the group and the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ first show following the return of John Frusciante. Patti Smith was originally supposed to sing “E-Bow the Letter” with R.E.M. on day one, but when she couldn’t stay, Thom Yorke stepped in. It was an incredible, one-time-only moment. 

In This Article: R.E.M., Radiohead


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