The annual Tibet House benefit at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Wednesday night included unforgettable performances by Laurie Anderson, Phoebe Bridgers, Matt Berninger of the National, Tibetan musician Tenzin Choegyal, Bettye LaVette, Killing Eve actress Sandra Oh and Margo Price. But things kicked into a whole new gear when the night wrapped up with Tibet House regulars Iggy Pop and Patti Smith.
Iggy played “We Are the People” (written by Lou Reed) alongside Laurie Anderson from his new LP Free before ripping off his sports coat and breaking into the 1969 Stooges classic “I Wanna Be Your Dog” accompanied only by string musicians. He didn’t stage dive as he did at the 2010 Tibet House show, but it was still a completely unique take on the proto-punk classic.
Smith came out next and reminisced about the final days of Allen Ginsberg’s life, which inspired her 1997 song “Don’t Say Nothing.” She hadn’t played it live since 2011, but she broke it out for this special occasion. Prior to that, she performed her Kurt Cobain-inspired song “About a Boy” that she dedicated to the late Nirvana frontman. It was her first time playing it since 2014.
As always, she wrapped up the evening by playing her 1988 anthem “People Have the Power” with every performer from the evening. There’s no video up yet of the Iggy set, but someone taped all three Patti Smith songs. Notice how Iggy and Bettye LaVette are gleefully sharing a single mic alongside Philip Glass and how thrilled Bridgers is to be sharing the stage with Smith. It was one of the most joyous performances of the song in recent memory.
Patti Smith has a busy concert schedule over the next few months with extensive tours of Australia and Europe on the books along with scattered shows across North America. Nothing is booked around her hometown of New York, but odds are very high she’ll be back at Carnegie Hall in 2021 for the next Tibet House show.