I decided last week I wanted to go, so I went up to the box office at lunchtime. I realized sometime last year that now that I know so much about the music options I don't branch out and try as many new ones. I learned by going to whatever looked like it might have potential. Then, as I got to know people, I'd ask around and get more recommendations. I still do that, but not nearly as much now that I know so much. So, I saw this show as a good opportunity to check out some artists I probably wouldn't choose to see otherwise. I was especially intrigued by Vampire Weekend, and that was how I made the decision to get the ticket.
It was a great show and good to get to something completely different from my "usual". Philip Glass told us how this annual benefit comes together. They book the performers and when it gets closer, he gets some kind of idea of how it will go. Then, the day before everyone gets together and the producers get out of the way and let the magic happen. Over the course of about 5 hours they organically decide who is going to play what and when. They run through it once the day of, break for dinner, and voila, we have a benefit show.
The monks started us off with a blessing. At first just vocals and then they played some interesting looking horns and percussion. The instrument part sounded somewhat melancholy.
Next came Antibalas to lay down some afrobeat grooves. They did 1 or 2 songs and then were joined by Angelique Kidjo. They did "Gimme Shelter" in their own way.
Then everyone left except Angelique and she was joined by an excellent guitar player. It was a beautiful piece.
Next those 2 were joined by Keb' Mo' for another great piece. I was even more impressed with that guitar player for this one, and I loved him in the previous.
Then, a whole new band. Zack Glass with the Patti Smith Band (no Patti yet) doing 2 Zack originals. I enjoyed these soulful songs. For the 2nd song, Phil Glass played piano and another guy played flute.
Then it was 2 Vampire Weekend songs. This was a good way for me to get an idea, they were joined by a string quartet and 2 percussionists from Antibalas. I enjoyed it a lot. I don't think I need to go out of my way to see them again, but I did like this special thing.
By now I know I can mainly characterize the show as "mellow music that keeps you engaged". It was definitely different from my "usual".
The next piece was awesome. I think he said it was called "Prasaad", or something like that. It was Philip Glass, the string quartet, and 2 soprano saxes. One of them was the flute guy from an earlier piece. This was probably my favorite piece of the night. It was really beautiful.
Next came 2 songs by The National. I never heard of them before. They did 2 new songs.
Next was this solo guy with a Tibetan guitar and a nice voice. After that he switched to a regular guitar and was joined by keyboards, drums. A shaker/percussionist, electric bass and a string quartet.
Next up was Patti Smith and her daughter Jesse. Patti read 2 poems and Jesse accompanied her on piano.
Then there were 2 Keb' Mo' pieces with different people. They were very soulful.
Then we had Steve Earle. I think he did a solo for the first tune and then the Patti Smith Band joined him for the 2nd tune.
After that we got a rock medley by the Patti Smith Band to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the day the music died. They were then joined by Patti for "Not Fade Away". Then they did another familiar tune I can't remember.
There was 1 final song with everybody up on stage. It brought into perspective just how big that stage is.
I enjoyed it and I'm glad I went. Its good to get out out of my usual genres every now and then.