Billboard Bits: McCartney/Harrison, Tibet House, Giant Sand
News on McCartney/Harrison, Tibet House, Giant SandPaul McCartney dedicated an a cappella rendition of "Yesterday" to his former Beatles bandmate George Harrison during a tribute concert at Liverpool, England's Empire Theater last night (Feb. 24). Before the show, McCartney remembered the bandmate he met as a teen-ager riding the bus to school. "We go way back," McCartney said. "We both used to live in Speke and he used to get on the bus one stop after me. We used to have a half an hour on the bus to talk about guitars and music and stuff like that.
"He was a lovely bloke. He gave a lot to the world -- his music and his spirituality. He was always a very strong man. I think he would be delighted with this," McCartney added.
Money raised by the concert, attended by 2,300 Beatles fans, will go to cancer charities. Organized by the Liverpool City Council and the BBC, the show included a performance by Beatles' contemporaries Gerry and the Pacemakers and other Liverpool musicians. The concert was staged on the day Harrison would have celebrated as his 59th birthday, though official records list his birth date as Feb. 25.
The youngest of the Fab Four, Harrison died of cancer Nov. 29.
David Bowie, Kinks principal Ray Davies, Patti Smith, and Beastie Boys bassist Adam Yauch were among the artists who performed Friday at New York's Carnegie Hall for the 14th annual Tibet House Benefit. Bowie took the opportunity to unveil a new song, "I Would Be Your Slave," in addition to performing his classic "Space Oddity" with backing by the Kronos Quartet, pianist Philip Glass, and Yauch on bass.
The evening featured its usual gaggle of collaborations, including Brazilian vocalist Bebel Gilberto and Davies on the latter's "No Return," and Davies with Smith's backing band on the Kinks' "Celluloid Heroes" and "All Day and All of the Night." Smith brought the show to a close with a strong run through "Boy Cried Wolf" and "Gloria," the latter from her 1975 debut album, "Horses." Chocolate Genius, flautist Nawang Khechog, and Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery also performed.
In standard fashion, the event concluded with the full company performing Smith's "People Have the Power," with Bowie and Davies sharing a microphone and Yauch bringing his young daughter onstage to join in on the fun. Proceeds from the event benefit the New York-based Tibet House, which is dedicated to the preservation of Tibet's cultural and spiritual heritage.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Veteran underground rock outfit Giant Sand got some help from a star-studded crew of musical friends Friday night at New York's intimate Joe's Pub. During the first segment, the Howe Gelb-led combo ran through several tunes from its upcoming Thrill Jockey set "Cover Magazine," including "Blue Marble Girl," along with an idiosyncratic medley of Johnny Cash's "Wayfaring Stranger" and the standard "Fly Me to the Moon."
Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando played solo acoustic versions of "Frying Pan," "Favorite T," and "Outdoor Type," all of which he recorded with the Lemonheads, and was backed by Giant Sand for such new songs as "Why Do You Do This to Yourself?" and "In The Grass, All Wine Colored." Lambchop frontman Kurt Wagner and wheelchair-bound singer/songwriter Vic Chesnutt appeared on the crowded stage for a four-song interlude, including Chesnutt's hilarious "Girls Say," Lambchop's "My Blue Wave," and a duet on Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson's "Good Hearted Woman."
The show wound down with a surprise appearance by singer/songwriter John Wesley Harding, and a bizarre medley of "America the Beautiful" and X's "Johnny Hit and Run Pauline." The latter track is featured on "Cover Magazine," due March 19. A spring tour begins March 27 in the group's Tucson, Ariz., hometown.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
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