Seattle Rocks For Hunger Benefit

A marathon concert featuring R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and Mana last night (Oct. 22) capped off the Groundwork 2001 concert series in Seattle. Proceeds from the week-

A marathon concert featuring R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Alanis Morissette, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and Mana last night (Oct. 22) capped off the Groundwork 2001 concert series in Seattle. Proceeds from the week-long event -- estimated at $1 million by organizers -- will be used by the United States Committee for Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to contribute to the global TeleFood fund, which channels money directly to small-scale food-producing projects around the world.

Both R.E.M. and Pearl Jam had performed over the weekend at Neil Young's Bridge School benefit concerts outside San Francisco. For Pearl Jam, its 50-minute Groundwork set was the group's first hometown gig since its Binaural world tour ended here last November.

Although it seemed to take the group a few songs to lock in, by its performance of the 1998 single "Given to Fly," the hometown crowd was jumping up and down. Pearl Jam reprised "I Am Mine," a new song debuted the night before in San Francisco, carried by frontman Eddie Vedder's refrain: "there's no need to hide / we're safe tonight." Overall, the group focused on more recent fare, including "Insignificance," "Grievance," "Nothing As It Seems," and "Light Years" from "Binaural."

Pakistani vocalist Khan, who had flown 32 hours from his home as a last minute addition to the bill, joined the group for an extended version of "Long Road," his wordless wails filling the arena with an otherworldly air.

R.E.M.'s 15-song, 70-minute set began unpredictably with "Losing My Religion" before running through a series of more recent tracks, including "Daysleeper," "The Great Beyond," and "She Just Wants To Be." Prior to "So Fast, So Numb," frontman Michael Stipe sang a few lines of Morissette's "Thank U" and then led the whole band into a short run through Pearl Jam's "Better Man." The core of R.E.M.'s three original members -- Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, and bassist Mike Mills -- also offered a stripped down guitar-and-piano rendition of its breakthrough modern rock hit, "The One I Love."

And although the crowd had waned by the end of the set, R.E.M. brought things to a thundering conclusion with "It's the End of the World As We Know It," which led into a sing-a-long version of Patti Smith's "People Have the Power." Vedder ran onstage to sing backup vocals and pose with Stipe, both of them decked out in top hats.

Earlier, Morissette powered through an energetic, seven-song set of past hits ("All I Really Want," "You Learn"), more obscure album tracks ("Right Through You"), and a powerful new song, "Sister Blister."

Khan, introduced by Vedder as bearing a message of "peace, love, and hope for the world," immediately drew the crowd's attention with his astounding vocal prowess. Seated on the stage, Khan and his collective of several backing vocalists and musicians whipped up a potent percussive wall of sound.

Mexican rock outfit Mana put a charge into the show with a universally appealing sound that echoed the Police. The crowd went wild for "Corazon Espinado," which appeared as a collaboration on Santana's 1999 smash album "Supernatural."

Fresh off a support slot on Jane's Addiction's latest reunion tour, Afro-beat purveyor Femi Kuti and his band Positive Force got the evening off to an energetic start with thick grooves and politically charged lyrics.

The concert was hosted by actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Webcast on Groundwork2001.com.