Tibetan Freedom Concert

Tibetan Freedom Concert

Various Artists

Grand Royal/Capitol

It’s sad that most of today’s youth lacks a focusing point. Thirty years ago, entire summers were planned around attending protests and demonstrations. Today, we worry about scraping up enough money to attend a corporate-sponsored festival and still have some left over to purchase $3 bottles of water and $4 slices of pizza.

The second Tibetan Freedom Concert, which took place this summer in New York, is a notable exception to this trend. Organized to raise funds and awareness for Tibet’s plight under Chines occupation, this event assembled a star-studded cast in a way no promoter could have: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Rancid, Björk, Pavement, Taj Mahal, Foo Fighters, Ben Harper, Patti Smith, Biz Markie, the Beastie Boys, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, many more… a stellar lineup united not by a marketer’s idea of diversity but by a common desire.

Two of the discs in this three-disc set document that concert; the third contains more spontaneous recordings of last year’s event, in San Francisco, and a well-made multimedia portion containing information on Tibet and the two Tibetan Freedom Concerts. Overall, the music on the disc ranges from good to great. The information presented, from both the disc and the enclosed booklet, is a comprehensive introduction to the problem at hand, and an excellent starting point for action.

Conveniently enough, this disc has come out around Christmas time, and I can think of no better general-purpose music gift at this moment. Unless your recipient has very obscure and well-defined tastes (or supports China’s occupation of Tibet), it’ll be hard to miss with this lavish package.

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