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Tibetan Concert Lineup Revealed
April 16, 1999
Adam Yauch, Sean Lennon to help make announcement Friday; shows to be held on four continents.
Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys and rock singer Sean Lennon will help announce the lineup for this year's Tibetan Freedom Concert during a press conference Friday morning (April 16) in New York. The event, held previous years in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., will expand this year to venues on four continents. No artists have been confirmed for the concerts except the Beastie Boys -- whose Adam Yauch is one of the show's organizers -- who have performed every year since the Tibetan Freedom Concert's debut in 1996. The group will perform in Chicago. The 1999 concerts will take place June 12-13 in Chicago; Tokyo; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Sydney, Australia.
Joining Yauch and Lennon at the 11:30 a.m. EDT press conference will be representatives of the Milarepa Fund -- the San Francisco-based Tibetan advocacy organization the concert benefits -- and other activists working to free Tibet from Chinese rule, said Perry Serpa, a publicist for both artists and for the concert. Lennon performed songs such as "Spaceship" during last year's Tibetan Freedom Concert at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The lineup also included Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Wyclef Jean, the Wallflowers and the Dave Matthews Band. The event raised $1.3 million for the Milarepa Fund and culminated with a rally on Capitol Hill urging President Clinton to push for Tibet's I ndependence.
The first day of last year's event was cut short after a concert-goer was struck by lightning. Serpa was tight-lipped Thursday about the 1999 lineup, saying no performers other than the Beasties would be revealed before Friday.
Two bands that won't be playing are R.E.M. and Sonic Youth. Both played last year. R.E.M. manager Bertis Downs said the Tibet shows come too close to the beginning of R.E.M.'s world tour, which begins June 17 in Lisbon, Portugal. "It just didn't work out this year," he said. Although Sonic Youth bassist Lee Renaldo said in January his band was discussing the possibility of playing the show in Tokyo, drummer Steve Shelley said Thursday the band will not perform. "There was another commitment happening," said Shelley, who did not elaborate.
Yauch has said he intends to continue staging concerts until China's occupation of Tibet ends. And organizers have said they're expanding the show this year in the hope of affecting policy in other countries. "The decision to take the concert international is in response to a lack of
action on behalf of the U.S. government," a Milarepa Fund representative said in a statement dated Jan. 20.
Serpa said the Milarepa Fund has not made contact yet with the governments of Japan, Australia or the Netherlands. But, he said, "The promoters are all amped to be putting on these shows."
Sonic Youth, initially comprising of guitarist / vocalists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, guitarist / bassist / vocalist Kim Gordon and drummer Richard Edson, were formed in New York City in 1981. A product of the No-Wave music scene of the late 1970s, the group had their roots in abrasive, experimental music, with Moore and Ranaldo having previously worked with the experimental composer Glenn Branca. The band were joined in 1985 by drummer Steve Shelley, and have now recorded 14 albums together, as well as many side and solo projects. Their work has been consistently challenging and innovative, and they are widely regarded as one of the most intriguing and influential bands of their time.
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