Fighting for Tibet's right to freedom
Adam Yauch has achieved fame and fortune with his group, the Beastie Boys for several years.
Recently, he has done much more. The Beastie Boys, largely under the direction of Yauch, have started an annual summer festival calledthe Tibetan Freedom Concert (TFC). Yauch, who converted to the Tibetan religion a couple years ago, wanted to raise awareness and money in order to help make Tibet a country free from Chinese oppression.
The last three summers have had San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C. as home to TFC. This year, Yauch and the Beastie Boys decided to try something new, however. Instead of having one large two to three day festival, they decided to have four concerts, simultaneously, around the world on June 13. Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam and Chicago were the hosts of TFC this summer.
The Chicago TFC was actually held in East Troy, Wisc., at the Alpine Valley Music Theater and included a lineup consisting of Otis Rush, The Roots, Blondie, the Cult, Traci Chapman, Live, Eddie Vedder, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. Rage Against the Machine, originally scheduled to play in Amsterdam, was a last-second addition after Outkast bowed out.
Lasting much of the day, an early highlight was the performance by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, who was backed by two members of the Olympia, Wash., band, C Average. Sporting shorter, blond hair, Vedder did his best to rock the house, playing versions of "Last Kiss," "Better Man" and "I Am A Patriot," in addition to covers of The Police's "Driven To Tears" and the Talking Heads' "Love->Building on Fire."
Live's setlist included popular hits from its albums Throwing Copper and Secret Samadhi, including "Selling the Drama," "I Alone" and "Lakini's Juice." Their most notable song was "Lightning Crashes."
The first headliner to take the stage was Rage Against the Machine. When Rage took the stage, drinks went flying and the crowd in the lawn separated to open up for the mosh pits. Luckily, it had rained all morning, so there was mud everywhere.
Zach de la Rocha woke everyone up and had everyone slamming to songs such as "Killing in the Name Of," "Ghost of Tom Jones," "Bulls on Parade," "Bullet in the Head" and "Bombtrack."
Run DMC, one of the fathers of modern rap, took the stage next. The group was asked to join the TFC lineup because the Beastie Boys have a lot of respect for the rap group. Run DMC helped the B-Boys throughout the '80s during the time the three white boys from Brooklyn were trying to break rap's color barrier.
Run DMC played some of their popular songs from the '80s — "Mary, Mary," "Walk This Way" and "It's Tricky." Run DMC worked the crowd, giving shout-outs and preparing the audience for what everyone there had been waiting for — the Beastie Boys.
However, the crowd at Alpine Valley did not have as much respect for Run DMC as the Beasties have. The rappers tried their hardest to get the crowd hyped, but many people were just anxious to see the Beastie Boys take the stage.
Taking the stage and starting out with "Body Movin'," Ad Rock, MCA and Mike D were dancing from one end of the stage to the other. The crowd was louder during the Beastie Boys performance than it had been all day.
After their opener, they stayed with their popular Hello Nasty songs like "Three MC's and One DJ," "Super Disco Breakin'," "Remote Control" and the party favorite, "Intergalactic." Surprisingly, they played only a few old songs, but chose some of their best — "So Watcha Want" and "Sure Shot."
Ad Rock, sporting an old New York Knicks T-shirt, came to the mic to tell the crowd about what the Beasties have been up to lately. MCA, a.k.a. Adam Yauch, thanked the crowd for its support of the Tibetan people's quest for freedom. In addition, the group thanked every act for playing that day (all the performers played for free) and for keeping the annual festival alive.
Yauch stressed that the Communist government of China has oppressed the people of Tibet for too long and that everyone can help Tibet win its freedom.
With everyone worked up, screaming and yelling, waiting for something big to happen, Mike D sat down at the drums, MCA grabbed his bass guitar, Ad Rock grabbed his guitar and said, "This one is for the Chinese Government." With that, "Sabotage" thundered through the air of East Troy, Wisc.
The festival was a complete success, raising awareness in addition to thousands of dollars for the Tibetan people. No matter the cause, the age or the race, the people of today have found many ways to get together, have a good time and help those that are in need of help.
All Scene Stories for Tuesday, September 7, 1999