I am standing by a snack table covered in plates of fruit and cubed cheese in a room of about 35 people. The Flaming Lips is before me running through takes of “Do You Realize??,” and Wayne Coyne has paused to remind drummer Kliph Scurlock not to forget to strike the “bell of doom” at the song’s opening. Tibetan monks, donning their traditional red-and-yellow robes, are clustered against the back wall. And composer Philip Glass is next to me, pouring himself a cup of coffee from a Dunkin’ Donuts Box O’Joe.
It might sound like I was sipping from the Kool-Aid, but this surreal scene actually occurred yesterday at SIR New York in Chelsea, where Oklahoma City’s beloved psych-rockers The Flaming Lips were rehearsing for tonight’s 21st annual Tibet House US benefit concert. Glass once again serves as curator for the event, whose proceeds this year benefit the local Tibetan Community Of New York And New Jersey and the Batonga Foundation, in addition to Tibet House US.
The Roots, Michael Stipe, Angelique Kidjo, Patti Smith, Taj Mahal and others will join the Lips tonight in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. Those interested in catching the show—and supporting the cause—can still snag tickets on Carnegie Hall’s website.