06 April 2009

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunite, part 2


Change Begins Within" Benefit @ Radio City Music Hall, 4.4.09

Bettye LaVette

When Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunite at a show, it’s kind of hard to pay attention to anything else. But there were lots of other great performances at the star-studded “Change Begins Within” benefit at Radio City Music Hall last night. (The crowd -- which included Jennifer Aniston, David Arquette, Michael J. Fox, Matthew Broderick, and Jason Bateman, as well as Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison -- was a star-studded as those on stage.) Luckily, the benefit for the David Lynch Foundation, which plans to use the funds to bring Transcendental Meditation techniques to one million children around the world, was filmed for a future special.

Here’s some of the best non-Beatle moments:

10. Moby with TM Kids Choir, “We Are All Made of Stars”: Moby’s dreamy electro-pop gets punctuated with fun bits of youthful excitement to make the song feel even lighter.

9. Donovan with Sheryl Crow and Moby, “Season of the Witch”: The connection between Donovan, who heads the musical wing of the David Lynch Foundation, was already strong, but once he and Crow started grooving together, it became truly memorable.

8. Sheryl Crow with Ben Harper, “My Sweet Lord”: A touching tribute to the late George Harrison combined Crow’s uplifting vocals with Harper’s elegant guitar playing.

7. Mike Love offers hope: The Beach Boy says he was inspired by his meeting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi because the idea of world peace “got to me – my head and my heart.” He said David Lynch’s idea of bringing meditation to the world’s children means “The Age of Enlightenment is rapidly approaching.”

6. Bettye LaVette with Moby, “As Close As I’ll Get to Heaven”: LaVette’s bluesy take served as a counterpoint to much of the evening, showing how surviving pain makes peace feel so much better.

5. David Lynch and Laura Dern keep calm: It’s a difficult job maintaining a crowd’s composure during such an anticipated event, but Lynch and Dern, who served as the hosts and the center of the show entertained and informed in their little breaks while the crews prepared the stage for the evening’s performers.

4. Howard Stern gets personal: Stern, who credits Transcendental Meditation with saving his mother’s life and who has meditated for 38 years, revealed his personal connection to the Maharishi and explained how surprised he was when the Maharishi asked Stern to interview him. “Do you not know who I am?” he recalled, adding that he brought his mother to the interview to explain how seeing him explain meditation on “The Tonight Show” brought her peace. The touching meeting still didn’t stop Stern from asking the Maharishi, “So, what about sex?”

3. Eddie Vedder, “Arc”: The Pearl Jam frontman’s set just kept getting stronger, from “Far Behind” to “Rise” to the amazing “Arc,” which Vedder created onstage a capella, looping his vocals and then harmonizing with the loops before building it into a stormy, rocking primal scream.

2. Jerry Seinfeld talks about relaxation: After discussing how he has meditated for 37 years, Seinfeld rolled into how Americans need to relax so much they’ve built cupholders into their armrests so they don’t even have to grip any more. He kept going with the theme – right into the rest room – and the automatic urinals and no-handle sinks, though he rightly observed that the sinks aren’t quite as good at detections. “Hey toilet, aren’t you two working together?” he said. “Tell him, it’s me.”

1. Ben Harper and Eddie Vedder, “Under Pressure”: Harper and Vedder recreated the stylish tension of the Queen and David Bowie original, but added their own passion and a fire that raised it to a new level. “This is kind of an experiment,” Vedder said, introducing the song. Well, it absolutely worked.

PHOTO: Bettye LaVette sings “Natural Blues” at “Change Begins Within” benefit, from David Lynch Foundation.

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