Tibetan Freedom Concert: June 16, 1996
San Francisco, CA - Golden Gate Park
featuring: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Sonic Youth, Beck, Bjork, Yoko Ono / Ima, De La Soul, Fugees, Buddy Guy, Skatalites

Notes: Here is part of a very long journal entry I wrote a few days after the show took place.

Sunday June 16

Started out cloudy and stayed cloudy. Which was actually a good thing because I definitely did not need to add to my sunburn. I parked myself in the same spot I was in the day before. Chaksam Pa and the monks and nuns started it out again as they had the day before. The show started around 11:30ish.

(RS) Buddy Guy: Okay yet again I'm trying to think of something to say about a performer I don't know too well. ;) He was good though...first song was one that he got the crowd to sing along with. Others were a little slower and more bluesy.

(BS) Yoko Ono/IMA: Oh. My. God. This was rather interesting...Yoko looking like a grandma up there with this funky band (Sean played guitar and keyboards...oooh...he has really long hair and looked pretty foxy. :9 ) making these guttaral moany sounds and kind of thrashing about. The first song she just sang, "I'm dying! I'm dying! Help! help me! I'm dying!" over and over again. I swear to you those were the only lyrics. Everyone around me was like "oh my god! haha" Poor yoko. Well, at least they didn't boo her.

(RS) Sonic Youth: Opened with "Bull in the Heather." Thurston wished the crowd a Happy Father's Day. He dedicated a song to Yoko Ono "whose rock n roll is beautiful." It was a familiar song but I don't know the name. Went off into a rambling/feedback portion for about 5 minutes and then came back into the song..that was cool..

(BS) Beck: Leah was in heaven, she loves Beck. It was just him, his guitar and harmonica and this little beat-making thing. I'm not into his stuff at all but he was still fun.

(RS) De La Soul: uhh...you can copy what I said for ATCQ...I don't know any of their stuff. At least it had a groove and wasn't total shit. That was the good thing about almost every single performer this weekend...even if it wasn't necessarily my style of music, it sounded good and was something you could get into.

(BS) Skatalites: hmm...don't remember a lot about them...kind of reggae-ish, not Ska like the name might make you think. Mainly older band members...I think they've been around while. I'm sounding so ignorant here it's not even funny.

(RS) Björk: she was really cool, lots of fun. Dancing around, barefoot some of the time. I'm not WILD about her music but it is good and I wished I'd had more room to dance. Partway through her set, the guy doing the lights turned around his little video monitor which seemed to be from Mtv...not necessarily what Mtv was showing, but what they'd cut to when they wanted to show performances. So we got to see close-ups! yay!

(BS) Fugees: rap again. yay. They did "No Woman, No Cry" like at the KROQ Weenie Roast, and I liked that...but we also had to put up with that damned cover of "Killing Me Softly" and I do agree with the joshling in that I have no respect for a band's #1 hit being a cover. They did some other stuff...the lead guy's guitar was not up to his satisfaction so he did some freestyle stuff for about 5-10 minutes while they fixed it. People were starting to pack in in preparation for Rage...

(RS) Rage Against the Machine: ooooh man they were intense, and I was very psyched to see them. The crowd was packed tight and the pogoing and moshing was not limited to just the area immediately in front of the stage. There was a brief moment where I pushed hard against the wall and I mildly freaked that I might have to bail...but it didn't stay that way, thank goodness. They did some stuff I didn't know as well as "Bulls on parade" "Killing in the Name" (I LOVE that song) and "Freedom." It was great...also got to watch it thru the video monitor thanks to the light guy. :)

(BS) Red Hot Chili Peppers: I think I was the most excited to see them. I was so glad they played the stage I was closer to. :) I got to see Dave Navarro in silvery leather pants and no shirt on mouth "oh baby do me now, do me here I do allow." *sigh* I can die happy now. They played Power of Equality, Suck My Kiss, Fugazi's "Waiting Room" which I LOVED, Walkabout, Aeroplane, One Big Mob, Give It Away...I think that's it, might have been one other one. I know they played for about 40 minutes. Not nearly long enough for me, but still satisfying. davedavedavedavedavedave!

Then the monks and nuns came out one last time to bless us and end the show. I bought T-shirts and then we left.

The entire weekend was great...it went very smoothly, the weather was nice, and even the crowd was cool for the most part. Of course you're always going to have the random person who has to be a dick, but there were no idiotic beer gardens so that cut down on the asshole quotient considerably. During RHCP there was this tall guy next to me who would bend down to let the short girls around us stand on his knee to get better pictures or just get a better view for a few seconds. I thought that was pretty sweet. The vibes are just so much nicer in San Francisco...I love this big huge open field with the breeze blowing through it and this large assortment of different kinds of food booths..flags waving, interesting looking people, cool security and medical staff, volunteers going around with letters to the president to sign, people from Rock the Vote asking everyone if they're registered to vote... They know how to do shows at the Polo Fields... I can't help but think of how dumb they were at Spartan Stadium: not allowing us to take water bottles in, but selling beer all day long. MORONS! grr.

I'd also like to think that people came away from this event educated about what's going on in Tibet and maybe motivated to do something about it. They had 4 speakers through the day between acts. One of them was a monk who spoke through an interpreter. He had been imprisoned for 33 years in concentration camps simply for wishing to practice his religion and expressing that Tibet is NOT a part of China. He told us about being tortured with stun guns thrust in his mouth, and how the women of every age were gang raped by both soldiers and stun guns. It was sickening...and through all of this, this guy still has no hatred in him. They really stressed non-violence. We were also asked to boycott all Chinese goods for the month of June, and not as an anti-China or anti-Chinese message, but more to the *government* of China. It's not just the Tibetans who are living with some of the worst human-rights conditions on the planet, but the Chinese as well. I certainly learned TONS this weekend and I'm going to pay a lot more attention to the origin of things that I buy. I know this show alone can't free Tibet, but I think it's brought the issue to the attention of a lot of people who, like me, had no idea things were as bad as they are.

(June 1996)


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