By David Frazier
No, we’re not kidding, the Beastie Boys are really coming to Taipei. This month. And Tibetans get in free. The world’s most famous hip-hop trio will perform outdoors in Taipei on Sunday, April 20 in a 12,000 seat capacity arena at the Sungshan Cigarette Factory (ªQ¤s·Ï¼t), a now defunct industrial complex that has been converted to hold events.
The message is Tibetan freedom from China, something the Beastie Boys have supported since 1996 with their first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco. The concert has happened seven more times since and included many of the biggest names in rock: REM, Sonic Youth, Radiohead and scores of others. The ninth Tibetan Freedom Concert will take place in Tokyo on April 19, then the tenth will happen in Taipei a day later.
Concert promoter Freddy Lin said that several of Taiwan’s largest concert organizers — mostly corporate media — were afraid of brining in the Beasties to Taiwan in open support of Tibet.
“They asked them to come as the Beastie Boys, not as Tibetan Freedom,” said Lin.
Proceeds go to the Milarepa Fund, founded by the band to aid in the “Tibetan peoples nonviolent struggle to regain independence.” Earnings from the Taipei show are specifically earmarked for the Rato Monastery, a Tibetan religious center founded in the 14th century and moved to India in 1983.
After hearing several refusals from Taiwan, the Beastie Boys were eventually referred to Lin, who, as head of the Taiwan Rock Alliance has openly supported Taiwan’s independence movement through events such as the annual “Say Yes to Taiwan” concert.
“I told them that we had put on concerts that were against China, and they were fine with that,” said Lin.
Beastie Boy Adam Yauch indicated support for Taiwan’s political battle against China in a press statement, expressing praise for “Taiwan’s struggle for democracy and human rights.”
When the Beasties get on stage, the US war on Iraq may be another item on the political menu. Protesting this “unjustified war” is one of the latest causes the band has taken up. They recently released a single, In a World Gone Mad, on the Internet that is explicitly anti-war, comparing Bush to Zoolander and surmising that politicians must be “smoking crack.”
Preceding the Beastie Boys on stage will be two international acts and several local bands, with music beginning at 2pm and the Beasties finishing up around 10pm. Exiled Tibetan nomad and former monk Nawang Khechog, whom Lin calls “the Michael Jackson of Tibet,” will appear, playing his bamboo flute against a backdrop of didgeridoos and other new age sounds. LMF, a Beastie-styled crew of MCs, guitars and a DJ from Hong Kong will also appear. Local talent will include Tizzy Bac and others.
Taiwan’s 10,000 Tibetans are all eligible for free tickets through the Taiwan Rock Alliance (02-2367-7475), according to Lin.
“But I don’t know. A lot are monks. I don’t know how many will come,” he said.
For everyone else tickets cost between NT$400 and NT$1,000 and are available online and at about a dozen outlets, including both Tower Records stores in Taipei, X-large stores in Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung, and Nuno Live House (¦Ñ¿Õ) in Taichung.
For complete ticketing information and online purchases, check: www.tramusic.com/tibet.