One World Concert at The Carrier Dome

It’s hard to imagine a reason why thirty musicians from all corners of the world and all genres of music would be performing on a stage in Syracuse.  But if you can imagine the Dalai Lama being the combining force that brought them all to The Carrier Dome on Tuesday, October 9 for The One World Concert.

Labeled as “a historic celebration of peace, music, and common ground,” was a fast paced variety show, exhibiting some of the world’s best musicians, in order to share the message of peace with the world.  As Whoopi Goldberg the emcee put it, we were all there for a “piece of the peace.”  And while that may have been true for a fair amount of the audience, the great majority was there for the star-studded line-up meant to perform after the Dalai Lama’s speech.

Aside from a few technical issues, the speech given by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was both inspiring and entertaining.  Who would have expected one of the great spiritual leaders of the word to have such a great sense of humor and be taken seriously while wearing a Syracuse University visor?  He spoke of peace, tolerance, and leaving the past centuries of war and conflict behind us for a new one filled with peace and happiness.

When Dave Matthews came on stage, everyone was filled with happiness to spare.  The renowned artist graced the crowd with a three-song set, a rarity for the evening and a privilege only granted to four of the thirty acts at the concert.  Without a doubt, Matthews was the headliner.  After his performance of “Mercy,” the crowd was ready for the rest of the concert to get underway.

Natasha Bedingfield sang “Unwritten,” Nelly Furtado “Spirit Indestructible,” and Cyndi Lauper and Angelique Kidjo did a duet of “True Colors,” as everyone seemed to be having a great time, really paying attention to and enjoying the music.  That is, until Roberta Flack came on.  The audience seemed more interested in trying to keep a wave going, than actually listening to her perform.  Needless to say, the artist was upset and ended up leaving the stage without so much as a goodbye.

The world music artists were expectedly unknown to most of the audience members, with the exception of AR Rahman.  However, Rahman didn’t even sing the song that made him famous by him and The Pussycat Dolls for SlumDog Millionaire, so most people were truly hearing his music for the first time.  There were also artists from Afghanistan, Iran, and Israel.  In fact, this concert marked the first time in history an Israeli artist and Iranian artist shared the stage.  The Israeli pop singer, Liel Kolet, was one of the few artists who got a three song set, and she seemed to impress the crowd.

By the end of the show, the stadium had emptied out significantly.  Being a college campus on a week night right before mid-terms, it was to be expected.  The closing act was Counting Crows, and they had a straight-up jam session lasting several songs that was great to watch and a fantastic way to end the show.

Review by Morgan Craig

Previously known for his traditional Hasidic beard and fedora, reggae star Matisyahu proved the old cliché “you are your hair” to be true when he stepped out on stage at the One World concert freshly shaven and quaffed. New album, New man, and a handsome new man at that. During his performance a few rows behind me, someone shouted “You’re Hot!”, a phrase I have never heard used to describe Matisyahu before. On stage he seemed right at home, as Matisyahu grew up in Westchester County, New York about four hours away from Syracuse, where he attended White Plains High School.

When the lyrics to the hit “One Day” off his 2010 album Light echoed throughout the dome it was clear why he chose to perform the older song.  “Sometimes I lay under the moon. I thank god I’m breathing.” The perfect compliment to the messages about cherishing life from the Dalai Lama. The words: “We don’t wanna fight no more, there’ll be no more wars and our children will play” gave me chills. I looked around the bleachers to find that the rest of the audience was just as moved, bobbing and swaying to the relaxed vibe. Inspired voices in the crowd sang along to the chorus repeating the words “One Day” and in that moment the possibility of one day having world peace really hindered in the air.

After reading the names David Sanbourn, Cyndi Lauper, and Angelique Kidjo on the set-list for the One World Concert at Syracuse University last Wednesday. I had never imagined the three would collaborate so melodically. Nor should I have been surprised by anything at that point in the concert considering Whoopie Goldberg had  introduced the Dalai Lama (who later gave up the stage to Dave Matthews). Like an iPod on shuffle you never knew what would play at the One World Concert.

The child in me gawked at the stage as the great Cyndi Lauper emerged in an edgy black and white suit jacket and loud pattern leggings. “We’re gonna do a song.” From the floor audience someone yelled “Girls Just Want To Have Fun!” to which Lauper replied with a smirk, “Not that one. I do wish you a lot of fun though.” She proceeded to pick the strings of a steel pedal guitar. David Sanbourn added to the sound with an aged-to-perfection-saxophone and then Angelique Kidjo let out her stunning vocals and the three produced a rendition of “True Colors” that left every soul rejuvenated.

A tranquil sense of peace and oneness fell over the dome until Angelique Kidjo to an energetic bound back to center stage for a solo performance of “Afrika” off her sophomore album Spirit Rising. There was not a single booty in the arena that wasn’t shaking to the bongos. I’d be surprised if the Dalai Lama himself wasn’t moving his peace-maker backstage. In a shimmering blue suit jacket, Kidjo single-handedly turned the previously calm One World Concert into one big peace-party. My peers and I, as college students, saw Kidjo as just another obscure world-music artist on the set-list whose performance we would use as a chance to run to the bathroom before acts like Matisyahu or Swizz Beats. However, the instant we heard her booming, divalicious voice we were hooked. Her energy was contagious. From 30-year old men to high schoolers everyone in the Dome had caught the afro-fusion fever. Angelique Kidjo was the perfect example of how music can bring people together.

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