At the end of March, rock icon and quintessential New Yorker Debbie Harry will perform 10 shows at the Café Carlyle, the city's most elegant classic cabaret room. Tickets to that engagement will be hard to come by, but if you're jonesing to see the Blondie frontwoman live next month, you do have another option: On March 5, she performs in the annual benefit concert for the Tibet House at Carnegie Hall. "I've done the benefit two or three times before, so I'm really happy to do it again," Harry told us. "It's a fantastic organization, and Tibetan culture is so precious."
Organized by minimalist master Philip Glass, the Tibet House event is always a procession of musical royalty. (Last year, the lineup featured Iggy Pop and New Order's Bernard Sumner.) The 2015 edition includes the Flaming Lips, world-music eminences Tenzin Choegyal and Ashley MacIsaac, and country singer Sturgill Simpson. But it's the women who will bring the most star wattage this year. Harry will share the stage with two other major forces who emerged from the fertile downtown–New York music scene of the 1970s: Patti Smith and Laurie Anderson. "Oh yeah—my God," she says. "I've done the show with both of them, but it's interesting that they got us all to be doing it at the same time."
Harry is quick to minimize longstanding rumors that she and Smith did not get along well in the old days. "A lot of that stuff was really exaggerated," Harry says. "People like to jump on something that they think is going to have some kind of fire in it. We all had a very healthy sense of competition. But if anything like that went on, it wasn't serious. It's been blown out of proportion over the years, that's for sure." She describes herself as a "great fan" of both women. "Patti is this incredible poet and chanteuse," Harry says. "She was on the New York scene a couple of years before I was, and she was a big part of the transition from folk-beat into rock. And Laurie is the great storyteller. She's fantastic."
"I mean we're all so different, you know?" Harry adds. "What's not to like?"
The Tibet House Benefit Concert takes place March 5 at 7:30pm. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased through Carnegie Hall.