Saturday – “The night was hot! The whole audience gave a standing ovation to Lady Gaga from the minute she appeared on the stage to when her turn was over. And that is saying a lot. That meant people were standing through the long, long songs – THE SUN IS DOWN and IT’S BEEN VERY HARD. It’s a record! At the end of IT’S BEEN VERY HARD, Lady Gaga started to play the piano with her high heel shoes, and I went up on the top of the piano and started jamming lying down. Right away, Lady Gaga climbed up on the piano right next to me, and two of us jammed, in tune, of course. I am sure the audience would never forget this night… You can say that two of us came from one clay…. ” – yoko
Yoko Ono & Plastic Ono Band–Rising–Live-Los Angeles 2010-10-02
Lady Gaga and Yoko Ono – The Sun is Down (HD live at the Orpheum Theater 10/2/2010)
Yoko Ono & Lady Gaga – It’s Been Very Hard @ Orpheum Theater (2010/10/02 Los Angeles, CA)
Yoko Ono & Plastic Ono Band finalé–Give Peace a Chance–Live-Los Angeles 2010-10-02
More videos here
Friday – “It was awesome!” – yoko
Extensive photo galleries on daylife.com:
Musicians pay tribute to John Lennon and Yoko Ono
The singer’s widow and their son, Sean Lennon, take the Plastic Ono Band on the road with visiting guest artists. The Grammy Museum and others have scheduled events.
By Katherine Tulich, Special to the Los Angeles Times
After a well-received return to the stage in New York this year, Yoko Ono is bringing her “We Are Plastic Ono Band” to L.A. for the first time. “I have never done a show in L.A., so I am very happy to be finally doing it,” Ono says, speaking from her apartment at the Dakota in New York.
Part concert and part tribute show to both Ono and the late John Lennon, who would have turned 70 on Oct. 9, the revived Plastic Ono Band includes Sean Lennon, who also acts as music director, and innovative Japanese artists Yuka Honda and Cornelius, as well as a floating roster of guest artists.
“This new version definitely gives an Eastern twist to the Ono band,” says Lennon amid rehearsals earlier in the week. “Many people are rediscovering my mother’s music, and I think this is an ideal time to do a tribute show bringing different artists together.”
While the New York shows featured original Plastic Ono Band members such as Eric Clapton and performers such as Bette Midler and Paul Simon, the L.A. shows feature an edgier lineup, including Perry Farrell, RZA, Carrie Fisher, Vincent Gallo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Harper Simon (son of Paul Simon), Haruomi Hosono (founder of Japanese band Yellow Magic Orchestra) and indie hipster Tune-Yards. Iggy Pop, bassist Mike Watt and Nels Cline will guest on Friday night, while Lady Gaga is joined by Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore on Saturday.
“Despite how varied the artists are, they all connect to my mother in some way,” says Lennon. “A hip-hop artist like RZA may seem like an odd choice, but one of the first songs he sampled was a very early recording of my mother’s, while Lady Gaga is also a great fan of my mother’s music.”
Ono plans to perform a mix of songs from her 2009 album, “Between My Head and the Sky,” and more familiar songs from her repertoire such as “Walking on Thin Ice,” while guest artists deliver their versions of her songs. “I tend to pick the songs because I am so familiar with my mother’s catalog, but I’m usually able to find a song to suit anyone’s style,” says Lennon. The finale is a rollicking communal singalong of “Give Peace a Chance.”
The idea to revive the band came from Sean Lennon. “He is the son of the two people in the band, and for him there’s a personal sentiment,” Ono says softly. But was she happy to revisit the past? “I get reminded all the time about John. Every day I get 20 to 30 requests, so when Plastic Ono Band comes up, it’s not really an earthquake for me.”
Ono is relishing the chance to work closely with her son. Comparing his style to his father’s, she notes, “[Sean] is much more finicky. He wants to get everything exactly right.”
“I can be meticulous,” Lennon says with a laugh. “My father came from a different generation. He would say,” breaking into the note-perfect Liverpudlian accent of his father, “‘It’s good enough for rock and roll.'”
While Ono’s discordant howls and wails bewildered fans when the Beatles’ John Lennon assembled the original Plastic Ono Band in 1969, Ono’s contribution to the avant garde and to pop music is now revered. “I sometimes think: Why did it take so long?” says Ono. “But I wasn’t really trying to make people understand it then. I suppose I was being an elitist about it, but now that people are appreciating it, it makes me very happy.”
The downtown concerts will kick off a bumper week of related activities commemorating John Lennon’s birthday. On Sunday evening, Ono will sit down for an intimate interview about her husband and his legacy in the Grammy Museum’s ongoing series, “An Evening With.” The museum will also unveil its new exhibit, “John Lennon, Songwriter,” which will open to the public on Monday. The exhibit was co-curated by Ono and includes many personal artifacts including hand-written song lyrics, original drawings, guitars, a Sgt. Pepper outfit and rare historic footage.
“We wanted to present John in a more focused way than what a normal retrospective would be,” says Robert Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum. “This celebrates his genius as one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century.”
On Monday night, the museum is hosting the West Coast premiere of the documentary film “American Masters: LennonNYC,” with Ono in attendance. The event is for members and invited guests only. The film focuses on their life together in New York and will be broadcast on PBS Nov. 22. Sam Taylor-Wood’s critically acclaimed feature film on Lennon’s troubled childhood, “Nowhere Boy,” also premieres at the Egyptian on Thursday, followed by a concert by the three surviving members of John Lennon’s first band, the Quarrymen.
“It’s a beautiful film and gives you a great understanding of John and how he grew up,” says Ono.
The Egyptian will be hosting a series of rare Lennon and Beatles films all weekend.
On Tuesday, Capitol/EMI will re-release eight of Lennon’s albums, including a newly stripped-down version of 1980’s “Double Fantasy” overseen by Ono (see Sunday’s Times for a rundown on the new discs).
“I have been getting hundreds of requests from all over the world from people planning celebrations of John,” says Ono. “It really feels like a landmark year in so many ways.”
John Lennon, Songwriter
Where: Grammy Museum, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite A245, L.A.
When: Opens Monday
Price: $14.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors, $10.95 for students
Info: (213) 765-6800; http://www.grammymuseum.org
‘Nowhere Boy,’ with performance by the Quarrymen
Where: Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Price: $25, students and seniors $23, members $20
Info: (323) 466-3456; http://www.americancinematheque.com
Egyptian hosts rare Lennon and Beatles films Friday through Sunday.
See full schedules at http://www.ModsAndRockers.com.
‘This Boy … John Lennon in Liverpool’ photo exhibition
Where: Mr. Musichead Gallery, 7511 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
When: Reception 2 to 4 p.m. Friday. Ends Oct. 10.
Info: (323) 876-0042; http://www.mrmusichead.com
Listening to Yoko – Do it, without prejudice
by Gustavo Turner, LA Weekly
Circa 1970, John Lennon was savagely mocked when he said, repeatedly and with his inimitable loudness, that Yoko Ono was not only a brilliant conceptual artist but also a great musician. To the mockers, Lennon often replied that people were prejudiced against his partner because she is Asian (he would have said Oriental at the time) and because she is a woman. Lennon, of course, was absolutely right.
The most straightforward definition of prejudice is “to pass judgment before,” before hearing the evidence with an open mind. And many people I’ve spoken to about Yoko’s music haven’t actually listened to her. In my experience, the few Yoko deniers who have a passing acquaintance with her amazing body of work have limited their exposure to her interventions on the live Plastic Ono Band album (1969), the Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus (late 1968), and (maybe) her live jam with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention (1971), nicknamed by the caustic Zappa “A Small Eternity With Yoko Ono.”
All those recordings happen to be examples of Yoko’s improvisational, noisy, shrieking style, only one of the many colors in her varied palette. (By the way, those – generally white and male – critics, both amateur and professional, who dismiss those performances tend to praise Robert Plant’s equally improvisational, noisy, shrieking vocal ejaculations, 100 percent contemporary to Yoko’s. I like both.)
But at least those people have gone to the trouble of hearing her music, even if they weren’t really listening and they thought it was really an annoying distraction from what they had come to hear (Lennon, Jagger, Zappa). Most other Yoko haters just repeat the “caterwauling libel” they heard from those critics and continue damning her without listening to those solo Yoko albums on Apple that Lennon, bless him, kept insisting were the best (and most fun) work he had done, ever.
If they had stopped dismissing Lennon as deluded by “her mysterious Oriental charms” (yes, otherwise “progressive” people could get away with arguing this crap not that long ago), they would have discovered brilliant, complex works like Fly (1971), Approximately Infinite Universeand Feeling the Space (both 1973), albums chock-full of melody, pathos, amazing musicianship, beautiful songs, artful lyrics, even the purest form of the blues.
Because as a woman and a cultural outsider (memories of Hiroshima and 1950s American and European Nippophobia loom large in her work), Yoko tapped into the same feelings that had been Lennon’s main contribution to the early Beatles — his instinctual understanding of what Chuck Berry, Larry Williams and Arthur Alexander were really talking about.
Last week, I talked to Sean Lennon, who is proud to be his mom’s producer and musical director for a couple of shows this weekend at the Orpheum that reboot the Plastic Ono Band for the Lady Gaga generation. I asked if Yoko was surprised about how many people have come around and love her work or if she had known all along this was going to happen eventually.
“I think a bit of both,” he replied. “She’s an artist who’s always been very confident of what she does and she’s always believed in her work, but I think she’s had such a difficult time with the press, especially concerning her music, that I think that this is a surprise but she’s also really happy about it.”
He should know. After all, he’s the son of a great musical original, someone whose artistic contributions will surely outlast us all.
Orange County Register: Finally, a celebration for Yoko Ono
by Ben Wener, Orange County Register
On Feb. 16, two days before she turned 77, the incomparable Yoko Ono, who by now has released nearly as many albums as her venerated late husband, served as both performer and honoree at a guest-heavy fête at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
I’ve pointed this next part out before, but it bears repeating: Bette Midler sang, as did Paul Simon and his sonHarper. Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth showed up. Most impressively, members of the original Plastic Ono Band — including Eric Clapton, renowned drummer Jim Keltner and bassist Klaus Voorman, known for designing the cover of the Beatles’ Revolver – were reunited for the occasion.
The event, dubbed We Are Plastic Ono Band and arranged under the musical direction of Ono and John Lennon’s son, Sean Lennon, was a hot-ticket smash success in NYC, and it’s about to have an L.A. encore, Friday and Saturday at the Orpheum Theatre, the opulent downtown venue that most people (apart from indie-music concert-goers) primarily know these days as the home of Hollywood Week on American Idol.
The roll call for this weekend’s tributes has changed, but the caliber of artists who will salute four decades of music and performance art still speaks to Ono’s enduringly daring and idiosyncratic style. Iggy Pop, Mike Watt of the Minutemen and Nels Cline of Wilco take part Friday, while Lady Gaga — whose calculated outrageousness owes at least as much to Ono as it does Madonna — will appear Saturday night, along with Moore and Gordon.
Appearing at both performances will be an array like you never see on the same stage: Perry Farrell, the RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, actors Carrie Fisher and Vincent Gallo, Pitchfork darling tUnE-yArDs, electronic music pioneer Haruomi Hosono of the Yellow Magic Orchestra, and the current, Japanese-rich incarnation of the Plastic Ono Band, led by Sean but also featuring avant-gardist Cornelius and Yuka Honda of the group Cibo Matto.
“Isn’t it great?” Ono enthused during a phone chat two weeks ago. “It’s the first time I’m going to do it in L.A.”
“Do it” doesn’t just apply to these unique shows. She means ever.
“You’ve never played L.A. before?” I asked, surprised.
Surely back in the early ’70s, when she and John were at their most politically active and made appearances at rallies and benefit concerts, there must have been one gig somewhere in Southern California.
Ono is adamant: “Nooooooo! And I didn’t even think about that. It’s, like, I never thought about that John is going to be 70 this year. When people say, ‘Oh, he’s going to be 70’ — I think, ‘Oh dear, is that what it is?’ There are many things that I don’t really have in my consciousness.”
Naturally, though she’s participating in these testaments to her career — as opposed to watching from the balcony as if at the Kennedy Center Honors — Ono never would have thought to stage something like this for herself. The Orpheum, she loves: “Such a beautiful theater. … I like that kinda thing. … I go for classic, historical places.” But to gather high-profile friends and admirers to re-create her songs live, well: “Who would think of doing a show that way?”
It’s much too conventional, “and I’m not the most conservative person. I felt sort of like … well, maybe embarrassed, I guess, that all these big musicians and composers and singer-songwriters (wanted) to sing my songs. You know, I do shows because I like to just do my own thing. So when they all came to me and said, ‘What about this?’ … I mean, Paul Simon is going to sing my song? You’re going to bring back Eric Clapton? I couldn’t believe it. I said, ‘I don’t think they would want to do it. Why should they do it?’ Because I’m that person, I don’t see it objectively.”
She may not have dreamt it for herself, yet Ono says she’s nonetheless touched by the show of support, and has found joy in the process of spotlighting her work for these shows. There are, after all, any number of directions this material could go, as hers is a wildly varied catalog that ranges from difficult, often ignored but punk- and alt-influencing ’70s efforts likeFly, Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling the Space (her second, third and fourth solo records) to the increasingly acclaimed avant-pop and dance music she has made since John’s death in 1980 and the release of their swan song together, Double Fantasy. (That unique classic, by the way, returns Oct. 5 as part of a Lennon reissue campaign in a “stripped down” version that wipes away the polished production of the era.)
The rest of her post-John discography contains some of her strongest achievements, including the occasionally wrenching widow’s lament Season of Glass (1981); the political activism of Starpeace (1985); the experimental rock of Blueprint for a Sunrise (2001); two sets of remixes and re-imagined material from 2007, I’m a Witch and Open Your Box, featuring contributions from, among others, Pet Shop Boys, the Flaming Lips, Basement Jaxx, Cat Power and Peaches; and last year’s noted return with Sean’s restructured Plastic Ono Band, Between My Head and the Sky. She also has become something of a dance diva, having racked up several chart-topping singles on the Billboard dance music chart — including two this year alone, “Give Me Something” and her latest hit, “Wouldnit (I’m a Star).”
Yet Ono insists she’d never have agreed to such a survey of her past if these shows didn’t also serve as a showcase for Sean’s talents — “because he is really a very good musician, and most people don’t know that,” despite positive notices the youngest Lennon has garnered for his albums, notably 2006’s sadly beautiful Friendly Fire. Among his most recent efforts is yet another project, the Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger, which has issued a self-titled disc.
“He doesn’t just do guitar,” Ono boasts proudly, “he does piano, he does drums … and he has a good voice, too … and I felt badly that, you know, because of being John’s son and all that, he has a hard time, actually.”
As in New York, it was Sean, soon to be 35, who brought together such an eclectic lineup to take part in We Are Plastic Ono Band in L.A., about which Ono has the most to say regarding — who else? — Lady Gaga.
“I think she’s fantastic. You know, she thinks of something and she does it, without any sort of hesitation. Whatever comes into her head, she brings it out, without fear. Really great. And you know she’s totally getting the same inspiration that I did, from somewhere very high, so maybe she doesn’t even know what it is.
“That’s how it should be.That way, you don’t really limit your work or start to make it smaller … make yourself a good girl, something like that. There’s no point in showing yourself that way to the world. We’ve seen it all. Why bother, you know?
“She has that kind of courage, but it’s not just courage — she’s a very good singer and musician. She’s a professional, let’s put it that way. Most people think she’s just a spectacle, but no, no, she’s professional.”
In her time most people have thought far worse of Yoko Ono than “professional,” of course; her occasionally wailing manner has never sat especially well with traditional pop consumers … and then there are all those ugly, misconstrued myths about her breaking up the Beatles. I wondered if she’s developed a thick skin about it over the years.
“Well, thick skin is not really the word for it,” she says, “but you handle it because you believe in your artwork. You believe in you being an artist. It only matters to give good work.”
And maybe slyly confront her haters now and then: “You know, in old days, when I made that song ‘I’m a Witch’ —oohhh! Musicians got scared, you know. They were saying, ‘You can’t put this out!’ Because, you know, the concept of a witch, that I’m saying I’m a witch … and also that witch is rhyming with bitch … and they were saying, ‘You have to drop the bitch’ … .”
I thought that was the point: to throw it in the faces of people who had called her such things.
“No, I know, I was speaking to them.” She started singing: “I’m not going to die for you! But that was how I was when people didn’t understand me.”
So is it because more people appreciate her unpredictable spirit now — is that why she has decided to revive the Plastic Ono Band moniker? “Well, I didn’t, actually. It was very funny: Sean came to me and said, ‘Mommy, do you mind?’ And I was thinking, OK, it means a lot to him, probably because his dad and mom created it, you know? So I said, ‘OK, OK … but why do you want to do that now?’ That’s how I felt, anyway.”
“It’s a legacy,” I pointed out.
“Yeah, yeah, you know, but it’s an in-house legacy. Especially because he lost his dad when he was 5, so there’s a sentimental side of it to him.”
“What do you think John would make of these shows?” I asked as we ended our chat.
“Oh, he would be so happy! He would be saying, ‘I told you so!’ He’s the one who, you know … the world first attacked me, and then they attacked John for being crazy to be with me or something. They made John out to be crazy and he wasn’t. But I think he must be so happy now if he’s somewhere around there in the atmosphere, to think that he was right. He was the only one who was right!”
All photos courtesy of Charlotte Muhl & Sean Lennon.
WE ARE PLASTIC ONO BAND – Yoko Ono LIVE with Very Special Guests [Orpheum, LA] Oct 1&2, 2010
Orpheum seating plan here.
Tickets went on sale to the public:
Saturday, August 7th, from 9 AM
Following her sold-out-in-minutes and critically-acclaimed concerts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Yoko Ono will reprise “WE ARE PLASTIC ONO BAND” at downtown LA’s Orpheum Theater on October 1st and 2nd.
For the first time, Los Angeles audiences will be treated to a performance by Ms. Ono that The New York Times called “…ghostly, furious, dreamy, caustic, urgent, exultant, orgasmic.”
Under the musical direction of Sean Ono Lennon and backed by Yuka Honda and Cornelius (Keigo Oyamada, Shimmy Hirotaka Shimizu and Yuko Araki) with some very special guests: Iggy Pop (10/1), Lady Gaga (10/2), The RZA, Perry Farrell, Carrie Fisher, Vincent Gallo, Haruomi Hosono, Harper Simon, Tune-Yards, Nels Cline (10/1), Mike Watt (10/2), Kim Gordon (10/2) and Thurston Moore (10/2). “WE ARE PLASTIC ONO BAND” will certainly leave its mark on the City of Angels!
Purchase tickets early for this rare concert event because once the guest artists are revealed, it will already be too late!
Tickets for the “WE ARE PLASTIC ONO BAND” event went on sale to the general public on Saturday, AUGUST 7th at 9AM.
Orpheum seating plan here.