Yoko Ono is turning 77 tomorrow. Keep that in mind as you imagine the performance artist shimmying, writhing, caterwauling, and charming the pants off the audience at Brooklyn Academy of Music on Tuesday night. The show began with a montage of Ono recordings, films, interview clips, and photos from her days with husband John Lennon, and ended with a cavalcade of special guests that frankly kind of blew us away. Rundown of the entire performance by We Are Plastic Ono Band, plus an image gallery featuring Eric Clapton and the Scissor Sisters, after the jump.
The first set was a fast and furious tour through the Yoko Ono discography, including the title track from her latest record release, Between My Head & the Sky, and a rendition of “Rising” with son Sean — the emcee-of-sorts — as accompaniment. And in case you wondering, the lady can still scream.
The second act, less rehearsed but equipped with a magical spontaneity, included guest appearances by Scissor Sisters — who performed “The Sun is Down” as a dance-y duet in front of an animated short from the ’60s — and a heartstring-tugging acoustic version of “Oh Yoko” by Gene Ween. Justin Bond, in sequined leggings, took on “What a Bastard the World Is” before things got experimental with Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, who thrashed conceptually (think lots of reverb and dissonant bass notes) as Ono wailed “Mulberry.” Bette Midler owned the audience with a whimsical take on “Yes, I’m Your Angel,” which Ono explained that she wrote to cheer up Lennon on the eve of his 40th birthday. After an appearance by Paul Simon and son Harper, a childhood friend of Sean’s from The Dakota and Central Park West, Eric Clapton took the stage for a searing “Yer Blues” (originally on the Beatles’ White Album, on which Clapton played as session guitarist) followed by Ono songs “Death of Samantha” and “Don’t Worry Kyoko.” Two original members of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band — Klaus Voormann and Jim Keltner — played backup, marking the first time in four decades that the group of musicians had jammed together.
The finale was — as you might have guessed — a group performance of “Give Peace a Chance,” set to a dark auditorium punctuated by flashlight, a reference to the Onochord, a device meant to spell out “I love you” with a series of Morse code flashes.
Sidenote: if you don’t follow Ono’s Twitter feed, we would heartily recommend it.
All concert images courtesy of Kevin Mazur / Wire Image.