performance of Plastic Ono Band in 40 years
By Jennifer Smith
15th June 2009
John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono took to the stage at the Royal Festival
Hall last night for a performance with the group she started with her
late husband John in 1969.
Formed with Lennon when he was still a Beatle and once boasting Eric
Clapton as a member, the new Plastic Ono Band now stars John and
Yoko's son Sean Lennon in the line up, while artist and producer Mark
Ronson and his bass guitar were welcomed on stage for the evening.
In what was the band's first gig since their one and only performance
forty years ago, the group played as part of the Meltdown music
festival held in London's Southbank Centre.
The band stepped into the UK spotlight to a warm welcome yesterday
performing tracks from their most recent studio album, Between My
Head and the Sky.
Yoko, who last week received a lifetime achievement award at the Mojo
Music Awards, says she is 'surprised' at being awarded such an
accolade, claiming: 'I went on stage and people were warm to me. I
didn't expect that.'
The singer is commonly blamed for the break up of the Beatles,
thanks, in part, to the hostile relationship that built up between
Yoko and Paul McCartney.
In an interview recorded at the time of the split, John said he was
made to choose between Yoko or the Beatles.
'It seemed that I either had to be married to them or Yoko,' he said.
'I chose Yoko and I was right. They despised her. They insulted her
and still do. They can go stuff themselves.'
But despite negative public response to her achievements over the
years - Yoko has produced 41 albums over the years, either alone or
with Lennon -Yoko says John was always supportive, and would be
equally so now.
'He would have said, 'I told you man,' she said.
'He was the only person who was really believing and promoting my
work. Without that I might have been pretty discouraged.'
Other acts at the ceremony showed their support of the singer. Among
others, Johnny Marr, guitarist of rock group the Smiths, described
her as 'fantastic' and remarked: 'She had an awful lot of utterly
terrible press that was completely uninformed and out of control for no reason.
'Her records are pretty great. She didn't really need to be a Beatle wife.
'She was doing some pretty good stuff as it was, and I think she's fantastic.'
Artist and producer Mark Ronson, 34, who appeared on stage last night
with The Plastic Ono Band, spoke of his admiration for the singer.
'I'm a fan of hers,' he said. 'All those early Plastic Ono recordings
are just incredible. She really helped change music in her own right.'