February 17, 2010 / 7:27 AM / 9 years ago

Yoko revives Plastic Ono Band with Clapton as guest

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Yoko Ono revived the Plastic Ono Band for a concert on Tuesday night that was part tribute, part vanity project and all irresistible fun.

Yoko Ono gestures as she unveils the "John Lennon: The New York City Years" exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in New York May 11, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The show belonged as much to her son Sean Lennon, 34, as to Ono, 76. Looking and sounding like his famous father, Sean Lennon pulled together an all-star lineup that included Eric Clapton, Paul Simon and Bette Midler as special guests.

Plastic Ono Band was the name of the conceptual supergroup that recorded John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” in 1969 and one Ono had not used artistically since the 1970s.

The succession of stars led to the inevitable sing-along of that anthem for the encore at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Clapton played with fellow rockers Klaus Voormann and Jim Keltner — all members of the original Plastic Ono Band.

Ono held the stage for the first act, building up from an a cappella opening number to a standard rock lineup to a 7-piece backing band that found its stride with funk-inspired rhythms.

The second act, though disjointed at times and largely unrehearsed, gave the adoring audience what it wanted: guest artists including Scissor Sisters, Justin Bond, and Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, all playing Ono songs.

Midler sang “Yes, I’m Your Angel,” a light-hearted number Ono said she wrote for Lennon when he was growing anxious about turning 40. Lennon was shot dead by a deranged fan outside his New York City apartment two months after turning 40 in 1980.

Other artists dipped into Lennon’s repertoire. Gene Ween’s version of Lennon’s love song “Oh Yoko” was touching, with Sean Lennon playing along.

Simon and his son Harper Simon — a childhood friend of Sean Lennon’s — played in guitar duet, providing an acoustic warm-up to Clapton’s blazing lead guitar on “Yer Blues” from the Beatles’ White Album, on which Clapton played as a session guitarist.

Clapton, Voormann and Keltner energized the hall without speaking a word, setting up the emotional farewell sing-along of “Give Peace a Chance,” which many audience members were still humming as they made their way to the exit.

Reporting by Daniel Trotta, editing by Anthony Boadle

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