Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band

The Fox Theater
Oakland, CA
February 23, 2010

First off, I missed Deerhoof altogether due to initial delay, then traffic, weather, & plus their set was pretty short, so there was that disappointment. I don’t want to talk about that.

Happily, I thought Yoko & co were quite awesome, I really did. The backdrop animation loop during the setup, birds flying out from Yoko’s mouth w/chirping soundtrack, that was cool:

Then there was a little 15-min documentary film re: Yoko’s entire career as provocateuse & media manipulator. Quite a whirlwind tour, that: the scissors dress, the buttocks film, the Yes paintings, then Lennon, then crazy concerts, the bed-in, the hair peace, Grapefruit, John & Yoko’s actual naked sex, all so groovy, then the eyeglasses on the windowsill one lens caked in blood, fuck, Yoko & little Sean accepting the Grammy, the peace advocacy, the flashlights flashing I. Love. You.

So, wow.

& only then does this little 78-year-old lady in the tracksuit & the jaunty white hat strut out, exuding nothing so much as sweetness & lightness & utter lack of guile.

There was something so abjectly unaffected about her stage presence: sort of like there wasn’t actually any public persona there even as, of course, you know there so totally just is. Sort of like this was just your own old auntie come out to say hello, sing a few ditties & dance a brittle, fragile little dance. & the ditty & the dance just happening to consist of gorgeously-wretched staccato shrieking & wailing over a huge, brawny Funk groove. When has anything so patently odd as this ever felt so obvious & normal? & charming, hey!

It certainly helped that the core 5–piece band was a work of art unto itself. Our little Sean Lennon, he’s all grown up now & was very clearly in charge of the music, visibly cueing transitions in the long ensemble improvisations. Of which there were several.

Additional players wandered on & offstage, some rather exotic instrumentation was deployed. It got pretty capital-G Groovy at times, but it was sharp too. The playing was never mushy or lazy so the longish jams, when they happened, stayed interesting, focused & fun. Sean delivered several old-school style rock god guitar solos, & he did it w/conviction & w/credibility. I got pretty excited by it all &, I have to say, the crowd devoured it. Go figure.

left to right: sean, fly, nipple, yoko

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