Yoko Ono proves invincible at Bowery Ballroom concertPosted on September 17, 2013 | by Mackenzie Brady
After all these years, Yoko Ono remains a musical enigma and force to be reckoned with. Hardly showing her 80 years, Ono spun, twirled and sashayed her way across the stage, all the while charming everyone in the Bowery Ballroom on Sunday night. With her Plastic Ono Band and an incredibly well-preserved voice, Ono wailed her way through a setlist that spanned most of her career. Opening with her new single “Moonbeams,” Ono effortlessly held the audience in the palm of her hands, all the way through to the final jam session of “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow).”
Ono was also just as happy to let her band share in the spotlight. Despite that, each band member’s solo was often interrupted with screams of “good for you” or “beautiful” from a dancing Ono. After each song, she addressed the audience with anecdotes about writing songs with John Lennon or asserted that there truly is a difference between Fiji and Poland Springs water.
After Ono’s part was over in a song, she would often keep talking over the music to remind everyone that she loved them — a theme that continued throughout the night. Before the show, each audience member was given a small flashlight. About halfway through her set, Ono pulled hers out and began chanting “I love you” while encouraging audience members to help her create a “light garden.”
In the hour before her set was scheduled to begin, Ono played a film reel of her most famous art pieces. Beginning with “365 Bottoms” and ending with a film shot by Karl Largerfeld, “The Secret of My Long Life,” the compilation of films played in chronological order, encapsulating Ono’s entire career. The most poignant film was “Grapefruit,” a recording of Ono and John reading from her book of conceptual art, while Lennon’s “Imagine” played in the background. However, the centerpiece of the evening was clear — this was Ono’s night, and she was not about to spend it as someone’s wife. Onstage with her son, Sean Lennon, Ono cracked jokes about her age and her tendency to write songs longer than the typical three minutes.
Ono’s grand finale was the song she wrote for her kidnapped daughter, Kyoko. In between guitar solos from Sean Lennon and special guest, Earl Slick, Ono jumped around, taking time to smile with each member of her band. Ono left the stage fully enjoying her moment — an entirely well-deserved one.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 17 print edition. Mackenzie Brady is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.