Plastic Ono Band – Royal Festival Hall

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Why This Gig?

I know little about the Plastic Ono Band. I knew that they were the band who had played with John Lennon on some of his early albums. I even knew that they had recorded a few albums with Yoko Ono, but I had never heard any of those albums. I had heard some of the tracks that Yoko Ono had contributed to later John Lennon albums like Double Fantasy, but I largely considered them as filler. Oh, and I knew that Lennon had been working on a Yoko Ono song called Walking on Thin Ice on the night that he was shot.

But I didn’t know that the Plastic Ono Band had recording new stuff for a few years. Of course this isn’t the original Plastic Ono Band – it’s just Sean Lennon and some friends (largely friends from Ciba Matto) acting as a backing band for Yoko Ono’s latest music.

What I’m really saying is that I had no real idea what to expect. I only went because of the connection with John Lennon and because I thought that something interesting might happen.

Support

Nope. No support. Well, unless you count a twenty minute film about Yoko Ono’s art.

Headline

The band came on at 8pm. This obviously confused some people. You don’t usually expect RFH headliners to come on stage until at least 8:30pm. So people were still wandering in and finding seats during the first twenty minutes or so of the show.

As I said above, this isn’t the Plastic Ono Band. Well, of course, Yoko owns the name so she can use it however she wants. But there are no members from 1970 on stage. In fact, other than Yoko herself (who was 80 earlier this year) there’s no-one who was born in 1970.

The set is split between songs from older Yoko Ono albums and her latest album, Between My Head and the Sky. The musical quality is variable. When it’s good it has elements of the Mothers of Invention. But a lot of the time it’s more like sub-standard Gong. I recognised two songs – “Walking on Thin Ice” and “Don’t Worry Kyoko”. I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t do anything else I knew – perhaps one of John Lennon’s songs.

And by about 9:15pm they were waving goodbye and walking off the stage. They returned for an encore, but it was all over by soon after 9:30pm. I know it was an “event” and probably shouldn’t be judged on the same criteria as a normal gig, but it was more expensive than many RFH gigs and I would have liked a little more for my money.

All in all, I’m glad I was there. But it really wasn’t the experience that I hoped for.

There’s a page on Setlist.fm, but no-one has filled in the setlist yet.

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