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Lennon, Ono, Clapton, Voormann, White,
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This review is from: Live Peace In Toronto 1969 (Audio CD)
Recorded in September 1969 at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival concert, this really is a truly remarkable live album. The original vinyl had Lennon /Plastic Ono Band on side one and Yoko /POB on side 2. Yoko's material at this point in her career is an acquired taste and not my cup of tea at all. Focusing on Lennon, tracks 1 -6 are the best example we have of him in concert (easily surpassing the 1972 New York concert). Apart from performing Yer Blues with Clapton at the Stones Rock and Roll Circus in December 1968, the band had literally never played together, apart from a quick rehearsal on the flight over. The fact that this totally unrehearsed band powered its way, without a hitch, through fantastic versions of Blues Suede Shoes, Money, Dizzy Miss Lizzie and Yer Blues, is a miracle. Is there another live album so potent from a band who had never played together before?
As always Lennon's vocals are sublime. The incendiary version of Money, especially, outstrips the 'With the Beatles' version. Listening to the concert will dispel the myth that he wasn't much of a guitarist. He may not have been the greatest technician, but for pure primal feeling, which is really what its all about, he got the job done brilliantly. Listen to Yer Blues as a prime example. Eric Clapton is a master as always, as is Klaus Voormann (the Revolver cover artist, close friend and excellent bass player who also went on to play on the Plastic Ono Band, Imagine and Walls and Bridges albums).
Im not sure why none of these tracks were included on the greatest hits compilations such as 'Legend' and 'Working Class Hero:the definitive Lennon'. Lets hope that it wasn't sour grapes from Yoko who oversaw those releases: her vocals from Dizzy Miss Lizzie onwards were buried in the mix by Lennon prior to the album's original release in December 1969 (if you see the film, Yoko's singing is much more prominent, notable in Yer Blues, which she ruins).
There is also the first ever version of Cold Turkey which is good considering.... and a rousing version of Give peace a Chance with John making up the words as he goes along - his humour shines through on this one....(and ..teddy roosevelt)..
If only he'd carried on playing and not handed over to Yoko - then Live Peace in Toronto would be talked about in the same breath as the Who Live at Leeds and the Stones Get yer ya yas out...
Still, great thanks to Yoko for overseeing this cd remastered reissue that boasts excellent sound and a wonderful booklet. She has also done a sterling job on the other solo albums. Walls and Bridges especially benefits from the remaster.