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John Lennon: Not A Fan Of Seeing Bands On Stage…

John Lennon talking to Bob Harris on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975: “If I get the urge to perform I’ll do it, I’ll wait for my green card and I’ll do a tour of the world, you know, the going round in circles bit, I might as well do it all. But I was always a record man, I liked the studio always best once I got the hang of it, and the control of it because it’s complete control.

“And even as a fan when I was younger, I wasn’t that mad on seeing the artist live, I liked the record of ‘Be Bop-A-Lula’ say but not particularly mad on seeing Gene Vincent every time he came to town. I wasn’t that upset Elvis never came to England, I had the pre-army records, you know. Records is what I was hooked on.”

Just a little later on, Lennon when asked if the Beatles would ever get back together again, said that if they did it would probably be to record and not to tour.

Interesting, and he didn’t say tis, but if Lennon was getting rock and roll off the docks of Liverpool direct from Memphis, he wouldn’t have known or had the opportunity see see many rock or blues bands whom he might admire so much.

I haven’t disagreed with my friend, rock critic Rob O’Connor, mostly because to each his own is my take. But I was surprised when Rob told me he didn’t much like going to concerts. To my mind, and with exceptions (the Beatles being an obvious one), the live performance was half the story. I am deeply influenced in my opinion of a band through their onstage performance, of the three big names at the Grammys,  Billie Eilish, Lizzo, and Ariana Grande, I’ve seen all three. But I wasn’t a big concertgoer in my teen years, living in the Middle East bands seldom visited at the best of times. By the time I was seventeen all I’d seen was:

Cliff Richard

Joan Baez

I didn’t see Bowie till 1979 and McCartney till 1989.

But as a child of punk, going to college in the mid-70s in Manchester, I got turned on to hanging at rock clubs at the age of 21, and seeing band after band -a difference from my earlier years at disco. Discos were better for girls, rock clubs for the live experience.

Moving to New York City for good in 1979, I spent my life between CBGBs, Max’s, and Hurrah.

And since editing rock nyc in 2009, I went to everything I could. In 2012 something in the nature of four concerts a week.

But life catches up with us and while from a distance there isn’t much difference between 52 years of age and 63 years of age, there certainly is. The answer? Well, in 2017 I jumped to get a ticket to Roger Waters at Barclays (here), in 2020? Meh, I will wait till the last second and if I decide to go and then buy it on the secondary market. I will only jump for the must sees bucketlist bands… of which there are exceedingly few.

After all, you can disagree with Lennon or O’Connor, but disagreeing with both is a sucker’s game.


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