The music and politics of John Lennon seem as relevant today as they were back in the 60s and 70s. Perhaps even more so. The call for peace, his insightful humanity, and his irreverent disregard for convention have ensured the legacy and legend of Lennon lives on long after his death. John Waters and Stewart D’Arietta have just returned from New York where they presented their show Lennon Through a Glass Onion.
The reviews were fantastic. The New York Times raved: ‘A deeply felt reflection of the man. Savour every minute.’
The New York Post said: ‘Lennon’s spirit shines through on Glass Onion’ and Edge Nework New York said: ‘His credible take on Lennon’s Liverpudlian dialect is top notch, meritoriously channeling the singer/songwriter’s acerbic wit and rebel yell moxie over the course of the 90-minute one-act concert monologue’.
Waters reflected on what it meant to take a show about John Lennon to New York, the place he had chosen to call home until he was shot dead by Mark David Chapman on 8 December 1980 at the door to his home.
What was it like being John Lennon in New York?
It was rather special because of the relationship New York has had with John Lennon and still has. There is a great memorial – Strawberry Fields – in Central Park and Yoko Ono still living in New York and how they feel about her in New York City, his presence is still very strong… probably even more so in New York than in Liverpool.
How has stepping into the music of John Lennon on such a regular basis affected you?
It’s a pleasure as a singer and musician to perform his songs because they are the sort of songs you don’t normally do in a set. They’re kind of specific John Lennon songs and I have got the legitimacy to do them… it’s an absolute honour to do this and that’s how I feel about it more than anything else.
What if John Lennon hadn’t been shot – would he be such an enigma do you think? Does their need to be tragedy of sorts for us to truly appreciate genius?
No, I think the world of music and political discussion would be a much better place if Lennon survived. It’s a shame he missed out on the internet because being such a great blogger and with Twitter he would not have let Donald Trump go up in arms, I’m sure of that.
In a few words, what is the essence of the show you and Stewart D’Arietta present?
I think of it as a trip inside Lennon’s head at the moment of his assassination in the sense of his life swimming before his eyes, and that’s the reason for its being a collage rather than a strict chronology of he did this and he did that.
Two shows at the Byron Theatre at the Community Centre, Friday and Saturday this week.
Tickets on www.byroncentre.com.au.