Monday, May 20, 2024

Various Artists - Come Together: A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music, Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 10-2-2001

I don't know much about why this particular John Lennon tribute concert happened when and where it did, with these musical artists taking part. I did find one mention that it was part of a series of tribute concerts shown on TV by the TNT channel. I do know that there are a lot of excellent performances here by talented and famous musicians. This was broadcast on TV at the time. I suspect it was edited down for television from a longer concert, because there's basically no moment wasted here, with tight edits from song to song.

Given this was a tribute to John Lennon, some key musicians were missing. Most importantly, the three other ex-Beatles Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, as well as Lennon's musically successful son Julian Lennon. But his other (much less commercially successful) son Sean Lennon did take part. In turns out the timing was pretty terrible, because George Harrison was dying of cancer and only lived one more month. 

Also, the timing was strange because this took place only three weeks after the 9/11 terror attack, with the nation still in shock. I'm sure that was hanging over this, though it wasn't directly mentioned.

As far as I know, everything here remains officially unreleased. I don't believe it's been shared as music files anywhere on the Internet either. I happened to randomly come across a video of it on YouTube. The sound quality was excellent, so I converted it to audio and chopped it up into individual mp3 files.

Normally, these kinds of concerts with lots of different acts are a mixed bag, with winners and losers. But in this case, nearly every performance here is a winner, in my opinion. The only rendition I don't like is "Imagine," a great song but way oversung by Yolanda Adams. Maybe it's because the songs are so great that artists rise to the occasion. For instance, I'm not a fan of Dave Matthews at all, but I was impressed with his version of "In My Life" here. 

The transitions between songs was done in a rather unusual way for this type of concert. Usually, one would expect an emcee introducing the artists performing each song. But there was virtually none of that here. In fact, basically the only between song "banter" here at all are recordings of John Lennon's voice from when he was alive in the 1960s and 1970s. (He was assassinated in 1980.) It worked surprisingly well for me. Weirdly, just about the only exception was Cyndi Lauper, who introduced her performance with some comments.

The sound quality was great overall. There was just one bummer: the last song faded out before it was over. I suspect the time limit for the TV came to an end, so the music went on as long as possible before the cut off moment. The fade out happened in the middle of a chorus. I extended that a bit by patching in an earlier chorus so now at least the fade out happens just after that chorus finishes.

By the way, right after I posted this, I found out a little more information about it. The TNT channel did some other tribute concerts in the years before this (Burt Bacharach's "One Amazing Night" in 1998, which has been officially released, 1998 for Johnny Cash, 1999 for Bob Marley, 2000 for Joni Mitchell, and 2001 for Brian Wilson. The 2001 I've posted here, and I'll try to get to the other unreleased ones. The series seems to have ended after that, though, as the TNT network changed its programming focus in mid-2001, according to Wikipedia. Beck and Marc Anthony were supposed to headline this concert, but didn't do so for some reason.

This album is an hour and four minutes long.

01 Imagine (Yolanda Adams & Billy Preston)
02 talk (John Lennon)
03 In My Life (Dave Matthews)
04 talk (John Lennon)
05 Revolution (Stone Temple Pilots)
06 talk (John Lennon)
07 Dear Prudence (Alanis Morissette)
08 Across the Universe (Moby, Sean Lennon & Rufus Wainwright)
09 talk (Cyndi Lauper)
10 Strawberry Fields Forever (Cyndi Lauper)
11 talk (John Lennon)
12 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Marc Anthony)
13 Mother (Shelby Lynne)
14 Instant Karma (Nelly Furtado & Dave Stewart)
15 Jealous Guy (Lou Reed)
16 Nowhere Man (Natalie Merchant)
17 Come Together (Craig David)
18 talk (John Lennon & Sean Lennon)
19 This Boy (Sean Lennon, Rufus Wainwright & Robert Schwartzman)
20 Julia (Sean Lennon)
21 talk (John Lennon)
22 Give Peace a Chance - Power to the People (Everyone)

The cover photo comes from this exact concert. I had a choice of different photos. I went with this one, which shows the Stone Temple Pilots performing in front of a giant screen showing a psychedelic rendition of John Lennon.


  1. Thanks! lots of great artists here

  2. Sean Ono Lennon features on this album. He has created some fantastic psychedelic albums. If you like whimsy his Ghost of a saber tooth tiger project is sublime Barrettesque acoustic bliss. His electrickery guitar is far out Floydian frippery.
    He's got lots of stray tracks that need rounding up! An acoustic/electric double live album is waaaay needed too.

    1. I didn't mean to say that Sean isn't musically talented, but just to point out he's had much less commercial success than Julian. So I changed the wording a little bit.

  3. Oops, I hadn't even read your bit on Sean in that way! Sorry no criticism intended. I do think Sean has created some music that is often overlooked. The Acoustic GHOAST album is something I wonder if many people have even heard? I recommend it. I'm a big Syd Barrett fan and Sean really has that skewed aural poetic quality. Rainbows In Gasoline....check him out!!!

    1. One could also mention The Claypool Lennon Delerium who played some bigger festivals. And a pro pos Syd Barrett played a great version of "Astronomy Domine".

  4. Lou Reed is great on this. Thanks so much.