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Come Together: a night for John Lennon’s words & music DVD

Review by Gary Hill

The show captured here was originally planned before September 11th, 2001. When the attacks of that notorious date transpired it was given a new meaning and cause with proceeds going to help the city of New York recover. With the show occurring on October 2nd, less than a month after the date, there was a new meaning and significance brought to the performances. So, let’s talk about those performances.

We get a number of impressive musicians performing John Lennon songs. Perhaps even more poignant are the video and audio clips we get of Lennon himself. The performances, as is usually the norm for these type of events, are a mixed bag. Some work better than others. Some are a mixed bag in and of itself. Yolanda Adams and Billy Preston’s showing that opens the set (“Imagine”) is one of those. It starts off great, but seems to get a bit over the top in terms of performance as it carries forward.

Other musical performers include Dave Matthews, Stone Temple Pilots, Alanis Morissette, Moby, Rufus Wainright, Cyndi Lauper, Marc Anthony, Nelly Furtado, Lou Reed, Natalie Merchant and Sean Lennon. We get non-musical appearances from Kevin Bacon, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller and more. Kevin Spacey serves as the person holding the whole event together on stage.

The final word? The performances aren’t all great, but none are terrible. The music of Lennon manages to rule the night here, anyway – seeming to be the real star of the show. An announcer’s voice that makes this feel like some celebrity roast is a bit annoying, but overall this is a document of an exceptional event. It entertains and pays a solid (if not perfect) tribute to Lennon.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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