Noise Pop 2010: Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band @ Fox Theater
February 24, 2010
Written by Michael Tapscott
Photos by: Charlie Homo
I enjoyed the first-rate setting of table 13 at the Fox Theater provided to me by my well positioned friends at The Bay Bridged. As someone old enough to not send an email until college and young enough to not be fazed by such technological advances, it was pretty strange to be sitting between a blogger girl and a young Twittering boy writing instant reviews and notes with the fastest set of thumbs Iâ€™ve ever seen. These were my brothers in arms, we are the modern press corps, and we are ROCK JOURNALISTS. Sorry for the parenthesis, watching a politically engaged 77 year old woman on stage will lead to such technological ponderings.
Speaking of things that donâ€™t quite fit, the venerable avant-pop group Deerhoof found themselves in an enviable and understandable position. Yoko Ono seems an obvious antecedent to Satomi Matsuzaki, Deerhoofâ€™s Japanese front woman. Whereas Yoko has refined her sound for the large stage she has been given, Deerhoof remains committed to a sound and goal that was spatially dwarfed in the Fox. The mannerisms of a good show were happening, but the band sounded as if it were playing inside a cardboard box. I wish I could have gotten closer and heard better, but it was good to see such a large crowd exposed to this legendary band.
At 77, Yoko Ono has seen it all, as a short-form documentary shown before she took the stage taught us. The famous gold-digger was taking a well deserved celebratory bow in this show, and I wonâ€™t waste words on talking about how she deserved it, just know that she did. It was a well put together stage show by her son, Sean Lennon, and Yokoâ€™s voice was sounding startlingly great for her well-advanced age. Years of good living, I guess. It was inspiring to see her shimmy upon the boards to the modern sounding group that backed her featuring her aforementioned son, Cornelius and Yuka Honda. The performance of â€œDeath of Samanthaâ€ from her classic 1973 album Approximately Infinite Universe hinted at a better and more classic-rock oriented performance underneath this turn to modernity. My wifeâ€™s mantra for the evening was (and this is coming from a huge Yoko fan), â€œmore singing less screeching,â€ as Yoko did resort to her trademark wail over the bandâ€™s computer rock a little too often.
A critical review of a behemoth is carping; just know that the fucker is big. The thing Iâ€™ve always admired about Yoko is the way she used the humongous platform she was given. Itâ€™s silly to argue about whether or not she deserved it, because she got it and certainly made the most of it. At the risk of sounding sappy and praising her for putting out a good message in an interesting way, Iâ€™ll borrow a lesson in sloganing from her.
Cell phones are the cigarettes of the 21st century.