New York City, a popular metropolis that was the epicenter of entertainment in America during the 1980’s. The gritty city that had so much talent at one time, that it was near impossible to keep up with. John Lennon’s Live In New York City is just another one of those outstanding albums that had mixed a social message, and entertainment into one single package.
Live In New York City shares the intimate evening where John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jim Keltner, and finally the entirety of Elephant’s Memory, who was a band that backed up Lennon and Ono on stage that night.
Elephant’s Memory features a saxophonist by the name of Stan Bronstein, Bronstein’s work is one of the most pivotal points on Live in New York City. The saxophone work on this entire album is placed so well and Bronstein plays it just like a lead guitarist. The sax is not over powering, however, it just makes its self present in each track and continues to impress me with each listen.
John Lennon, who was obviously known for being in a small, underground band known as The Beatles actually strays away from the pop-rock sound that they were known and loved for. Instead Lennon decides to play more rock n’ roll focused tracks, while impressing the crowd at Madison Square Garden with covers of Elvis’s “Hound dog,” and the infamous track “Come Together,” but this time being played faster and in a totally different key making the track almost unrecognizable to those that do not listen to The Beatles regularly.
Live in New York City also includes some of the lesser known Lennon and Ono tracks like “Woman Is the Nigger of the World.” This is a track that Lennon himself says before playing “The Next song is one of those many songs of ours that got banned.” Lennon and
Ono were always avid speakers of civil rights, fair treatment of men and women, and being huge endorsers of peace. It was no surprise that this song was banned, as based on the name, people might expect a harsh song that is filled with hate, but the song is actually beautifully written and just shares Lennon’s opinion on how women were being treated at this point in time. Unfortunately, much of what is discussed on “Women Is the Nigger of the World” is still present and happening even in modern society today.
The Musical performance of not just Lennon and Ono, but also from the backing of Elephant’s Memory created one of the greatest live albums in history. This would also be Lennon’s first time performing live since after The Beatles break-up, this would also mean that this was the last live concert Lennon would ever perform.
John Lennon had such an influential voice and was the leader in a generation that believed in a peace movement, Live in New York City is a testament of how performers can come together in one place in the name of one
single goal. Lennon just simply wanted peace on Earth, and the way he expressed his voice was through music, and he wanted others to express their feelings anyway they could. As the crowd at Madison Square Garden fled back onto the dark New
York Streets, it was said that the chant from the crowd “Give Peace a Chance” could be heard six blocks away that night.