No one but Julian - and his legacy

Concert Review from Australia's "Age"
30 October 1998 by Steve Waldon

Photograph Smile

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Above: Handbill from the concert...
Special Thanks to Robyn!

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Julian Lennon prefers the intimacy and immediacy of smaller venues, and he was clearly right at home among the 800 or so who thronged the Mercury Lounge.

They heard plenty of adventurous pop explorations, delivered with that hybrid joviality/sincerity that so characterized a famous '60s band called... well, let's not touch that just yet. Oh, heck - why not? I'm sure Julian son of John has come to terms with his musical heritage, so let's ALL get over it.

Whether it be genetics or the osmotic effects of Beatles exposure during his formative years, Julian Lennon has a wonderful ear for a melody and a highly developed sense of song construction.

Whether it be genetics or the osmotic effects of Beatles exposure during his formative years, Julian Lennon has a wonderful ear for a melody and a highly developed sense of song construction.

The psychedelia-tinged Britpop of Day After Day was confidently top-dressed by lead guitarist Matt Backer's expressive Stratocaster slide. And there was a great band effort on And She Cries, which could easily be an out-take from George Harrison's All Things Must Pass (come on, Jules, admit it - you love a G diminished chard as much as George.)

The audience responded well to the slow intensity of I Should Have Known (Better?) and the sheer bravura of Crucified, redolent of the mystic subcontinent.

I liked the deliberate beat of No One But You, another fine band moment with a guitar-full coda of the type favored by Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman in 10cc.

Out came a vintage Rickenbacker rhythm guitar to lend a definitive '60s aura to the new single, the sardonic I Don't Wanna Know. But, naturally, most enthusiasm was reserved for the hits - the cigarette-lighter-waving call-to-arms of 1991's Saltwater, and that very first outing, 1984's boppy Too Late For Goodbyes.

Lennon's combo was a basic drums/bass/keyboard/guitars outfit, and they offered sterling support in the challenging conditions.

He acknowledged the difficulties posed by a whirlwind tour and promised to return with a tour proper ("We'll be back with the real deal") next year.

Then it was time for one encore - a throaty, enthusiastic version of Stand By Me. If this was anything to go by the legacy is secure.