The Los Angeles Times

14 August 1999

Photograph Smile

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Pop Music Review 
Fan-Pleasing Lennon Displays Charm, Ease 

Pop quiz: What should not be played through the sound system before a Julian Lennon concert? 
Yup. The House of Blues' computerized music library played not just one Beatles song on Wednesday, but both "She Loves You" and "Love Me Do," each eliciting cheers from the Beatlemanian audience--a reminder that no matter what John Lennon's older son does in music, he'll never escape this shadow. 
So be it. During a seven-year hiatus before the recent "Photograph Smile" album--a time during which, he told the fans in one of many amiably chatty interludes, he wrestled with personal and professional demons--Lennon seems to have reconciled with his legacy and the public's expectations. Onstage with his solid five-man band, he seemed more at ease than ever before. 
Sure, he started the show with "Get a Life" (a jibe at Beatles-obsessed fans and critics alike?) and later explained that the new album's "I Don't Wanna Know" was intentionally Beatles-esque (as opposed to the others, which apparently are unintentionally so). 
But in between, when he was just, uh, letting it be, his charming if derivative gifts with midtempo meditations on love warranted fan affection. And by encoring with "Slippin' and Slidin' " and "Stand by Me," two oldies John Lennon loved and recorded, he made an effective tribute.