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Microscope: Live Peace In Toronto

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The first album I haven't listened to the very end. Just couldn't stand it any longer. I will post my in depth microscope tomorrow.

Yeah, this one is going to be a chore.


Alright then. After three avant-garde albums (or just plain trash), at least this is a collection of songs. The album was recorded live at the Toronto Rock&Roll Festival on September 13, 1969 and the album was released about three months later. Johns appearance before a live audience was somewhat of a coincidence. A day before the festival, promoter John Brower phoned John at the Apple office to inform whether John was willing to fly to Toronto and introduce some of the acts that should be performing. The lineup featured Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bo Diddley, which was reason enough for John to state that he would only come if you could play live. Of course, there was no way John would get The Beatles together on such short notice. Instead, John asked Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and Alan White. It seems that John was extremely nervous before the gig, had to throw up and snorted a line of coke to calm down.

1. Blue Suede Shoes
Side A opens with an introduction, some tuning and strumming and John's announcement. 'OK, we're just gonna do numbers we know, you know, because we've never played together before.' And even though, it sounds as if the musicians backing up John don't really know their roots. The guitar solo by Eric is just awful, the drums don't sound good at all. Only John's vocal is great to hear in a normal way at last. Forgettable stuff.

2. Money
Things really don't get better. Alan White is completely ruining this song, playing an afterbeat on the wrong moments and it's pretty obvious he doesn't know the song at all. John is messing up the words, but that's alright with me. He'd done that before. I understand there wasn't much time to rehearse things, but these are all professional musicians and it just sounds plain bad.

3. Dizzy Miss Lizzy
John continues with the golden oldies, but this isn't any better than Blue Suede Shoes. Messing up the words once more. Alan is drumming this without any enthousiasm. Ringo did a  much better job on the Help!-album, at least making this song a powerful statement. This Lizzy by the Plastic Ono Band is a sissy.

4. Yer Blues
Best song on the album, although that is not such an achievement. But this is played properly and it's obvious that Eric Clapton was familiar with the song as well, having played it for the Rock & Roll Circus film. Alan had even picked up the change in rhythm, so this is a good performance all in all. John can hardly keep his voice in control, but he's just alright.

5. Cold Turkey
Here comes Yoko. She informs us that 'this is the newest song that John wrote'. John adds that 'we've never done this number before, so best of luck.' It's interesting to hear that at this stage, the song is different than the single that would be recorded only two weeks later. It's much lighter and John's just constantly strumming his guitar instead of playing the accents. This version is also faster. Nothing wrong tho, until Yoko comes in, wailing and howling. Sad.

6. Give Peace A Chance
John announces that he forgotten 'all the bits in between, but I know the chorus'. His count in is in German. The song is a bit of a mess once more, John's playing around with all the words and the band is just playing the chords and that. That's about it. Nothing special.

7. Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy's Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow)
John warns us: 'And now Yoko's gonna do her thing all over you.' And she surely does. The band is rocking out, John is playing a single chord and Yoko is just crying and howling 'don't worry'. It's extremely painful to listen to. I don't have anything against Yoko Ono as a person as I don't know her personally. But I can judge her as a musician and singer. It is simply the worst I have ever heard in my entire life.

8. John John (Let's Hope For Peace)
If possible, this is even worse. John's feedback is the music, Yoko's screaming is the other thing. It goes on and on and on and on. This is the first John Lennon track that I admit I have not listened to till the very end. I got extremely fed up with it. I dare anyone to have a complete listen to this song and give me some positive input. To me, it's not hard to imagine that John and Yoko's bid for peace was not taken too seriously. The message is good, but if you try to bring it to the people in ways like this, it won't work. Ever.

All in all: not worth the buy. Maybe only for a good live version of Yer Blues and Cold Turkey.


I really liked this when it first came out, such the wide-eyed believer I was at the time. Today, I concur completely with the above assessment.

Poor John.


Do I have to listen to this again? Seriously? Oh alright, but i'm not happy about it. I'll get a review up hopefully this weekend sometime.


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