Old and young alike came to see Sean Lennon and they were not disappointed. He was far more casual on stage than I would have expected. Not only did he crack a few jokes but he actually had rather long conversations with the crowd. This was something I didn't expect at all. I guess maybe some of us put him on a higher level than he believes he deserves or is on, but he was as casual as anyone who's ever stepped upon that stage. He poked fun of how cold it was and wondered what happened to global warming; he spoke of Asbury's redevelopment and hoped it wouldn't become a cheesy tourist town; and rambled about kids and their Ipods - "These kids today..." he cracked.
Meanwhile, he rolled through a set heavy on tunes from his brilliant release, "Friendly Fire." Songs in the set included "Spectacle", "Dead Meat", "On Again, Off Again", "Headlights", "Would I Be The One" from his latest cd.
If you're wondering if Sean sounds like his father... he does. In recent years both his voice and his melodies have begun an meandering transformation to that of John's more dream-like tunes. Never having had the pleasure of seeing John Lennon live, this was the closest I'd ever been, but it's a crime to think of Sean as someone trying to live off his father's legacy. He is his own musician. His songs are beautifully written, lyrics are eloquent, and his voice is true. He's not trying to be anything or anyone but who he is. It may have taken him a while to understand his place in the music world, but I think he has found his way now.
The crowd was a mix of Sean Lennon fans, Beatles fans, and those who would most likely say John Lennon was their hero. It was wonderful to see that John's legacy has not only failed to fade in the years since his death but has continued to grow - inspiring new generations of fans born long after he left this world.
Due to the show taking place on a Monday many of the area musicians were on hand taking in their chance to see Sean. Lou Montesano of Status Green was even able to take Sean on a tour of the area in the afternoon and supposedly jammed with Sean along with Rick Barry at the Hot Dog House after the show!
It was an incredible evening and one that adds to the musical history of the Stone Pony. In recent years we've seen the offspring of Billy Joel and Elvis Presley grace the stage, but for me... nothing beats seeing John's son in front of that Pony. Here's hoping he returns to Asbury again sometime soon.
For some photographs from the show go to:
Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station The Penguin Rocks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.