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Monday, 15 September 2014

ALAN WHITE OF YES: ‘Jesus, did I do that?': John Lennon heralds Beatles’ demise with Live Peace in Toronto



John Lennon took the stage 45 years ago this weekend for what would become the initial concert recording by a Beatle, Live Peace in Toronto. He was joined on September 13, 1969, at Varsity Stadium, by a quickly assembled group that included Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann and a very surprised Alan White.
“I was cooking breakfast, living with bunch of musicians in a house in west London,” White tells us, in an exclusive Something Else! Sitdown. “I got a call from Apple studios, where I knew a few people. But I didn’t expect it be John Lennon. I thought it was a friend of mine, joking around. I said: ‘I’ve got to get back to breakfast; call me back later.’ And I put the phone down. It rang again about 10 minutes later. He said: ‘No, this is John Lennon.’ That’s when I forgot about breakfast. I left everything on the stove!”
Promoters John Brower and Kenny Walker had initially organized the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival around the idea of bringing a series of early-era rockers on stage — with Lennon as the emcee. But when Lennon said he wanted to perform, the soon-to-be-ex-Beatles star quickly became the centerpiece of the program.
White, of course, would later become a go-to sideman for the Beatles in their earliest 1970s-era solo efforts, appearing on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Lennon’s “Instant Karma” and his Imagine album before joining Yes for their tour in support of 1972’s Close to the Edge.He’s been a member of the prog group ever since. But in September of 1969, the pre-Yes White was largely unknown outside of local muso circles. Morover, there would be little time to prepare. If White wanted to work with a Beatle, he’d have to wing it — quite literally. They rehearsed on the plane ride over.

Read on...

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