Yoko Ono: style icon does Double Fantasy live

I wanted to devote today’s post to Yoko Ono after being lucky enough to see the spectacular finale of her Meltdown festival at the Southbank Centre last night….

To finish her stint as Meltdown curator, Yoko staged a live performance of Double Fantasy, the last album John & Yoko recorded before Lennon’s untimely death in 1980.

Featuring a host of musicians (including Boy George, Pete Molinari, Siouxsie Sioux, Peaches and Sean Ono Lennon, in a white suit and looking eerily like his dad), Double Fantasy Live was an absolute treat, from the female performers in striking costume, aping Yoko’s artistic yowling, to the sheer thrill of hearing songs like (Just Like) Starting Over, Woman and Beautiful Boy performed live.

Yoko knew how to rock a bando

I’ve always respected Yoko. John Lennon was hardly a pushover and she had that guy eating out of the palm of her hand. Theirs was such a passionate, all-consuming relationship that I can just about manage to set aside my usual moralistic stance on extra marital affairs (that’s not to say I don’t totally sympathise with Cynthia Lennon, but it is hard to begrudge John the woman he saw as such an absolute soul mate) to support their iconic love story.

To that end, I even tied my own knot in Gibraltar, where John and Yoko got hitched.

Yoko faced the wrath of the world, for many reasons, and came out fighting, sticking to her avant garde sensibilities and never compromising her art or her beliefs. She certainly seems to have done a fabulous job raising her son as he seems so unaffected by his uber-celebrity parentage and is very much his own man (what a shock me and my man had when we went to check out the John Lennon bus, parked to the side of the Southbank Centre, and caught sight of Sean in there, chilling out with the band – shame we weren’t brave enough to say “hello”).

Beautiful Yoko in her youth

I love that Yoko has held on to her minimal style and maximum ideals; she still wishes for world peace and wears black, mostly. She is still a beautiful, elegant woman and she is strong like steel. Immovable, irreplaceable.

And she’s just had a no1 on the Billboard dance charts: at the age of 80.

Last night, Yoko comprehensively showcased her ability to straddle the worlds of art and commercial music. She let Lennon’s rock & roll spirit speak for itself, with pretty straight covers to please the Beatle/Lennon fans in the house. The album was played in its entirety, in order, reminding us what a brave, disjointed and boundary-pushing piece of work it is.

But ultimately, it was Yoko’s ahead-of-its-time punky, edgy, futuristic ditties that sounded fresh and modern and “now”, making Lennon’s classic songwriting seem almost pedestrian in comparison (and that’s something coming from me).

And, of course, she made sure that the female performers – from Bishi and her sitar, to Peaches and her silver sparkle – stole the show.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

 Images courtesy of BFI/image.net
Written by Johanna Payton