Last week the plan for today's blog would be to discuss those announced this past Thursday at Gotham Green® as the recipients of the Gotham Green Award® at a Luncheon next April in advance of Earth Day. Indeed this past week involved a have set of meetings; two major presentations sandwiched the Green announcement itself, and I did enjoy sharing my take on the election results to the Gotham Executive Club and speaking on a panel on regional partnerships at Vision Long Island’s Annual Smart Growth Summit. In any other week, one of those events would take highlight honors. Not this week.
My friend Vincent Russo invited Shelly and I to join him and Susan, their son, Robert, and a friend at The 36th Annual John Lennon Tribute at Symphony Space this past Friday. On what a special eve (preceded by savory dinner and enjoyable conversation).
It featured a slew of excellent performers, including honoree and headliner Donovan.
As we entered we find Flo Feinberg and Ben Geizhals who also sat just two rows behind us.
Mad Magazine editor Joe Raiola opened with a killer comedy routine with a political edge. Band leader Rich Pagano who drums for The Fab Faux opened the music with Lennon’s New York City. The Kennedy’s followed with three Beatle hits. New Yorker Willie Nile said what occurred last month inspired his selection of Help and Revolution and he certainly delivered on both. Paula Cole sweetly sang two Lennon covers. Toshi Reagon started with a political rant that upset one audience member but only inspired her to continue as she pointed out Lennon’s own political activism including his songs; she burned it on Instant Karma.
Donovan, a great story teller, shared many tomes of his interactions with The Beatles and John in their native England and well as their visit to the Maharishi Yoga in India. Never knew Donovan’s role in teaching John, Paul and George his distinctive guitar style and how it influences songs on The White Album.
Donovan and the band’s cover performance of Harrison’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps channeled for me its performance at The Concert for Bangla Desh (my favorite version).
As a fan of Al Kooper (see my earlier blog from this past June), it amazed me how Donovan’s extended version of his great hit song, Season of the Witch had me recalling the Kooper arrangement from Super Session. Donovan concluded his performance with All You Need Is Love segueing into a verse of Mellow Yellow.
A three song encore started with Paula Cole’s rendition of Imagine and the ensemble taking turns a vocals on Eight Days A Week; it concluded most appropriately with Give Peace a Chance.
Interesting how two of my better eves of 2016 – both on Fridays – both included Vincent and Susan Russo (Flo and Ben were also at the other eve) in major roles.