John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s first gig celebrated 50 years on


Lennon sat with his back to the audience for most of the 1969 concert

A new plaque has been unveiled in commemoration of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s first public gig, which took place 50 years ago at Cambridge University.

Ono held a jazz performance at Lady Mitchell Hall on March 2 1969 – Lennon joined her as “her band”.

Now, a plaque that reads “Yoko Ono John Lennon Cambridge 1969” has been unveiled to mark the event. It precedes a six-month exhibition of Ono’s work which will be displayed in various cities.

The couple’s experimental jazz concert was covered in brief in student publication The Cambridge News at the time. The report explained that Lennon sat with his back to the audience for a large portion of the 26-minute set.

Part of the article described how Ono opened with a “fearsome siren note” and wrapped up the gig with “a long series of screams”.

Lennon, meanwhile, was sat by her feet with his back to the crowd, “holding, shaking, swinging electronic guitars right up against a large speaker” [quotes sourced by BBC News].

In 1980, Lennon spoke to the BBC about the Cambridge concert. “The audience were very weird, because they were all these sort of intellectual artsy-fartsies from Cambridge,” he said, but added that they “were totally solid.”

Gabriella Daris, an art historian and curator of the forthcoming Ono exhibition said: “There’s very little to commemorate this other than a press report, word of mouth and the actual recording.”

A recording of Lennon and Ono’s set, called Cambridge 1969, was played out in the Lady Mitchell Hall foyer as the plaque, gifted to the university by Daris, was unveiled today (March 2) on the 50th anniversary of the concert.

‘Yoko Ono: Looking For….’ exhibition, which opens in June and runs until the end 2019, will feature more than 90 works by Ono.



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