Yoko Ono

live peace in toronto


From the interview by Terry Ott in September 2000

Terry Ott: "It was 31 years ago that you and John came to Toronto for what was to become known as the Live Peace concert. What do you remember about that time?

Yoko Ono: That was incredible! I mean, I was just not exposed to the rock scene at all. In a classical music field or avant-garde, when you go to a concert hall to do a concert, there is a beautiful kind of room. But when you go to a Shea Stadium-type of big place, everything was like concrete. And John said, 'You know, this is the kind of place we went usually,' but I'm sure the rock scene is very different today. Now it's velvet curtains and plush carpet, but in those days it was very different. The stage [at Varsity] was pretty stark and everything. And I was just totally amazed.

Terry Ott: Did you plan your improvisational performance at all?

[Terry Ott's comment: After the band's main set, which included the world premiere of John's song about heroin withdrawl, Cold Turkey, Yoko retired to a tent-like bag on the stage where she proceeded to wail, moan, screech and scream for close to 20 minutes for a song entitled John, John Let's Hope For Peace, while Clapton and Lennon provided extremely loud guitar feedback.]

Yoko Ono: I did an improvisation. Of course John knew the songs that they did backwards and forwards -- they were very good -- and I did my songs in a bag. I was never exposed to a huge audience like that. I was dazed.

Terry Ott: You and John came back to Toronto several months later and stayed at rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins' farm house. Describe the scene.

Yoko Ono: Oh, I remember so well. The house was a beautiful place and we enjoyed it very much. Ronnie and his wife were very good host and hostess. They let us bring our microbiotic cook, and John really enjoyed the snowmobile. He was doing snowmobile driving until it got dark. He was just like a kid, you know? He enjoyed it very much. Ronnie Hawkins told me that a fire in his barn almost wiped out John's first batch of erotic lithographs before they were even signed. -- I just have good memories about it."



Live peace in Toronto

© Sari Gurney
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