Spaceship - Sean Lennon - Reviews

Bondi Pavillion Hall, Sydney Australia, January 22, 1999

Written by Stephen Thomas

We have been so lucky in Sydney with Sean performing two
concerts here in the last two days, the first of which I
attended, standing right at the front row dead centre,  
about six feet from the man himself. It was awesome.    
(About 10PM, Friday Jan 22 at the Bondi Pavilion Hall,  
Bondi Beach, Sydney). The venue, although small, was    
packed to capacity (about 250 I'd say). The concert was 
promoted as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival.         

My friends arrived early and heard some of the sound    
check at about 4.30PM that afternoon, which they said   
was fantastic. After the soundcheck, Sean and his       
entourage (of about ten) walked across the road to      
Campbell Parade to a local Thai eatery for dinner.      

As much as I admire the man's musical talent and that of
his band, I did have some prior reservations about how  
tight the band would sound.  This was based on the only 
live performance I had heard up till now, the concert   
netcast from Slim's in SF, last year. That performance  
to me sounded a little substandard, enjoyable as it was.
But my concerns were totally unfounded: The first track,
a ten minute grunge type extended jam, set the mood for 
the night. The six piece band cooked, Timo Ellis'       
harmonies and back up vocals were great, his bass       
playing thumped, and Sean's voice was in top form, he   
sounded brilliant. Sean's guitar work was also great. It
was amazing to be up so close, and actually read the    
chords he was playing. Yuka's keyboard sounds were      
inventive and effective. The band looked a little tired,
but that was understandable as Yuka and Sean had flown  
in the day before from Tokyo where they attended the    
funeral of Sean's grandmother, (Yoko's mother).         

The concert was great, over 90 minutes long including   
three encores. Several new tracks were played including 
"Heart and Lung", and a great rap track Sean performed  
with the bongo/percussion player (name? I've forgotten).
Sean was in great form, chatting between each track.    
Sean said he'd heard on the radio that morning that     
Australian Scientists had discovered in a local trial   
here that smoking dope caused men to grow larger        
breasts. So then he said, to a chorus of cheers, that   
Australians obviously had this advantage over Americans,
so we should "smoke up!!" The final track was a killer
version of "Spaceship", complete with a closeout guitar
feedback duel between Sean, Timo, and Smokey Hormel.    

Soon after, Sean came back to sign autographs. He was   
friendly, relaxed and very obliging. We managed to get  
three things signed, Into the Sun CD, program , and also
he signed my copy of Ben Lee's new album, Breathing     
Tornados. At first Sean asked me "why do you want me to 
sign this?" but before I replied he said "Oh, thats     
right, I'm on it." (Sean sings on "Sandpaper Back").    
The record company (EMI) then asked us all to leave, as 
they then had a "meet and greet" session for Sean with  
the usual industry hacks /hangers on. However me and my 
friends then chatted to Timo Ellis, who was at the bar  
relaxing after the show. Interestingly, he revealed that
the band was next doing a Japanese tour. Then Sean plans
to tour with Cibo Matto for about a year, before going  
back to the studio to record a new CD. He also said that
the band loved doing these small venue shows, and that  
Sean wants to come back to Australia and tour again
sometime. Can't wait.  

Cheers, Stephen Thomas, (Sydney)

Concert program, signed by Sean

Sean in concert

Sean in concert

Sean in concert

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