Cleveland show to pay tribute to John Lennon
Ten bands will perform music from Lennon and The Beatles.
By JOHN BENSON
It was 25 years ago today when the music died for Beatles fans around the world.
You were probably watching Monday Night Football when you heard the tragic news of 40-year-old John Lennon's murder from legendary broadcaster Howard Cosell. Among the viewers that fateful night was longtime Northeast Ohio promoter Gary Jacobs, who in recent years has taken his infatuation with the Fab Four to new heights, producing the popular Abbey Road on the River concerts.
"I was raised on The Beatles and I've come to realize that their fan base is so devout worldwide, and there is such a demand for their product in so many different ways, it just makes sense to be one of the delivery systems of the product," said Jacobs.
Next up for Jacobs is "A Time to Imagine: The Concert for John," which takes place Saturday at the Cleveland Agora.
The daylong celebration features 10 bands performing John Lennon music from The Beatles' early Cavern days through his solo career. The lineup includes headliner Tim Piper and Working Class Hero, as well as British Export, Instant Karma, Hal Bruce, All You Need Is Love, Mark Staycer, a children's choir singing "Imagine" and an interpretative dance group performing to "Tomorrow Never Knows."
In addition to live music, the show will feature collectibles and a viewing of the award-winning documentary "Imagine: John Lennon."
Dealing with his death
In keeping with Lennon's penchant for controversy while he was still alive, Jacobs said the event would be amiss if it didn't shed light on the manner in which The Beatles singer-songwriter was killed. A portion of each ticket sold will be donated to the Brady Campaign's effort to stop gun violence in memory of John Lennon.
As for the Abbey Road on the River event, which was relocated last spring to Louisville, Ky., Jacobs is grateful to Northeast Ohio for helping get the "Sgt. Pepper" show off the ground.
"It was very successful," Jacobs said. "But in Cleveland, as I have often said, there are just way too few dollars chasing way too many entertainment options."
Which is why he hopes staging the "Concert for John" in December will help attendance.
"The music is just going to be incredible," Jacobs said. "What music does for all of us when we do these types of shows is we're able to time travel. And for people who like to romanticize and take a step back and remember where they were when something influenced them in music, it's just a great opportunity to do that. And if you loved The Beatles and you loved John Lennon, then you should be there."