Concert in Toronto 1969

Lennon had been invited to the festival on 12 September 1969 by promoter John Brower. To Brower's surprise Lennon accepted the offer, on the condition that he be allowed to perform at the event. Sales for the festival had proved sluggish, and Brower naturally accepted without hesitation.

     

The Beatles had little enthusiasm for performing live at that point, so Lennon was forced to hastily assemble a live band. His invitation to George Harrison was turned down, but Eric Clapton accepted, as did bassist Klaus Voormann and drummer Alan White.

On the morning of 13 September Voormann, White, Allen Klein, Mal Evans and Lennon's assistant Anthony Fawcett all convened at London Airport, but Lennon, Ono and Clapton were nowhere to be seen. It transpired Lennon and Ono had elected to stay in bed, and that Clapton was unaware of the plans.

The guitarist was called by John Brower, who told him: "Eric, you may not remember me, but I'm the promoter who lost $20,000 on your Blind Faith show last month. Please call John Lennon, and tell him he must do this or I will get on a plane, come to his house, and live with him, because I will be ruined."


 Brower's plea worked, and Lennon reluctantly agreed to join Clapton. The party left for Toronto on Air Canada flight 124, with Lennon, Ono and Clapton in first class while the rest flew in economy.

During the flight the Plastic Ono Band eventually convened and assembled a set, although the musicians had trouble hearing their guitars above the noise of the engines.

Upon their arrival in Toronto, the group was driven to Varsity Stadium. They arrived at the backstage area at approximately 10pm, escorted by 80 motorcycles from the Toronto Vagabonds, and remained in their dressing room until they were announced by Kim Fowley at around midnight.

John Lennon led the group through six songs: Blue Suede Shoes, Money (That's What I Want), Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Yer Blues, Cold Turkey and Give Peace A Chance. He later revealed that he was addicted to heroin at the time.


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