Jamie Notarthomas said it best when talking about the senseless loss of John Lennon and the music we will never hear John play again. John Lennon died on my birthday and even before that day The Beatles and John made a major impact in my life. I always felt John helped me accept the differences in people. Jamie said John was a Christ figure, yes I agree. John was meant to change the world and he did. He came along at a time when the world needed him. You could see that he was always at odds with himself but wanted better for the world. Tonight, a lot of people put together a great tribute to John Lennon. Led by Jamie Notarthomas this group of musicians worked hard to put a show on that was worthy of John Lennon’s memory. I saw these musicians give us all the gift of John’s music and his message of peace. I don’t have to know all the trivia of the Beatles and John’s life. His music is the story here.
The Ridge is a beautiful amphitheater and the service is fantastic. Early October and a sunny warm day sets the stage for a spectacular tribute to a Legend. Whether he was playing with the Fab 4 in the 60’s or his solo work after the Beatles break up. They played songs familiar to us all. Songs lists included “Two Of Us”, “Crippled Inside”, “Jealous Guy”, “One After 909”, “Come Together”, “Ballad Of John and Yoko”, “Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds” and the list goes on. You know the songs. I must say, Joanna from The Mix Tapes gave a spot on version of “Beautiful Boy”, a song I sang to my son to put him to sleep 20 y
ears ago. Salt City Chill really rocked the stage with “Come Together” and other Beatles favorites.
When Jamie and the house band played “Watching The Wheels” and “Power To The People” you could feel the spirit of John on the stage. Chris Ames was a power house, “Working Class Hero” and then “Dr. Robert”. It was like a young Lennon was on stage singing through him.
Opus Black String Quartet came on stage and played “Paper Back Writer” and then joined by Jamie and the house band for “I am The Walrus”. Paul, Dave, Rick and Chris took the stage to play some Fab 4 favs, including “Help”. The technical finale was “Give Peace A Chance” and the whole crowd sang along, but it really wasn’t the end. Jamie and several musicians stayed on stage and played at least another 5 or 6 songs. Like Jamie, I did not want the music to end.
I never had the opportunity to see John Lennon perform live but tonight was a gift. All the musicians gave me the gift of my hero’s music. They gave me back something I lost a little in age, that was my love for John’s music and message. To all of the people that put this night together and played, THANK YOU ALL, and to Malinda, owner of The Ridge, I look forward to next year’s outdoor events at The Ridge. Truly a beautiful place to see the best of Central New York musicians play live.
The Cadleys: John Cadley, Cathy Cadley, John Dancks
The BOG Brothers: Mike Gridley, Steve Buck, Taylor Bucci
Chuck Shiele & Salt City Chill with Phil Smith, Richie Melito, Rhys Brigida, John Dancks
The Mix Tapes: Johanna Jewett, Kris Heels, Frank Neubert
Brian Michael (lead singer Skunk City)
The Ridge “House band”
Jamie Notarthomas (guitar, piano), Phil Smith (drums), Ed Gorham (guitar), Don Martin
(bass), Tom Hillenbrand (guitar) with guests Gary Briggs (drums, percussion) Mike
Chris Ames guested in with house band backing him
Opus Black String Quartet: Liz Friedel, Kristin Kopf, Allyson Sklar, Jess Tumajyan also guested in with house band on a number of songs including I Am the Walrus, #9 Dream, Paperback Writer
Jeff Stockham guested in on French horn, trumpet
Dunham Hall on Sax