Rishikesh One World, One People

 

  1. (Just Like) Starting Over
  2. I Want To Hold Your Hand
  3. Help!
  4. Kiss Kiss Kiss
  5. Woman
  6. I Am The Walrus
  7. Instant Karma!
  8. Slipping And Slidin'
  9. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
  10. Borrowed Time
  11. Ticket To Ride
  12. Walking On Thin Ice
  13. Imagine
  14. Nobody Told Me
  15. Across The Universe
  16. One World, One People

John Lennon's Spring 1981 Tour

When John Lennon broke his househusband silence with a new single in October 1980, the press was quick to ask if he would perform live again. "We probably will," he told Playboy at the time. "I wouldn't have believed it a month ago. But then I thought, What the hell, why not?"

While working on his last album, Double Fantasy (1980), he had told his studio musicians to set aside some time in the Spring for a possible tour - which would include Europe, Japan, and The United States. One of these American concerts would, according to music critic John Robertson in his The Art & Music of John Lennon (Citadel Press, 1993), be broadcast live via satellite around the world, echoing the All You Need Is Love broadcast from 1967.

"John pictured a big production tour," Jack Douglas, producer of Double Fantasy, recalls, "including performances of Beatles numbers featured with a new arrangement." And: "He planned a tremendous production. Including his new arrangements of songs he never got right, like She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand. Earl Slick, a session guitarist who played on Double Fantasy adds: "It was all in place. We were going to come back in January and finish the tracks for the next album and get that ready to go. And then we were going to do a tour. I don't remember discussing going overseas, but I know we discussed the States. The band would have been the guys from the sessions: two guitar players, bass, drums, percussion and John and Yoko. That discussion happened on the last day of the sessions."

Lennon: "If it's enjoyable and if it doesn't become something that one doesn't want to do, 'cause it's nice to get up and sing sometimes, like it's nice to make music. I don't want to get mixed up in deals and business and spin-offs and pressures, though, because I don't need THAT anymore. Once was enough. But sure, I'd like to get up on stage with Yoko and a good band and play these songs [laughs] and really DO 'em, because the band's hot as shit. They just come off the album and they were all good - we've got the good feeling among ourselves. So it would be great. I'm just a little nervous about all that goes on around it. But I think we can probably handle it a bit better this time."

On October 9, John's birthday, the Lennons let out a press release in which they state that "next Spring, John and Yoko will be touring Japan, USA and Europe." Their assistant Fred Seaman announces it to the press.

Yoko Ono: "John said, We have to sing I Want To Hold Your Hand. And while he sang it, he was going to kneel down and hold my hand. I said, I don't think that's going to go down too well. But there was a sense of: Let's take it to them. He was feeling very rebellious."

What follows is the set list for that tour as it might have been. Though She Loves You has not been included, I Want To Hold Your Hand (1964) and Help! (1965) have - the latter because Lennon expressed the urge to re-record that song several times throughout his lifetime. Imagine (1971) and Instant Karma! (1970) are obvious choices: both would have captured the atmosphere and message Lennon pictured for the tour, and both were big audience favourites.

His fondness for reggae, a style that dominated much of the Eighties (he envisioned it for Milk And Honey (1984)) is reflected in the inclusion of Borrowed Time. Woman, a love ballad, would have been a hit during or shortly before the tour. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night had been a #1 hit in 1974. The 1967 Beatles song I Am The Walrus was one he grew more fondly of as time went by, often singing it during recording sessions or mentioning it in interviews. It was the one Beatles song he associated himself with. Apart from that, it would have worked well live, as Oasis have demonstrated.

For the last number, the One World, One People chant, he asked his studio band to sing at the end of the Double Fantasy sessions for possible inclusion on the album, as an encore of sorts. Although that never materialized, the text did feature on the album's sleeve. It was something that was clearly on Lennon's mind at the time - as it, in a way, always was.

© 2005 Jeroen Dekker. Don't use without prior written permission.