Imagine All The People Living Life In Peace

Elmore Magazine, by Steve Walbridge
March 15, 2010

I know, I’m a lucky bastard. I’ve got so many positive things going on in my life–supurb health, good job, great kids and a wonderful wife to begin with, plus something that a lot of people can only dream of: an opportunity to express myself and be heard, whether it be through music, which I did for years, art (my current passion) or my one constant, my beloved writing. I mean, really, how many people are given the opportunity to express themselves and feel confident that someone out there is actually listening, or dare I say, even care?

So, at least this once, I want to use my time and space wisely: do something good, positive and constructive with it–what the hell, it’s worth a shot.

Just recently, I attended the 29th Annual John Lennon Tribute in New York City. Sure, it was a concert (relax, this isn’t a concert review) and a hell of a concert at that: Joan Osborne, Betty LaVette, Rich Pagano and Dan Bern were every bit as good as I expected them to be, and others, such as the Kennedys, Nicole Atkins and Lucy Kaplansky (all of whom were relatively new to me) were an incredibly pleasant surprise. But what really set this experience apart from the hundreds of other concerts I’ve been to, even the others with social messages such as Farm Aid and Earth Day, was the overwhelming sense of purpose and sincerity of the night. I mean, I actually came away from a concert (more like a variety show) for the first time in a long while not only feeling like I didn’t get hosed by the concert industry for a change, but actually feeling good that John Lennon’s life and message of peace still has some meaning to it. There are still people out there that give a shit about the positive power and passion that music can generate, and there are still people out there that want to do good things with their gift of musical talent. The tribute was only a benefit for the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation (check it out, please) but a sincere vehicle for promoting peace.

Music is one incredibly powerful tool when used wisely, and if you can combine it with the quest for peace, love and brotherhood that were the cornerstones of John Lennon’s crusade, in the right hands (and it was definitely in the right hands this night) it can still do amazing things and generate a powerfully passionate response. Hell, it renewed my faith that music can still stir passion and commitment and not just sell beer, computers and cars.

Let’s face it (I know, sooner or later this had to turn into a bitch fest, right?) a lot of music has gone stale with artists just “phoning it in,” deserving artists (we can all have our personal favorites) getting overlooked and bypassed for the latest pop princess or pre-fabricated, no-talent bimbo and Jesus, don’t even get me started on the industry side of music–someday I’ll tell you what I really think of some of those bastards! But, this night was different. It was reminiscent of what people used to associate popular music with: change, messages of peace and love and non-violent revolution.

So, just “imagine all the people, living life in peace” and what could still be accomplished if artists and fans both demanded more from one another and from themselves. I’m not a moron (no, you don’t get a vote). I know that the spirit of the ‘60s and the whole “summer of love/Woodstock” mentality was riddled with hypocrisy (at least in some regards–come on, it was) and that John Lennon could be a real prick at times (hey, I adore the man but let’s be honest), but that era also had the ability to rally legions of believers, dreamers and doers. The Lennon Tribute showed me that that spirit, although struggling, still exists. Imagine if everyone could get the same message–hey, “You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

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