It’s typically hard, if not damn-near impossible, to upstage Lady Gaga. But on Saturday night, 77-year-old Yoko Ono did it when she shared the stage with the 24-year-old pop diva during the second show of a two-night stand by Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
Wearing a black sequined jumpsuit, black studded headband and black leather lace-up platforms, Gaga’s stage getup was less modest than Ono’s black slacks and shirt topped with a red-banded military-style hat, but the two women found a way to make their styles mesh by night’s end.
Ono, widow of late Beatle John Lennon, has become something of a dance star in her sunset years, scoring a string of remix hits on the Billboard dance charts. And the unlikely pair reportedly electrified the stage when they performed together. “For the first time in an evening of poignant, strange and thrilling star turns, Ono seemed slightly disarmed and tickled — like at last she’d again found a collaborator equally capable of making mischief and merry,” the Los Angeles Times wrote in a review of the star-studded show. “At the end, they lay in each other’s arms, two notorious provocateurs in a surprisingly tender embrace — a pose not unlike that snapped by Annie Leibovitz 30 years ago, when a naked John Lennon cuddled his wife, Ono.”
They performed a pair of songs together near the end of Saturday night’s show, and Gaga saluted Ono for a being a feminist pioneer who made her global success possible. “Thanks for being so brilliant and such an inspiration to so many women,” Gaga said. During the show-ending ramble through Lennon’s legendary plea for brotherhood, “Give Peace a Chance,” Gaga switched up the lyrics a bit to chant “gays in the military” — a nod to her recent tireless work on behalf of overturning the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — while Wu-Tang Clan’s the RZA dropped the line, “No bottom, Lady Gaga, that’s bottom for me,” a reference to the see-through nature of the backside of Gaga’s catsuit.
As the jam came to a close, Gaga and Ono — dubbed “Yoko Gaga” by one excited fan — lay side-by-side on top of a grand piano, with Gaga wailing out her disco diva vocals as Ono performed some of her signature ululating vocalizations.
The two weekend shows also featured performances by Ono’s son and bandleader, Sean Lennon, punk icon Iggy Pop, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon, and RZA. The concerts kicked off a week of special events commemorating what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. The ex-Beatle was gunned down in New York in 1980.