The Claypool Lennon Delirium hit Irving Plaza in New York, NY last night as they continued their summer tour. The show was filled with the Delirium’s crazy brand of improvisation and psychedelia, and included a special guest appearance by Sean Lennon‘s super-famous mother Yoko Ono during the encore.
The show opened with a cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Astronomy Domine” that showcased the band’s musical prowess. Les Claypool then paid tribute to the recently deceased Gene Wilder with a quick bass tease of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, before the band performed both movements of “Cricket and the Genie” from the Delirium’s debut record The Monolith of Phobos. Claypool then took the time to address the crowd, poking fun at Lennon in front of his hometown New York audience. Lennon then took the mic and declared his love for NYC, before saying that all of his friends and neighbors were in the room, and he thought his mom was out there somewhere. The lighting designer turned on the house lights, but Yoko was nowhere to be found. She would certainly pop up in a huge way later in the show.
After some more hilarious banter from Claypool and Lennon, the band kept it going with the plodding “Breath of a Salesman” before playing the plucky title track from their debut album, which was then followed by “Cosmic Highway”, a Claypool track from his days with the Frog Brigade. After performing the rockin’ “Boomerang Baby”, Lennon invited his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl, out to the stage to perform a track by their band together–The Ghost of a Sabertooth Tiger–as Muhl wore a set of golden ram horns on her head. Back to the Delirium material, the band performed the musical highlight of the night with a freaked out version of “Mr. Wright”, which saw both Claypool and Lennon take incredible solos that wowed the room.
The band closed out their set with a series of awesome covers. “In the Court of the Crimson King” and “Thela Hun Ginjeet” by King Crimson both provided huge moments for the band to showcase their musical dominance. However, it was the cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” that was the true showstopper. Seeing Lennon perform his father’s material, specifically his masterpiece from Revolver, is enough to send a shiver down the spine of any fan of the Fab Four.
For the encore, Claypool returned to the stage to perform a more full, solo version of “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka on the bass, this time including a verse of the song on vocals. This proved to be a poignant moment, given Claypool’s clear influence by the Wonka film with his Chocolate Factory-themed album and tour with Primus in 2014/2015.
Finally, the night would come to a close with “Southbound Pachyderm”, a beloved Primus track. During the final number of the evening, Yoko Ono was finally found, seen standing behind her son Sean’s gear, watching them finish the show, when she waltzed out to the front of the stage mid-song to add her famous wailing vocals to the track. This was truly special for all in the room, and a New York moment that won’t soon be forgotten, as Yoko Ono has become increasingly reclusive over the years. To see her up on the stage again doing what she does best was surely a treat, and a stand-out moment as the Claypool Lennon Delirium prepare to finish up their tour over the next few days.
Watch it all go down in the video below.
The full setlist from the performance can be seen below.
[Cover photo by Brooklyn Vegan]