Reviewed by John Aizlewood for the Evening Standard
Sean Lennon, St James Church, Piccadilly, Nov. 06
Sean fails to shake off Lennon legacy
It's been a strange kind of career for Sean Lennon. On one level, being the privileged son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono means that he can take eight years between albums, before resurfacing on mum and dad's label this year with Friendly Fire. On another, his bat is broken before he reaches the wicket.
He, more than anyone, will never be the Beatles. And if he sounds a little like his father (he would, wouldn't he?) on most of his songs, it merely serves as a reminder that he'll never be John either.
No wonder Stella McCartney designs clothes. Touchingly, his mother - if the Beatles are pop's royal family, she is their Camilla - was there to support him.
Wearing comedy sunglasses which presumably ensured she kept bumping her tiny shins on the pews concealed in the St James's darkness, she sat upstairs and smiled benignly when, in the only reference to his parents, Lennon mentioned they met in this very city 40 years ago and thanked her for sitting far away: "If I see her face it makes me nervous."
Strange or not, even in comparison with half-brother Julian, Sean has failed to set the world alight. No longer the Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) his father wrote of in 1980, the 31-year-old's previous show was at the tiny Barfly last century.
Last night's show might have taken place in the more sanctified surroundings of a church, but it's a small venue and the ecclesiastical acoustics did Lennon's delicate pop no favours. Nor did his attire. Imagine Little Lord Fauntleroy's gone-to-seed cousin: shirt and tie, top hat, scarf dangling rakishly around his neck, hobo's beard and huge tinted glasses.
Like his sweet music, his on-stage persona was designed to reveal nothing of the inner Sean, but as behoves one educated at the finest Swiss boarding schools, he was polite and appealingly shy, although his occasional attempts at emulating dad's wit ("French is that language French people speak") needed a little work.
The music was endearingly pleasant, often taking its stylistic cue from The Monkees' dreamy Porpoise Song. Indeed, Headlights and Parachute were lovely, but for the most part it was so unassuming that, like Lennon himself, it was almost lost when set against his past and his parents.