Yoko Ono Celebrates 80th Birthday with Concert in Germany

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BERLIN — Yoko Ono celebrated her 80th birthday with a sold-out performance at the legendary Volksbühne in Berlin.

The Plastic Ono Band was led by her son, Sean Lennon, who collaborated with Ono on her critically acclaimed 2009 record “Between My Head and the Sky.”

The band also featured Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto on keyboard and laptop, Yuko Araki of Cornelius on drums, Nels Cline of Wilco on guitar, Michael Leonhart of Steely Dan on trumpet, Charlotte Kemp Muhl of Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger on bass, and Jared Samuel of Invisible Familiars on keyboard.

Their repertoire included Ono’s “Walking on Thin Ice” and John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”

Guests joining Ono on stage included Peaches, Michael Stipe, Robyn Hitchcock, Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, who sang “Happy Birthday” in English and German.

Jiga, Eva and Masumi, a local Berlin synth-pop trio, opened the show with their song “Hey, Yoko Ono.”

On Feb. 15, Ono’s retrospective, “Half-a-Wind Show,” opened at the Schirn Kuntshalle in Frankfurt and will tour to major museums across Denmark, Austria and Spain in 2013 and 2014.

Numerous projects are slated for 2013 including the reissue of Ono’s albums from 1968-1985, a career-spanning art book, “Infinite Universe at Dawn,” highlighting six decades of her work, and the curation of the 2013 Meltdown Festival at Southbank Centre in London in June.

Over the past few years, Ono has achieved a record string of nine consecutive #1 hits on the Billboard dance charts. Her latest dance single, “Hold Me” was released last week.

In September, Ono released the improvisational “YOKOKIMTHURSTON” album with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth.

Other recent collaborations have included recordings and performances with Eric Clapton, Lady Gaga, RZA, Antony, Ornette Coleman, the Flaming Lips, the Pet Shop Boys, Mark Ronson and tUnE-yArDs.

“Between My Head and the Sky received four- and five-star reviews from Rolling Stone, Q, Uncut, NME, Spin and other publications, and was picked among Mojo Magazine’s top albums of the year. Additionally, Mojo honored Ono with a Lifetime Achievement Award and she received the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Biennale.

Born on Feb. 18, 1933 in Tokyo, Ono was married to former Beatle John Lennon from 1969 to 1980. She is known as a peace activist as well as an avant-garde artist. Her website is http://imaginepeace.com.

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