On Saturday, Dec. 2, musicians participated in the 43rd annual John Lennon Tribute Benefit Concert at Town Hall in New York City. Billed to take the stage and pay their respects to one of music’s most celebrated figures were Graham Nash, Rosanne Cash, Judy Collins, Bettye Lavette, and more, including a rare unannounced appearance from Art Garfunkel. 

After dialogue to open up the night, Richard Pagano served as the initial musical guest, performing “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night.” In time, Collins added “Norwegian Wood” to the night’s official setlist and “In My Life.” During David Broza’s stage time, he continued to pull from Lennon’s Beatles archive, performing earlier cuts like “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and another sixties staple, “All You Need Is Love.” 

Cash dug into “And Your Bird Can Sing,” followed by the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band cut “Look at Me.” After Lisa Fisher cut into choice number, Nash took the stage, lending his melodic vocals to “Love,” “Jealous Guy,” “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” and lastly, “Imagine.” The latter track was a collaborative affair, featuring another emergence from Collins and an intimate appearance from Garfunkel. 

After the memorable collaboration, Lavette delivered “It’s So Hard” and “Watch the Wheels.” Pagano eventually returned, adding “Empty Garden (Hey Hey John),” which was capped with band introductions. The Kennedys cut into two numbers: “Real Love” and “Now and Then,” before a memorable end to the night. 

For the final segment of the tribute event, Nile led “I Feel Fine” and “From Me to You” before bringing out all the concert participants for collaborative covers of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Teach Your Children,” a seasonally fitting “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” and the final tune, an impassioned take on “Give Peace a Chance.” 

The event benefited Theatre Within, which “provides ongoing, free workshops in creative expression and mindfulness to communities in need. We provide hundreds of workshops each year for children and adults impacted by cancer.  We also provide the John Lennon Real Love Project, a visionary songwriting program, to elementary and middle schools.”