On September 13, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were on a plane headed to Toronto to play the Rock and Roll Revival Festival. This was a one-day festival that lasted for 12 hours.
The original bill for this festival was Whiskey Howl, Bo Diddley, Chicago, Junior Walker and the All Stars, Tony Joe White, Alice Cooper, Chuck Berry, Cat Mother and the All Night News Boys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Doug Kershaw and The Doors. Kim Fowley was listed as the Master of Ceremonies. Screaming Lord Sutch was later added to the bill, as was the Toronto area band FLAPPING. Prior to the addition of FLAPPING, the only local band on the bill was Whiskey Howl. The appearance of John Lennon, Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band was not publicly known in advance.
Lennon, Ono and additional crew members wearing the Festival shirts in 1969
Despite The Doors being the headlining act for Revival ticket sales were still quite low. The Eaton brothers even backed out as sponsors just days before the festival was supposed to happen. However, once Lennon and Ono agreed to not only host the festival but play it as well that tickets sales started to pick up. Lennon put together a band so quickly that they had to rehearse on the plane. Eric Clapton played guitar with The Plastic Ono Band that day.
Also notable was the escort into Toronto for both The Doors and John and Yoko by The Vagabonds motorcycle club, whose 80 members rode 40 in front and 40 in back for John and Yoko’s limousine after having run wild trying to catch The Doors who were not expecting an escort from the Toronto airport to the university stadium in the city center.
A live recording of the Plastic Ono Band performance was released called John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band – Live Peace in Toronto 1969. You can still buy this album!
You can watch the full performance here: