Above Us Only Sky
(Eagle Rock)


Soon enough it will be 40 years since the assassination of John Lennon. With 2020 hindsight, the 2019 DVD release of Above Us Only Sky is a perfect companion piece to the 2018 Imagine DVD. Somehow there was yet more footage that didn’t make it on to the first DVD. Not as involved as the Imagine DVD that Eagle released together with the Gimme Some Truth documentary, this second and presumed final episode of the Imagine era, Above Us Only Sky makes an even more compelling and to the point filmic statement. Above just about everything here, is we know that had John’s murder never occurred, most of this footage would never have stood a chance of coming out. Continuing his adventures with his wife Yoko Ono, there’s so many intimate moments that it’s almost beyond belief that John would have wanted this much of his private life filmed let alone released. He’s actually filmed on the toilet, reading a newspaper, probably pissing and smoking at the same time. Above Us Only Sky is an eventful movie filled with insights into the era of the Imagine album. It's a splendid choice for DVD buffs, but the best part is surely the filming of John & Yoko in their home studio on their palatial estate. Above Us Only Sky is filled with superb performances by Phil Spector and especially George Harrison, who turns in some incredible guitar performances on a pair of tracks. Alan “YES Is The Answer” White is here too along with Klaus Voorman, Nicky Hopkins, a coterie of journalists and photographers and new interviews with L.A. PR legend Elliot Mintz, along with John's first son Julian Lennon who looks about 9 in the film. George Harrison seems quiet and introspective during what turned out to be the filming during the making of Imagine. Ring On indeed. (See the movie for that one!) From a documentary perspective, Lennon’s dominance in the studio and his electric and acoustic guitar work is also spotlighted here in all its glory. One downside is that there’s no footage here of Moody Blues founder Mike Pinder, the legendary musician that turned the Beatles onto the mellotron. Mike was the sonic perfectionist that basically spawned the entire progressive rock movement of the second half of the 1960s and in addition to the 'Tron, Pinder played all the tambourine parts in the studio as they appeared on all the classic 7 Moodies albums so, it makes sense that after finding that John’s melloton was beyond repair, in a strange yet fitting turn of events, Mike played a great tambourine part on “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier”. But so glad to see in the movie-closing credits, Mike's name and that of Stackridge founder Andy Davis, who also played acoustic guitar on some Imagine tracks. There is also no filmed footage of John with 1950's sax legend King Curtis either, but the DVD features some studio banter over a cool b&w photo of John and King that looks spectacular. Tastefully and respectfully directed by Michael Epstein, Above Us Only Sky is the ultimate film of John's unique marriage to Yoko as well as his musical chemistry with these legendary musicians during the Imagine era. A 21st century tribute to the genius of John Lennon, Above Us Only Sky is essential viewing.


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