‘L’enfant terrible’ Tony Brannon pictured with Barbadian artist Biggie Irie, organized the Lennon Bermuda Peace Concert on Saturday night, and might just be my hero. *Photo by Chris Burville
‘L’enfant terrible’ Tony Brannon pictured with Barbadian artist Biggie Irie, organized the Lennon Bermuda Peace Concert on Saturday night, and might just be my hero. *Photo by Chris Burville

Despite my button down appearance, I am a former concert rat. 

I’ve heard more bands, crawled into more seedy dives; ratskellers, folk clubs and, you name it, to hear music. This fact is somewhat unsettling for one of my daughters since she has great difficulty imagining her very un-cool mother rocking out to Johnny Winter’s version of Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. But I was there.

Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven was my prom theme and if I’m alone in my car, I can belt out Whole Lotta Love complete with air guitar with the best of them.  

Anyone know all the words to Living Loving Maid?  I saw the Stones plenty of times too but as I like to say, when I was really young and when they were young too.  

Name a band. I’ve heard the obscure, the almost made its, and the formerly alive. 

Back then it was almost impossible not to hear great music every weekend. In the early seventies, like many young teens, going to a concert was one of the many ways we could legitimately get out of the house at night.  

It helped too that your parents didn’t mind handing over cash for a “concert.” These were the years when the artist you heard at say, Paul’s Mall might turn out to be Bob Marley and the Wailers. Whether you were a diehard fan of a certain artist or eager to experience music for its own sake, it was there for the taking. Boy was it ever!

I say all this as a way to explain my incredible cynicism and reluctance to attend Tony Brannon’s Lennon tribute concert last year. Thankfully I have a very sensible friend who got tickets and persuaded me to attend. I loved every second last year and this year’s Lennon Bermuda Peace Concert was another resounding success. I don’t care that I was drenched by rain or that today my voice is hoarse and that my ankle feels slightly sprained (it turns out that tables aren’t really sturdy enough for dancing but guess what?  The sheer exhaustion I felt from a long week and a late night was replaced with sheer exhilaration.  

Bermuda’s L’Enfant Terrible, Tony Brannon might just be my hero. He’s certainly my example of the power of one. Take one man with a vision, a lot of nerve and the ability to galvanize Bermuda’s local talent, sponsors and volunteers while twisting the arms of international artists and you get an impresario with a lot of guts. I like his hair too.  

It turns out this wild man of music has a very soft heart. Not only do the proceeds of the concert go to four worthy charities, The Coalition for the Protection of Children, Ride The Wave, Action on Alzheimer’s & Dementia and Masterworks but he made sure that the stage at the Botanical Garden had room for everyone including The Bermuda School of Music.  The experience of performing on stage on Saturday night just changed the life of a young girl or boy and someday I bet we’ll hear that acknowledgement in their own music.

I guess you never really get the rock and roll out of a guy and thankfully we have Tony Brannon as living proof. No fewer than a dozen companies (including this newspaper) and the Bermuda Department of Tourism sponsored the Lennon Bermuda Peace Concert and to those who felt tortured by Tony’s persistence only to succumb to his power of persuasion, I offer my heartfelt thanks.  He’s hard to resist.

Tony was quick to acknowledge that many hands were involved in this collective effort and graciously deflected any attention that came his way but I never underestimate the power of one and maybe in a way, that’s the point. While we had fun warbling the Beatle’s All You Need is Love I can’t help but think that sometimes all you need is one — one person to start something, anything. Thanks Tony for a spectacular evening and many more to come.