The well-known marijuana enthusiast performed the hit single with the assistance of a brawny house band which was made up of longtime collaborator Mickey Raphael on harmonica and Leland Sklar manning the bass along with the voices of an entire arena of John Lennon fanatics. When Nelson's voice quiver prevented him from executing the song's signature "yoo-hooo," although the audience didn't waste any time chiming in for backup.
Nelson's performance came between short sets by The Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers and Spoon, bringing spiritual sentiments and a guitar solo chock full of bluesy tones. The night also brought fourth performances from country musicians Chris Stapleton and Kris Kristofferson who joined forces for a take on the Beatles' "You've' Got to Hide Your Love Away," while Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello delivered a rousing version of "Power to the People," Rolling Stone notes.
Sheryl Crow tackled a slower take of "A Hard Day's Night," Flowers led a vigorous singalong of "Instant Karma" and Latin artist Juanes offered a over of "Woman" while adorned in a variation of Lennon's famous "New York City" t shirt that instead said, "Medellín City." Train frontman Pat Monahan dazzled the audience with his interpretation of "Jealous Guy" and Creedance Clearwater Revival great John Fogerty, perhaps the biggest Beatles fan in MSG, opened up the anticipated gig with a pair of acoustic covers of "Give Peace a Chance" and Rubber Soul's "In My Life." Steven Tyler, Eric Church and Aloe Blacc are among the other artists who offered their talents to honor the "Beautiful Boy" singer.
Most recently, Father John Misty performed a cover of Lennon's "God" during a Jonathan Wilson Band gig.