Beatlemania continued to dominate the Late Show With David Letterman last night, as the Flaming Lips beamed into the iconic Ed Sullivan Theater to perform their sufficiently trippy cover of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” The Lips, who are fresh off their Amnesty International gig at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, were once again joined on the CBS stage by very special guest Sean Lennon (the Oklahoma City freaks played Letterman with Lennon and Yoko Ono back in October).
Wayne Coyne and co. delivered a spacey but faithful rendition of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band standout, complete with an elaborate setup — see the mess of multicolored tubing at Coyne’s feet — and, of course, confetti. For their part, the audience offered an appropriate response: stray laughter during a second of silence, followed by rapturous applause. And for his contribution, Letterman signed off with a dig at longtime late-night TV rival/now-former Tonight Show host Jay Leno: “Good night, Jay!”
Watch the Lips and Lennon team up above, then check out the other performances from Letterman’s week-long celebration of the Beatles: Broken Bells doing “And I Love Her,” Sting playing “Drive My Car,” and Lenny Kravitz taking over “Get Back.” The tributes come in advance of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ historic appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1963 — easily one of the Beatles’ 15 Greatest TV Performances.
CBS is planning to mark the occasion with a separate telecast called The Beatles: The Night That Changed America — A GRAMMY Salute. The pre-taped special (which airs on February 9 at 8 p.m. EST) features live performances by the Eurythmics, Dave Grohl, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, and more. Also on the bill? Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, who recently reunited at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Legendary moment or not, it’s a little disconcerting how much is being squeezed out of the Fab Four’s Sullivan set — the Associated Press reports that a piece of the Ed Sullivan stage backdrop autographed by the Beatles will be auctioned off in New York in April, with expectations that it will fetch for roughly $1 million.