NEW YORK – Juggling to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”? Modern dance, to “Free as a Bird”? Perhaps not the usual stuff of a John Lennon tribute concert.

But looking at the wry, quirky smiles on Lennon’s face as classic photos of the Beatle great alternated all evening long on a screen at the Beacon Theater, one couldn’t help but think he would have thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Lennon, it’s still startling to think, would have turned 70 last month — and so even though Friday’s tribute was the 30th in a series, this one had a special feel. Produced by Theatre Within, a nonprofit arts group, the evening was a benefit for the Playing for Change Foundation, which builds music schools in poor areas of the world.

Among the big names this year: Cyndi Lauper, who performed “Across the Universe,” a song she said had gotten her through some tough times. Then she recalled how, singing Beatles songs long ago with her sister, she would “be” John and her sister would stand in for Paul.

“Not this time, though,” Lauper quipped, calling onstage a substitute “Paul” — none other than Jackson Browne — to collaborate on “A Day in the Life.” Earlier, Browne had the somewhat graying crowd singing happily along to “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.”

Patti Smith was there, too, with a quirky rendition of “Strawberry Fields,” before striking an emotional chord when she spoke of losing her husband. Yoko Ono, she said, was an example for her of how to carry on as a widow. So she serenaded Ono — with Lennon’s “Oh Yoko,” of course. (Ono was present via video message.)

Madoff loot sold at auction 

NEW YORK – Anyone wanting to walk in the shoes of fallen financier Bernard Madoff is in luck: Thousands of belongings from his New York City penthouse went on the auction block Saturday.

A 1917 Steinway grand piano went for $42,000. The buyer is an 81-year-old Long Island real estate executive.

“I’ve got loads of pianos, but this one has history — it’ll make an interesting conversation piece,” said John Rodger, an amateur pianist who will keep the Steinway in his home in East Islip.

Three hours into the auction, the highest bid was for an oil painting by the late American artist Frederick Carl Frieseke that sold for $47,500. A stainless-steel Rolex watch with an oyster band sold for $40,000.

When Madoff was arrested two years ago, U.S. marshals seized everything in the apartment and his Long Island beach house.

The disgraced 72-year-old is behind bars for life in North Carolina.

His wife, Ruth Madoff, was ordered to leave their home. Her $300,000 diamond engagement ring is expected to fetch far more.

Bush misses commander-in-chief role most

THE VILLAGES, Fla. – Former President George W. Bush says he doesn’t miss much about the White House, just the pampering.

Bush told more than 3,000 people at a sprawling central Florida retirement community on Saturday that he misses the convenience of Air Force One and never waiting in traffic jams. The 43rd president said, most of all, he misses being commander in chief of the U.S. military.

In his 30-minute speech, he talked about what it was like to return the salute of men and women.

Bush is on a national tour promoting his new memoir, “Decision Points.”