I think Lennon's "Live Peace in Toronto" is about as great a live album as has ever been released. I also think that The Beatles Rooftop Concert from Let it Be is the greatest live album never released. Hey, The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl is pretty darn terrific as well. So I certainly don't buy that Lennon had any limitations as a live performer, other than he was sick of it, due to the whole Beatlemania experience, and years of live shows and touring, both before & after fame. He had lots of interests, artistically & personally, and touring was a huge undertaking. He was very close in '72 when the Nixon trolls, and the darkest aspects of the U.S. Govt. at the time helped to quell that. He played all over the place live in '71-'72, including the two full length live performances that comprise the Live in NYC album. And, better yet, and saddest of all, he was planning a 1981 World Tour alongside the upcoming release of Milk & Honey. The band was rehearsing, set lists were being tinkered with, Lennon had done unique stage designs, and plans for events and content of the show (beyond just the songs) were well underway as well. It was to begin in the U.S., go to Europe & Japan, and then end with a second and final leg in the U.S. that would culminate in NYC.
Live in NYC has some truly great moments...it was also quickly rehearsed, with a backup band that I would say is very good, but not great. The problem here is the mix. Which is abysmal. I've heard great bootleg material form the show, and the tracks from those shows on the Lennon Anthology are far superior.
Remember there were two shows, an evening, and an afternoon show. I've read lots of places that the show Yoko released, for whatever reasons, was the afternoon show. This had poorer sound, and a weaker performance. They worked out the bugs in the mix, and had both a looser (less nervous) and tighter (more together) show that evening. I should stress that besides the actual mix at the show, the mix done by whoever produced this originally is really poor. The later mixes on Anthology are far superior. Check out the two versions of Come Together...me thinks that It's So Hard is another...can't recall for certain. Blessings!
Om Namah Shivaya !!!!