Concert For George
By Michael Russell
In this article we're going to briefly review one of the most touching concerts that was ever held for another person, The Concert for George. There are very few people in history who you can mention their first name, say the word concert and know exactly who that concert was for. The Concert for George was one of those concerts. George, of course, being the late George Harrison of the Beatles. George Harrison died of cancer on November 29, 2001. One year later the memorial concert for this great musician was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. It is only fitting that this was the place as Harrison was 100% English from the top of his head to the tips of his magical guitar fingers.
Many feel George was the overlooked Beatle. Everything was about John and Paul. But most critics feel that George Harrison was the heart and soul of the Beatle's guitar sound which has since be copied by so many artists. The idea for the concert was George's good friend Eric Clapton's. Clapton and Harrison had actually been friends for a long time and first played together on the White Album. The song, of course, was "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Clapton put together a memorial that Harrison himself would have smiled at.
The concert began with the daughter of one of Harrison's great friends, Ravi Shankar, singing "Your Eyes." After this song the daughter, whose name is Anoushka, teamed with another one of Harrison's friends, Jeff Lynne of ELO fame, to sing "The Inner Light" which was one of George Harrison's own tunes.
The concert itself was a mixture of music and comedy, which is very unusual for a concert. The comedy was handled mostly by the ensemble of Monty Python who, along with Tom Hanks, performed "Sit on My Face" and "The Lumberjack Song" which was one of Monty Python's funniest and most famous tunes.
The rest of the concert featured more of George's friends and the remaining members of the Beatles, Paul and Ringo. Also there were Tom Petty, Billy Preston, and Gary Brooker from Procal Harem. George's son Dhani was also on hand. If you watch the video of the concert you would swear that Dhani was George Harrison if you didn't know better.
The remainder of the concert featured mostly songs that were either done by The Beatles or songs that George had done solo or with other performers such as when he was with Tom Petty during his stint with The Traveling Wilburys. The songs are a who's who of some of the greatest tunes these people ever did together or separately. They included such classics as George's signature song "Something," the Beatles' like "Isn't It A Pity," "Here Comes The Sun," a Ringo tune that George played on, "Photograph," "All Things Must Pass," "My Sweet Lord," and finishing with "I'll See You In My Dreams," which was an appropriate ending for the concert.
George Harrison may be gone but he will never be forgotten.