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Concert for George

Performers: Various

Studio: Rhino

Year of Release: 2003

Ten years ago, the world lost “the quiet Beatle”, George Harrison.  I thought it appropriate to review the 2003 DVD of the Concert for George as a way to mark the ten year anniversary year of his passing.

When I opened the packaging of this star laden concert DVD, I honestly didn’t know what to expect.  I’ve often witnessed memorial “projects” -whether they be services for the deceased (celebrity or mere mortals) or concerts – turn into demonstrations of macabre self-absorption or out-of-place evangelistic services.  In the case of Concert for George (organized by Eric Clapton), neither is the case.

Concert for George is a brilliantly organized and produced musical memorial that beautifully presents the beauty, brilliance and kindness of Mr. Harrison.  A devout follower of Hinduism, the DVD appropriately opens with a sitar performances by Anoushka Shankar (daughter George’s dear friend, Ravi Shankar).  One doesn’t have to be a practitioner of Hinduism in order to appreciate the beauty and emotion of Your Eyes, Arpan and The Inner Light.  The latter song was joined by ELO’s (and Harrison’s fellow Traveling Wilbury’s bandmate) Jeff Lynne and was followed by a “crack” line up from Monty Python (you’ll have to watch the video to appreciate the previous comment).

Also performing various Harrison related tunes are Gary Brooker, Eric Clapton, Joe Brown, Jools Holland, Sam Brown, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, George’s son, Dahni, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr  and Paul McCartney.  To say that this DVD is precious history in the making would be an understatement.  You will laugh, cry, smile and muse at the memories that this wonderful collection of music performed by some of the most exceptional talent gracing this planet.

If I was asked to select a favorite performance from this video, I would find it near impossible to choose.  If I Needed Someone by Clapton would wind up on my short list as would Taxman by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Although, come to think of it, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (by Clapton and McCartney) and Wah Wah by the entire roster of performers would also jostle for the top position of my favorites.  Clocking in at almost five hours of total viewing time, I would wager a guess that you, too, will have a very hard time selecting a favorite.

Whether you’re a classic rock historian or loyal Harrison fan, Concert for George is a must-have addition to you DVD library.