"Concert for George"   DVD

Ravi: "George is like a son to me and I'm happy to have my grandson Dhani (Harrison) here with me."

 

    On December 1st, 2001, at the age of fifty-eight, Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison lost his battle with cancer.  Exactly one year too the date, Olivia and Dhani Harrison along with several of George's closest friends within the music business came together at The Royal Albert Hall to pay respect for the passing of their dear friend and loved one.
    From 1964 to 1970, George, John, Paul, and Ringo released twenty-three long playing albums, four soundtracks, and three feature-length films.  In those six short years The Beatles would revolutionize the way a band writes their own material.  Also between them and their record producer George Martin, who by a lot of fans is known as the fifth Beatle, created several studio tricks that is still being used today. 
    George had been nicked-named 'the quiet Beatle' by fans and the media mainly for his shyness.  But as George had stated in interviews over the years.  That for several years he had always felt he was missing something spiritually.  That need would be filled with the Hindu music and their religious beliefs especially Krishna and the musical form Raga. 
    A "Concert for George" is a double DVD.  Disc one consist the theatrical version of the concert.  The concert performance includes such musicians as; Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne (E.L.O.), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Billy Preston, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr.  And includes such Beatles and George Harrison songs like; "I want to tell You", "Old Brown Shoe", "Give Me Love', "While My Guitar gently weeps", "My sweet Lord", plus many others.  The concert opens with the lighting f candles by Olivia Harrison, and a short speech by Eric Clapton detailing the evenings events.  Ravi Shankar's speech is next and you get the feeling from the things he says that it is more of a eulogy than anything.  The things Ravi has to say about George are very touching.
    The Ravi Shankar Orchestra is conducted by Ravi's daughter, Anoushka Shankar who also performs a blistering sitar piece.  The last half of the sitar piece is accompanied with Jeff Lynne on acoustic guitar performing "Your Eyes".  The orchestrated section alone is forty-one minutes long. 
    Between the Shankar orchestra piece and the popular artist section of the concert there is a small intermission performed by Monty Python doing "Sit on My Face".  Michael Palin does a small spoken monolog before Monty Pylon goes into their song "The Lumberjack Song".  If you look close the last lumberjack on the bottom row far right is none other than American film star Tom Hanks.
    The next set of performances consist of popular musicians that George has touched over the years.  The section of performances opens with Jeff Lynne's (E.L.O.) rendition of The Beatles classic "I want to tell You".  One of the things that will completely  blow your mind while watching these performances is Dhani Harrison.  Dhani not only looks a lot like George when George was at that age, but the way he plays is similar to his father, and his stage presence is exactly like George's.  So Ravi was right by saying in his opening speech that George is with us spiritually.  Dave Bronze drills the very difficult Sir Paul McCartney bass line for the song "Old Brown Shoe".  Jeff Lynne's (E.L.O.) version of "Give Me Love" really rocks the house.  Eric Clapton (Cream/solo) in my opinion is more known for his guitar playing than singing ability.  Eric's vocals on the song "Beware of Darkness" have a very eerie feel to them.  The real only major disappointment of the evening was the chorus of "Taxman".  Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers perform this song.  Musically and vocally it sounds pretty good, but on the backing vocals Tom Petty's rhythm guitarist is singing almost through his nose.  This vocal effect causes the song too be butchered.  Other than that Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers do a pretty good job.  Billy Preston who it is sad too say is pretty much unknown, performs a duet of "My Sweet Lord" with Eric Clapton.  For those that do not know who Billy is he is one of the few musicians The Beatles was kind enough to let record with them.  The album he is on is "Let it Be".  At the musical ending of "Isn't it a Pity"  is rounded out with the musical ending of "Hey Jude".  Ringo performs "Photograph" 'which of course the meaning to the song has now changed', and the Carl Perkins classic "Honey Don't".  Sir Paul comes out next and does a great job on "For You Blue" then performs his version of "Something" with a ukulele then Clapton rounding the song out.  The entire band round the evening out with "Wah Wah' and "See You in My Dreams", while atop of the Royal Albert Hall flower pedals are being dropped. 
    Disc two contains the concert minus the Ravi orchestra along with interviews of all performers, along with a picture section.  A "Concert for George would not have been complete without the Ravi composition.  After listening to the forty-one minute composition, and this is the best way too  explain it, I was completely spiritually up lifted.  It is almost like Ravi knew what George meant to all of his family and friends.
    Growing up hearing The Beatles being played by my older brother than years later becoming a fan myself.  I was very deviated like most Beatles fans of George's passing.   But Ravi's composition really helped me find peace with it.  And for that Ravi I thank you!!
    This DVD is a must have!!!!!!!!!!