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Concert For George
This is a warm if predictable two-CD disc of a concert tribute to George Harrison with contributions from the usual worthy suspects.
Jackie Hayden, 27 Nov 2003
This is a warm if predictable two-CD disc of a concert tribute to George Harrison with contributions from the usual worthy suspects. Disc One is for Hindu George, with some Indian classical music from Ravi Shankar and his daughter Anoushka, and Jeff Lynne’s extended version of Harrison’s own ‘The Inner Light’. But the inclusion of all 23 minutes of the devotional ‘Arpan,’ complete with Hare Krishna mantra, may put it in the love it/loathe it category.
The second disc trawls through the various stage of George’s career with Paul McCartney (‘For You Blue’), Ringo Starr (‘Photograph’), Eric Clapton (‘My Sweet Lord’), Jeff Lynne (‘I Want To Tell You’), Tom Petty (‘Taxman’), Billy Preston (a brilliant ‘Isn’t It A Pity’), Gary Brooker (‘Old Brown Shoe’), Jools Holland and others. They generally serve up spirited if straightforward revivals of songs from Beatle George (‘If I Needed Someone’), Wilbury George (‘Hard To Handle’) and solo George (‘Isn’t It A Pity’, ‘Wah Wah’). Clapton is in particularly fine form throughout. Only Paul’s ukulele section of ‘Something’ breaks free to give that classic song a jauntier feel, and Joe Brown’s wistful ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ moves proceedings away from copycat tribute band territory.
This release serves at least to emphasise what an accomplished writer George Harrison was. It sounds like a memorable night all round, faithfully recorded for posterity, and with the participants’ love and respect for George palpable throughout. But I wouldn’t throw out the originals.