Tuesday, March 13, 2018


One of your classier and more enjoyable tribute concert sets gets reissued, and certainly one that resonates with fans still. There was no trouble gathering big names to celebrate Harrison, so much so that it was kept to real, close friends, which ended up making the performances all touching, and first-class as well. Everyone brought their A game, and of course, they had wonderful material to work with. Too bad Dylan wasn't there, no idea why not, but you had other fellow Wilburys Tom Petty (and the Heartbreakers) and Jeff Lynne, plus Beatles Paul and Ringo, one-time fifth Beatle Billy Preston, and friends Eric Clapton, Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) and Joe Brown.

Then there was Ravi Shankar watching his daughter Anoushka lead a big Indian orchestra through his composition for George, Arpan, and Jeff Lynne singing Harrison's Indian-themed Beatle number The Inner Light, music that encompasses the first CD here. Of course, Harrison was the one who made us all pay attention to these exotic sounds in the first place. I remember as a kid finding them so difficult to appreciate, but now they float by, and I can follow these deft and delicate patterns, and find it relaxing and inspiring. Thanks for that, George.

On the rock side, well it's beloved hit after hit, with a huge band led by Clapton and augmented by young Dhani taking his father's place. Lynne, Clapton and Brooker offer up versions of three Harrison Beatle tunes back when he was being allowed the odd one: I Want To Tell You, If I Needed Someone and Old Brown Shoe. Not only do they hold up, they prove the point that he was being held back by being in the world's best band as his talents grew. A couple of solo numbers then make the point that his songwriting was brilliant from '68 on. Lynne does a nice job on Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth), although really that's one where the band absolutely shines, while Clapton does a stunning job on Beware Of Darkness, one of those times that proves how awesome he can be with the right song. British singer/actor Joe Brown gives a music hall feel to his tunes, including Here Comes The Sun, good-natured stuff. But then show switches to overdrive.

Petty and the Heartbreakers take things back to The Beatles with Taxman, before a mini-Wilburys reunion happens with Lynne and Dhani on board for Handle With Care, a true highlight. Then after Preston delivers a soulful Isn't It A Pity, Ringo rocks for his friend on the Harrison composition Photograph, and their old Carl Perkins favourite Honey Don't. Then it's Paul's turn with For You Blue, and a touching ukulele tribute on Something. The final push sees Clapton and McCartney team for While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Preston back on as the best one to do My Sweet Lord, and the whole gang with Clapton leading doing Wah-Wah. As a touching farewell, Brown returns to wish George well, singing I'll See You In My Dreams.

The reason for the reissue was to get it on vinyl for the first time, and to continue raising funds for Harrison's Material World Foundation. The big news on the vinyl is that the song Horse To The Water is included, as done by Sam Brown and Jools Holland, edited off the CD. And on the Blu-ray side, you get to see the hijinks of George's Monty Python pals, who show up for The Lumberjack Song in intermission, with Tom Hanks as an honourary Mountie. Here's the thing, not only is it a great watch or listen, you're going to feel good just owning it.

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