"...Soon I'll find repose..."
May 25, 2014 6:14 PM   Subscribe

George Harrison passed away on the 29th of November, 2001. Though a simple private ceremony was held shortly after where his ashes were scattered over the Ganges river, a more public memorial occurred at Royal Albert Hall exactly one year after his death.

The Concert for George was a gathering of Harrison's musician friends who paid tribute to him in song. The first portion consisted of a full Indian orchestra that included Ravi Shankar's daughter Anoushka, who accompanied Jeff Lynne on a performance of "The Inner Light" and also performed a sitar solo to do her own dad proud.

A second brief portion paid tribute to Harrison's work with Monty Python as a number of the members reunited (including Neil Innes and Carol Cleveland) to perform "Sit on My Face" and "The Lumberjack Song".

Finally, Eric Clapton and Jeff Lynne (who served as musical directors for the show) led a number of others including Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Tom Petty and many others in a set of Harrison's songs. Among the highlights include "Here Comes the Sun", "Isn't It a Pity", "Something", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "My Sweet Lord". The touching closing number is a performance by Joe Brown on ukulele of "I'll See You In My Dreams".

It should be noted that a portion of the proceeds from this concert (as well as current CD and DVD sales) go to the Material World Charitable Foundation, a charity founded by Harrison.

For those that wish to skip the individual clips, you can watch the entire concert here.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI (26 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

in lieu of a single period, 6000 holes.
posted by bruce at 6:34 PM on May 25 [4 favorites]

George Harrison's last letter was to Mike Meyers about how much he liked Austin Powers.
posted by motorcycles are jets at 6:36 PM on May 25 [6 favorites]

This concert has been an absolute delight to me for over ten years now. I have the CD and DVD. Exquisitely prepared, produced and performed. I watch and listen to it regularly.

I can't think of another musician whose death would precipitate such heartfelt and quality performances not just from other professional musicians, but from pro-musos who were also his loving friends. You can really feel the love.

And perhaps this is a good place to put out a question about Arpan. I would love to access a full set of its lyrics (and an interpretation, if possible). Some of them are printed in the CD/DVD booklets, but not the whole piece. I usually sing along with the whole thing, but my version is a garbled approximation of whatever (Indian?) language is being sung.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:49 PM on May 25 [3 favorites]

Tom Petty throughout was so selfless - the rhythm guitar to everyone's lead. McCartney and Clapton and Prince, and Petty kept the time and the key. Awesome.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:58 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:00 PM on May 25

posted by Iridic at 7:04 PM on May 25

Crafty bastard must have disguised himself as Jools Holland!
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:05 PM on May 25

If I remember correctly, Prince does the solo at the end of "Gently Weeps", and his guitar fails to come down from the final toss.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:06 PM on May 25 [5 favorites]

Ah, that was a different concert. Great performance, though.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:08 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]

George is my favorite Beatle. I imprinted early because we shared a birthday, and I thus grew up with the local radio station making great fanfare about playing "Here Comes The Sun", which I already loved, on my birthday. And then the more I read about him the more I respected him, and the more I saw in him of the things I aspired to be, and the more I liked him.

I think I first saw this on a PBS-Tv pledge season screening, and tuned in halfway through - I'd never seen pictures of George's son Dhani, so I didn't know they looked so much alike - and for a good ten minutes I was wondering why they'd CGI'd footage of 1965-era George on the stage.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:17 PM on May 25 [8 favorites]

George... not just my favorite Beatle, but one of my favorite humans. I don't think there's a day that goes by that I don't think of how his music has touched my life. Thank you for this.
posted by scody at 7:23 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]

Not to be missed from that evening -- Ringo's Photograph.
posted by grounded at 7:43 PM on May 25 [2 favorites]

A couple years after I got the DVD my mother asked if she could watch it with me; she'd heard a couple of the songs on the radio or something. Watching the "Sit On My Face" sequence with her was...interesting.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:02 PM on May 25

Watching the "Sit On My Face" sequence with her was...interesting.

Especially since the Pythons kept the same "costuming" they used for the Hollywood Bowl performances.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:06 PM on May 25

One additional note: If you can, find a copy of the DVD to watch "I'll see you in my dreams". The fuzzy YouTube version doesn't do justice to the beauty of all those paper yellow and orange petals falling over the audience. That, combined with the song, make me tear up every. damn. time.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 8:19 PM on May 25

Oh say, a question I've always had - Tom Hanks was with the Pythons. What was up there? How'd that happen?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:07 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

Prince performed in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at the 2004 rock hall of fame ceremony, not in the Concert for George.
posted by kenko at 9:37 PM on May 25 [1 favorite]

I think it gets commented on during the concert itself – perhaps by Paul McCartney? – but I'm always reminded how much Dhani Harrison looks like his dad when I see these clips.
posted by HiddenInput at 11:15 PM on May 25

It blows my mind a little bit to think that until this concert, the last time Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton had played 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' together would have been in the studio in 1968. Shame George could only be there in spirit.
posted by wabbittwax at 5:27 AM on May 26 [1 favorite]

(it's quite possible that they didn't play it together in the studio either. i don't have handy my copy of lewisohn's the beatles's recording sessions, but i'd wager that eric's solo was an overdub done well after the rhythm tracks were recorded.)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:26 AM on May 26

My step-father, the first fanboy (Beatles, Andy Griffith, Nero Wolfe, Assorted other stuff) I ever knew, died 3 years ago tomorrow. One of my rituals is a front to back listening of all 3 Beatles Anthology collections.

Today my mom, and his sons, and their families are coming over for a day of remembrance and what will likely be a slightly less sad celebration of his life and what he left us. One of the things that will be running in the background is a DVD of this concert, one of the last Christmas gifts I gave him.

It sure seems a little pleasantly creepy that I stumbled on this thread as my wife and I are making preparations for the family influx.

So, Hi Everett! There's gonna be a lot of music and laughter of people who knew you in a couple hours. Thanks!
posted by DigDoug at 8:15 AM on May 26 [3 favorites]

(it's quite possible that they didn't play it together in the studio either. i don't have handy my copy of lewisohn's the beatles's recording sessions, but i'd wager that eric's solo was an overdub done well after the rhythm tracks were recorded.)

That may be true. But the way they tell the story is that Eric was there for most of the session, since he was ostensibly brought in by George to make John and Paul behave and take his song seriously. Don't know how much of that is fact and how much is legend though.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:20 AM on May 26

Joe Brown's ukulele finale was lovely. Harrison was a HUGE fan of the uke. He used to keep several in the trunk of his car just in case, you know, one might be needed!
posted by TDavis at 8:54 AM on May 26

The 'make the group behave' motivation was the impetus for Billy Preston's involvement in the Get Back sessions - "to alleviate the tense atmosphere", according to Lewisohn (22 January 1969).

Clapton's solo was an overdub onto a mostly-completed backing track. It was recorded on the fifth of five sessions for WMGGW, on 6 September 1968. According to Lewisohn, Paul (fuzz bass), George (organ) and Ringo (percussion) also recorded overdubs during the same session, and George and Paul recorded their vocals.

It's pretty cool watching Clapton play this solo live, so many years later, with Paul (piano) and Ringo (drums) present - and George, too, if Ravi Shankar is to be believed ("I mean, how can he not be?").

Also, how beautiful is Billy Preston singing My Sweet Lord? That smile on his face is the very definition of happiness.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 12:47 PM on May 26 [2 favorites]

I think it gets commented on during the concert itself – perhaps by Paul McCartney? – but I'm always reminded how much Dhani Harrison looks like his dad when I see these clips.

Yep. Before the ukulele finale, he shares something that Olivia had just told him - "with Dhani onstage alongside everyone else, it looks like George stayed young and everyone else got old!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:29 PM on May 26

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