This article was made possible by a screener link from Falco Inc. Thank you so much for allowing me a chance to watch the concert film ahead of its theatrical release.
Tribute concerts are always a tricky event to celebrate. We’ve had some good ones recently such as the recent concert for the Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins, but it’s hard to balance the joy of celebrating a great person’s life and mourning the loss of them.
Half of the Beatles still remain, and those are the great Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. When George Harrison, dubbed “The Quiet One,” passed in 2002, a tribute concert was put together by Harrison’s wife Olivia and son Dhani and was organized by Eric Clapton on the music side of things and was held at the Royal Albert Hall. And as a large portrait of “The Quiet Beatle” hung above the stage, watching over all of the performers, some of the most important figures and collaborators of Harrison’s career took to the stage in a night to remember.
It’s important to note that the Concert for George concert film differs from the setlist of the actual show and album. The songs are in a different order and the film runs around 100 minutes. In fairness, the film’s order plays far better than the original set; but that’s neither here nor there.
Some of the obvious standouts from the set are McCartney and Clapton. It wouldn’t be a Beatles tribute without Macca and Starr, and they didn’t disappoint. Starr dedicated his performance of “Photograph,” a song that he wrote with Harrison, to the late star in such a spirited performance. McCartney performed the Beatles’ “For You Blue” — a song that Harrison sang — off of their album Let it Be. Those who are fans of McCartney know that he generally plays it safe with setlist choices, so hearing him break out a Beatles tune that he didn’t even sing on the record is a treat.
Also notable was McCartney’s performance of “Something,” another song that Harrison sang for the Beatles. If you’ve seen or heard McCartney’s performances of the song in other concerts, you’ll notice that he’s using the same ukelele that Harrison gave to him years prior. McCartney plays the uke until the iconic guitar solo — played by Marc Mann in this instance — before transitioning over to playing acoustic rhythm guitar until the end of the song. “Something” is one of Harrison’s finest works of not just his time with the Beatles, but of his entire career. This performance is sublime and it’s also nice that Clapton — who usually takes the spotlight — allows someone else to have a moment in this performance. Speaking of Clapton, his performances of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is badass.
The best performances of the night may go to Billy Preston — who played with the Beatles on their Let it Be album — for “My Sweet Lord.” With the stellar backing vocals and Preston’s lead, the film is like a beautiful gospel hymn. The other standout is Jeff Lyne’s performance of the Beatles’ classic, “If I Needed Someone.” The song is the quintessential Rubber Soul-era Beatles tune, and Lyne was the perfect fit.
But above all else, George’s son Dhani was on the stage with all of these iconic rockers. It’s beautifully poetic given just how much of a resemblance he bears with his father, and this was such a beautiful way to honor his father’s legacy.
Concert for George was not only poetic in a number of ways, but it’s also one of the greatest tribute concerts ever. With remastered visuals and audio, you need to see this one-night-only release of the concert film.
Concert for George will be in theaters for one night only on November 29. For more information, click here.