Rock and roll royalty assembled at London’s Royal Albert Hall on November 29, 2002, for the Concert For George, one year to the day after George Harrison died of lung cancer at 58. The organizers and performers did not disappoint.
Harrison’s widow, Olivia, and their son, Dhani, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Lynne were the musical directors. They enlisted a remarkable bill: performers also included his Beatles’ mates, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, fellow Traveling Wilbury Tom Petty, Billy Preston, various members of Monty Python (whom Harrison had befriended), Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker and many more.
Watch the band rehearse
The setlist included a Harrison career retrospective including songs recorded by The Beatles:”I Want to Tell You,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (featuring Clapton on guitar, McCartney on piano and Starr on drums), “I Need You,” and “Something,” among others.
Watch the performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” featuring Clapton, McCartney, Starr, Lynne and Dhani Harrison
Watch Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers perform “I Need You” from Concert For George
The evening’s repertoire also included recordings Harrison made with the Wilburys (“Handle With Care”), his solo work (“Isn’t it a Pity,” (“Give Me Love [Give Me Peace on Earth]”) and more.
Watch the performance of “Isn’t It a Pity”
Towards the end of the evening, “George’s Band” assembled to perform two songs from Harrison’s 3-LP 1970 solo debut, All Things Must Pass. Preston handled lead vocals on “My Sweet Lord” and Lynne and Slowhand did the honors on “Wah Wah.”
Profits went to Harrison’s Material World Charitable Foundation. Less than two years later, many of these same legends performed at Harrison’s 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Concert For George was re-released for Harrison’s 75th birthday on February 23, 2018.
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