The Concert For George: 29 November 2002

Eric Clapton  joined an all-star cast for an outstanding tribute concert to the late George Harrison on 29 November 2002 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The evening reflected the late-Beatles’ tastes – the concert contained Indian music, comedy slots from the Monty Python gang and some of the world’s finest rock musician’s playing a stunning set composed almost entirely of Harrison songs. With the stage bathed in flowers and the scent of incense in the air, Eric told the audience that the evening would be full of "beautiful music and warm feelings ……a blessed occasion for me to share my love of George with you". Guests of honour were Harrison’s wife Olivia and their son, Dhani.

Eric Clapton was the musical director for the show and remained on stage for most of the concert, even joining the Ravi Shankar orchestra in the first half of the concert to play acoustic guitar along with Ravi’s forty-piece Indian orchestra. For the rock section of the evening, the house band consisted of Jeff Lynne, Andy Fairweather-Low, Gary Brooker, Henry Spinetti, Albert Lee, Dhani Harrison, Chris Stainton, Jim Keltner, Ray Cooper, Jim Capaldi and Dave Bronze. The band was joined throughout the evening by Jools Holland, Sam Brown, Billy Preston, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Michael Kamen added orchestral arrangements to much of the set with a string orchestra. The overall effect was a ‘wonderwall of sound’.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers also performed a short set mid-concert including ‘Taxman’ and ‘Handle Me with Care’ from the Travelling Wilbury’s catalogue. Joe Brown and his band also performed a set including ‘Here Comes the Sun’.

Highlights for Clapton fans were ‘Isn’t it a Pity’ with outstanding solo from Clapton and McCartney/ Clapton duets on ‘Something’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. By time the concert finale began with Joe Brown playing ‘I’ll See you in My Dreams’, red and yellow petals were floating down from the ceiling. A fitting way to end a beautiful evening remembering a great musician and much loved songwriter.

Set List:

The Inner Light (Lynne)
I Want to Tell You (Lynne/ Clapton)
If I Needed Someone
Old Brown Shoe
Give Me Love
Beware of Darkness
Here Comes the Sun (Joe Brown)
That’s the Way it Goes (Joe Brown)
Horse to Water (Sam Brown)
Taxman (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)
I Need You (Petty)
Handle Me with Care (Petty)
Isn’t it a Pity (Lynne/ Clapton/ Preston)
Photograph (Starr)
Honey Don’t (Starr)
For you Blue (McCartney/ Clapton/ Lynne)
Something (McCartney/ Clapton)
All Things Must Pass
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
My Sweet Lord (Billy Preston)
Wah, Wah
I’ll See you in My Dreams (Joe Brown)

There will be full coverage in the next issue of Where’s Eric! Magazine

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